... the other Black experience

OP-ED: Young People - Our Identity & Self-Acceptance Shouldn't Depend On How Many Likes We Get on Instagram

‘I’m living my life to exist with depth not with rep’, this is something I always say and not just that, something I try to order myself to do. Nowadays young people (when I say young I mean, as young as 14 to as old as maybe 28) we’ve all got our own definition on what the term ‘young’ means but that’s a story for a different

day. Nevertheless young people between that age seem to be so consumed on what’s happening around them whether that be, how many likes they’re getting on instagram to the pressure of passing their college exams to go to university.

There always seem to be something that may not be controlling their behaviour, but definitely having an impact on how they behave. I mean, its all a blur really, isn’t it? The idea of identity and acceptance and really understanding what both terms means is a battle in itself, so then having the responsibility for yourself, to portray whatever that is to the world­ is even worse. If I’m being really honest, it’s not easy to write about something you’re not entirely sure about yourself­

(I’m not trying to say I’m struggling with my own identity or acceptance) but what I am saying is sometimes I forget to remind myself that I have my own identity and I’m not living to be accepted. Which brings me on to why young people need to scream the words fxck you more often. It’s so apparent that we do things in a very traditional way, and this could be the cycle of school, college, university and then being told to ‘get a good job’ or a boy who pays on the first date because ‘he’s the man’. Again, that’s not me suggesting that’s what identity and acceptance is, but that is me saying because of these traditional ways of thinking we sub­consciously live our lives for the satisfaction of other people rather than our own! We live in a digital age now whereby Instagram is our best friend, Google is our

dictionary and Youtube is our ‘how to’ guide. We sometimes leave no room for real time conversation and make assumptions that someone’s life on twitter is better because they got a thousand retweets on their #relationshipgoals picture. But Did you know that.....

● Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber­bullying

● Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim

● Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement

● 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of

themselves without their permission, often using mobile phone cameras

I mean there’s bigger things happening at the result of some of these things. We’re sometimes so caught up about the other side that we don’t even realise that this is what is happening, and that’s a serious thing. I made a note earlier

about screaming fxck you­ and thats not just to ‘them’ but sometimes it’s to each other, because maybe then we’ll understand that we’re altogether just not the same and as individuals we need to support the ‘discovering our own identity’ path that we’re on (well, some of us).I’m not trying to sound as if we’re just a bunch of superficial ‘millennials’ who care too much of what people think and only driven by what we see on social media­ but believe it or not to some, that’s how we’re perceived. The drum has an article written about ‘millennials’ specifically categorising us as

a generation:­real­millennial­generation­digging­de... 

You have a read and see what you think, bearing in mind this article is written in regards to marketing and branding but that doesn’t mean it’s not reflected into real life. I just thought having a brand/company talk about young people is

interesting when they see us as statistics and categories that arguably we’ve created. So just to cut out all the bull, Identity in our generation is becoming something generic whereby a lot of us feel like it is image instead of mentality and rep before depth but it’s simply whatever YOU want you to be, you have to be happy with that. Acceptance on the other hand is misunderstood and somewhat seen as expectation. ‘You’re expected to be a certain type of way to be accepted’ but no,in fact keep re­defining yourself because growth is important. Who cares if they don’t accept you, we don’t even know who THEY are!

By Shanice Mears, AFROPUNK contributor

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