By Osman Abdinasir
A survey done by an Australian NGO revealed that 88 per cent of businesses think the youth today are not adequately prepared for the workplace.
Now, our actions are fed by our perception. Many perceive our youth to be rowdy, lazy and untamed, especially if they are from the ghetto.
All hope and any potential for understanding is gone when headlines shout about crime and youth, as if they go hand-in-hand.
But is this really true? Well, to understand the youth better and know if our assumptions are true, I asked my friends in Eastleigh what they value, what is important to them and what’s not.
Relationships with family and friends are a top priority to youth. We care about our loved ones and also keep in touch [MF1].
The friends, and friends of friends, I know of are based on having common interest and views. Many go beyond race, tribe or even religion. In the youth world, if you are cool you are cool, and your last name is just a tag.
So much is our generation meritocratic that we replace our family name with a cooler version if we want. The hustle is a close second. Every youth wants to make money.
It’s a means to the good life that we all want, young and old. But, I feel like it is the most misunderstood fact about the youth – the assumption that all young people want quick cash, flashy chains and public attention. Many of us want independence.
We want to fend for ourselves and our family rather than relying on handouts. And as most youth discover once they hit adulthood, dependency and expectation are the root of all conflicts.
Respect is my friends’ third big commodity. We want to earn respect, and contrary to popular belief it is only a minority that glorify violence, bullying or being a menace. In my ghetto, staying out of trouble is highly respected as it is viewed to be beating the stereotype.
If you take care of your mom that gets respect. If you do well in school that gets respect and you would earn a nickname like Obama. Getting a decent job is respectable and you would soon be a role model.
If you stay fit and exercise you are cool. Giving back to society makes you a hero. Spiritually, that earns respect because it shows you are ‘awake’ and believe in something greater than yourself.
Not many have the chance to speak and hear from our youth. Criticism comes from a distance, based on a hair style or mode of dressing when we don’t know the person beneath. Judgements are made behind car windows as the daily jam inches past the stream of walking workers from the ghetto.
We are both a product of our society and make up 75 per cent of it so we are worth listening to and taking seriously. If you’ll do that, we’ll take responsibility – it’s a deal.