The American youth has learnt a lot from history. We have learnt from heroes like Martin Luther and Franklin Roosevelt and many more like them. We derive inspiration from words like that of Martin Luther King in his speech “I have a Dream,” where he said… “I say to you today, my friends, that even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed- we hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal. ” The Americans youth has the opportunity to make this dream come true.
The American youth has changed America socially, politically, culturally and academically in many ways that are mentioned below: Culture: My generation has made cultural amalgamation possible in the real sense. The youth is more tolerant of different nationalities, races, ethnicities and their respective cultures than the older generation. For instance, we do not have issues with dining out at a Chinese restaurant with black friends while listening to Indian music whereas our forefathers were ever so conscious about the skin color and place of origin.
History will remember us as the force that removed the invisible yet very strong barriers between the different residents of the United States of America. We have realized that all of us have to coexist and it is in the best interests of all of us to do so in a cordial, amicable manner. The Youth is often blamed for promoting individualism and nuclear families. Time and again we are told that we care more about what our peers say than the opinion of the parents. However, I would like to point out that this shows that the youth are more confident about them selves and are sure of their standing.
This has helped the nation on the economic front because our parents are more comfortable in leaving us at home and can work. The number of female workers and even men working overtime has increased because the children of today need less supervision and are comfortable with their parents working. This has had a two fold advantage. On one hand it has increased the family income, improved the standard of living and boosted the economic growth. On the other hand, the youth has become more self sufficient and they are more confident as individuals that their parents were.
The youth is now sure of its identity and they generally have the exposure they need. The book ‘Hope in the Unseen’ describes the difficulties that Cedric faced due to his lack of exposure to the word outside his immediate surroundings. When Cedric visits a bookstore he becomes nervous and confused. This is because the Authors and book titles like ‘Plath Hemingway’, ‘Theodore Roosevelt’ or ‘Woodrow Wilson’ seem ‘‘vaguely familiar” or ”draw a blank. ” When he sees a biography of Winston Churchill, he thinks ”Oh, God, I should know who he is,” and tries to memorize the name.
The fact is that Cedric does not need rote learning, he needs Cultural literacy. Even during classes there are so many ”references he doesn’t understand — he often feels like a foreigner. ” This inability is not due to his lower intellect or lack of effort, this is because he has never been exposed to a wide variety of information and has not seen world outside his ghettos. This example shows how important it is for the youth to have novel experiences for a stronger, confident youth will be ensure a bright future for the country.
The individualism that has become a salient feature of the American culture will be remembered as one of the reasons for the county’s development. Politics The youth is more aware of the political scenario than the youth of the yesteryears. We are more engaged as citizens during our teenage years, know what is going on in the political front and have played a driving role in bringing people back to the voting booths. Perhaps, the greatest political achievement of the youth is the active role we played in the presidential elections of 2008.
Be it Democrats or Republicans, the youth was very much aware of the policies of the previous government and was very keen to know about the agendas of the respective candidates. The kids of today were the ones who questioned the previous government about the policies, the wars fought and the reasons for the economic melt down. We had raised questions about why we were not able to get jobs, why our parents were losing their jobs or why our peers were being killed in wars that gave us nothing more than a crippling economy and an ever rising death toll not to mention the hatred of the rest of the world.
We want this to be written in the chronicles of history for is we compare the reaction of our fore fathers during The history will always remember us as the driving force behind the greatest change of all times: A black becoming the president of the United States of America. I will not discuss where this is good or bad but what is beyond doubt is the fact that this is a revolution. Gone are the days when only the ‘whites’ could hold powerful positions in the country, every citizen of the United States can now aim for the stars.
The cliche ‘sky is the limit’ holds true for the American society of today and this is even endorsed in our literary works. Books like ‘Hope in the Unseen’ show how a poor black boy from a ghetto makes it to an Ivy League university on the basis of his intellect and hard work only. We want the history to remember us the fighters who succeeded despite the odds in the society- be it the post September 11 crisis or the political turmoil due to the two wars we are engaged in or the economic breakdown that currently plagues the country. Academically On the academic front, the number of applicants of college and universities is on the rise.
The youth of today are more oriented towards higher education than their ancestors and this is evident by the cut throat competition for admissions for graduate and post graduate education. The admission standards are being raised with every academic year and the admission policies are now fairer than before. Minorities are no longer discriminated and there equal opportunities for all those who meet the academic standards. The current student body of the colleges across the country is a blend of different races, ethnicities, religions and nationalities.
This goes on to show how much the American society has progressed since the days when higher education was for the privileged urban whites only. The book ‘hope in the Unseen’ shows how Cedric was denied admission in MIT due to his black color and less privileged background. However, the same book shows how another Ivy League college, Brown, acknowledges his intelligence and accepts him. ‘Hope in the Unseen’ also shows the bleak side of our academic system. The high achievers at Cedric’s high school become a victim of (Suskind, 17) “the crab/bucket syndrome: when one crab tries to climb from the bucket, the others pull it back down”.
When a student displays signs of extraordinary or above average academic performance, he becomes the target of mocking, ridicule and derogatory remarks. For instance, Cedric is condemned for trying to be white. However, this only makes him more determined to succeed and achieve his goals showing that the youth are strong and persistent in their own right. ‘Hope in the Unseen’ also shows that academic achievement also depends on the social and moral support the student receives. This support should come from both the family and the teacher.
In Cedric’s case, he has the unwavering support of his mother and science teacher Mr. Taylor. His mother always supported him and encouraged him to aim high. Mr. Taylor realized Cedric’s great potential in the academic front so he helped Cedric in setting his goals and also tried to enhance his student’s knowledge by giving his after school tasks and duties. College life is the high light of one’s academic life and ‘Hope in the Unseen’ prepares the youth for the challenges they will face there.
The books depicts enmity that arises between Cedric and Rob, his affluent white roommate, due to their personal differences like conflicting music tastes with Cedric liking gospel and hip-hop while Rob listens to heavy metal. This book how tolerant the youth has to become once they enter college because the personal values or lifestyle may conflict. For instance, Cedric avoids dating, dancing and drinking but Rob loves all three. Similarly, Cedric is meticulous and neat while Rob is the opposite. Socially There have been various social changes in the society.
The youth have been the catalyst of this change and they have also been affected the most by these changes. Traditionally, our society has not been very friendly towards non-white students. ‘Hope in the Unseen’ shows how Cedric’s black skin color differentiated him from other students at Brown. The fact that making it big is very difficult for inner city kids is evident by the way the author describes Cedric ( Suskind, 206)”an exotic bird… an authentic ghetto kid who, for whatever reason, made it through the urban inferno without donning an armor” . However, this book is an inspiration for the youth to cope up with social challenges.
Cedric faces constant ridicule due to his skin color and roots so he tries to hide himself until he finally realizes that he does not need to change to please him self, he can be stead fast in his own right and can carve his own niche. The book says that he thinks of (Suskind, 333) “going to the Underground with the white kids a few days ago and he finds that being here doesn’t alter who he is… he can stay or leave”. Another problem that the youth face is creating an identity for them. Cedric describes what an identity is in the following words (Sunskind, 177) “identity should come from something you take pride in…
it should be something we all share, rather than what separates us” . Social confusion arises when the youth have not had adequate exposure to the rest of the world. This is high lighted in the book ‘Hope in the Unseen’ Cedric and his mother arrive on campus and see ‘‘a tall, thin Caucasian girl with . . . a row of earrings and a shaved head. ” ”Isn’t that awful,” his mother murmurs. ”Must be chemotherapy. ” Cedric nods sympathetically. This indicates the difficulty the student will face while adjusting in the new surroundings for he is not aware of something that is a norm in the urban areas.
The youth of today wants their struggle to adjust socially and the challenges they face to be acknowledged in the chronicles of history. Conclusion The youth has made many positive changes to the American society. They have also been a victim of these changes in many ways (as depicted by the references from ‘Hope in the Unseen’) and want that their positive contribution to be recorded in history. The youth derives inspiration from literary works like ‘Hope in the Unseen’ and relies on their intelligence and determination as the only hope in the unseen. Works Cited Suskin, R . A Hope in the Unseen. Broadway. (May 4, 1999)
Courtney from Study Moose
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