Stop Discrediting Gen Z

Across the country, we as a nation are witnessing our young people rise up and speak out on what they believe in. This is, of course, not new information; members of Generation Z have been fighting back for years on issues such as gun control, police brutality, and women’s rights. However, now these young people are starting to get widespread media coverage. People can hear their message all across the country. There has been praise for these young activists, but also quite a bit of backlash and criticism. Many school districts have released statements saying they do not condone their students taking part in peaceful demonstrations, and that disciplinary action will be taken if students choose to participate. Many people are simply discrediting these students, saying that they’re too young to understand what’s really happening in the world. In all honesty, I’m sick of it.

Young people have been facing discrimination from older generations for as long as protesting has existed. From widespread national revolutions to the counterculture movements of the 60s, younger generations’ ideas and actions have been trivialized by an older crowd. It’s nothing new, but that still doesn’t mean that it’s right. The thing about us young people is that we’re citizens of our nation too. We have every right to be politically and socially engaged. We are just as entitled to speak our minds, demonstrate, and let our voices be heard under the laws of the constitution. We are the next generation to inherit this nation, so why shouldn’t young people have a say in what happens to it

Many argue that younger people have minimal knowledge and experience and cannot effectively argue about the issues they believe in. I’d say this is more of a diversion tactic than a legitimate argument. My generation grew up with technology and with ways to access more information than was ever possible before. My generation has a whole database at their fingertips, where they can research issues and then go on to formulate their own ideas and opinions. Of course, I recognize that not everything on the internet is necessarily factual, and that misinformation is a very dangerous thing. However, I believe a good deal of people my age can recognize this too, and can effectively fact check to make sure the information they find is credible and accurate. Young people have every right to a formulated, factual argument just like anybody else. Age doesn’t necessarily equate to intelligence.

My generation is tired of having our thoughts, feelings, and ideas trivialized by those older than us. We are just as capable of being well informed and well spoken, and of being able to understand our world. All we want is to be listened to, to have our voices heard, listened to, and truly taken into consideration. A person’s age shouldn’t matter. If they are ready and willing to be civilly engaged then, by all means, they should be. And they should be without fear of consequence or discrimination. Give my generation more credit, we’re smarter than you think we are.