Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Madison Woods (Arlington High School)
In September, a mob of teens wreaked havoc at the Kroger in Poplar Plaza. Placing fear in the lives of the people in the surrounding area, these teens have added yet another layer of incidents to the stereotype that teens are unruly and cannot be controlled.
When a group of teens left a nearby restaurant, they decided to play “Point out, Knock out, “a game where you point at someone and try your best to knock them out. A large number of teens ran through the Kroger parking lot, knocking out innocent people, some of whom were also teenaged. There is absolutely no reason or point of putting someone in critical condition; however, an individual’s morals can change when surrounded by other individuals.
According to the Bronze Principle by Emile Durkheim, an early sociologist, if you take an individual and put them in a group, that individual will change his or her morals or values. No one, single teen would do such a thing by him or herself. People judge a teenager’s behavior in a sociological perspective, but they never look at an individual teen, they are viewed as a collective. One of those teenagers that was part of the mob could have been a very respectable or talented person. However, when an individual has a chance to fit in with peers, he or she takes the chance.
Fitting in is an important part of our daily lives, and peer-pressure is a phenomenon known to many adolescents. To be important people believe that they have to be smart, attractive, or above average. Memphis has a very low rate of graduated students and this year, the community is trying to fix that..
The community is looking at the students and how the students act. However they do not know why they act. Why did a mob of teens terrorize innocent lives? Why do we have low graduation rates? Why do we think teenagers do not care?
Why do we not look at one single teen instead of a mob of teens?
The deplorable Kroger incident was a matter of fitting in and conformity. We conform to be valued and to be known. It was not just some big stunt that every teenager decided to do to show that ‘we rule the Memphis area’. Teens have grown up thinking they had to fit in, and to fit in, we have to do what everyone else is doing.
If we taught teens that to be valuable and important you do not need to be the same, Memphis could increase current graduation rates. The community needs to sit down and talk about saving our future; they need to stand up and save it. If they tried to communicate with teens and not with just adults, we could get more progress done. There are plenty of teens in Memphis waiting for the chance to progress this community and the idiocy of a few should not represent the Memphian teen-collective.