tions have been cut to a bare minimum, as far as addressing them goes. Gender discrimination, racism, and discrimination towards the disabled and less fortunate have been acknowledged, dealt with, and handled. Our children are taught to take care of the elderly, help the poor, and to stare at people with disabilities. The mentally handicapped, homeless people, and foreign men and women are given jobs. Yes, one might definitely think we live in a time where peaceful equality is at its best. Then why can’t I; a normal, average intelligence, respectful teenage girl, be accepted? One would think that if we can accept the poor, disabled, foreign, and homeless people regardless of race, religion, or gender; accepting a person who just chooses to dress and look differently would be easy. As I have found, such is not the case. Discrimination towards teenagers, especially the ones who chose to dress differently, is a problem.
It is a problem that goes very often un-addressed. There are plenty of stereotypes, but I believe the one that is believed the most is what the stereotypical teenage “freak” is. Constantly people assume, just by looking at me, a lot of different things. I was surprised to find the number of people who just figured I was into drugs. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, because I choose to dress differently, I must be trashed all the time.
However, such is not the case. Police assume we are trouble makers. I have been stopped countless times, sworn at, and threatened by arrest, for simply standing on a street corner or holding a skateboard. Meanwhile, a handful of preppy teens stand by, doing the same thing, yet not getting a word towards them. We are assumed to be on drugs and trouble makers, as well as Satanists, witches, and that we’re depressed. I speak from experience. Judging based merely on an assumption wasn’t just back in the days of the Salem witch hunts. Not only do people form these opinions, they also act upon them.
Getting a job is horrible. I can be the most respectful, responsible person in the world, but unfortunately my eyebrow ring is “offensive”. Its pathetic! Businesses will hire Mexicans and Asians who can hardly speak English, just so they are “politically correct”.
But apparently I don’t count. I’ll be walking behind a girl with a handicap, and a mother will scold her child for staring, but when I am passed, Mother stares along with Child. Am I somehow less than human? Do people think I don’t notice? It isn’t just me. There isn’t a single person I know who chooses to look different who hasn’t experienced this sort of discrimination. I don’t understand what is keeping people from accepting us as well as everyone else.
I understand there are freaks who are the stereotypical “misfits”. There are the vandals, the drug dealers, the disrespectful snots. However you will find these type of people regardless their appearance. Some of the worst criminals in history have been your average looking “boy/girl next-door”. I, personally, try extra hard to be kind and respectful, just in order for people to see beyond my exterior.
I know many other people who are the same way. Its amazing though, even after others have seen this side, how many people still chose to down class us. What exactly is keeping the majority from accepting us, is a question I don’t have an answer to. This isn’t exactly a huge problem that can’t be solved. In fact, it can be taken care of quite easily, with your help. We’ve tried being respectful, we’ve tried being responsible, and we’ve been very open-minded to you. Now we need your participation. Instead of seeing people with piercings and different colored hair and turning away, be kind.
Talk to them. Show intrest. You’d be surprised how many will be kind back to you. The message that “all men are created equal” has been drilled into our brains so many times, this shouldn’t be hard. The only way to truly bridge the gap between us is if both of us make an effort.