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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 7. 1961.

Youth Discrimination

Youth Discrimination

Let us have a Protest March!

What is wrong with the "Evening Post"? The write-up of "Pro-cesh." was not only as miserable as it could be. considering what a well-behaved and "clean" affair it was (as they had to admit), but placed underneath it, presumably deliberately, was a much more eye-catching headline about a small-scale orthodox raid on a small hostel by four 17-year-old students, presented as an obscene scandal. Consider the write-up itself: More prominence was given to the flour-bomb attack, in a gloating sort of way, than to the procession itself. "Here, members of the 'inevitable' haka party protest against this unfair method of retaliation for an earlier 'stink bomb' attack on citizen spectators." This implies (1) that the haka party was indignant and resentful. Nothing of the sort.

(2) That the "stink bomb" attack was vicious. Even if this had been so, the flour bombs could not possibly have been arranged as retaliation (by, I believe, "Dominion" reporters—good on them!).

(3) The obvious distinction between "student" and "citizen." Are students not citizens? The whole tone of the report seems to involve an attempt to raise resentment and prejudice among the rest of the newspaper's readers ("responsible citizens") against students.

The procession is described as "milk and water," which means, I suppose, that it was neither very elaborate nor very indecent. How they all enjoy complaining when it is indecent! With the uncertainty up to almost the last moment about availability of trucks, it is hardly surprising that it was not more elaborate.

The present hostility of the "Evening Post" and "Dominion" could be explained simply as reaction to the excellent "Hastings" article in "Cappicade." But it is nothing new. Nothing students can do is right, by them, or has ever been. This is only part of a consistent and savage attack on the 15-25 age group. We have seen it in the treatments of the Hastings incident, the Hutt Valley juvenile delinquency incident, the book "Bodgie." and all the silly furores over education. If the sweet, innocent and worshipped child is going to turn into a wicked and disgusting adolescent, the teachers must be responsible. Of course, every society, it seems, must have its scapegoats. We can't go in for Jews, or Negroes, and the bomb, "colonialism" and the White South Africans are all rather unreal. So we attack the adolescents, and the "Play-way" system. They are watched with, simultaneously, fascination and the bitterest denunciation. Look at the "Beatnik" business. I call this "Youth Discrimination."

What Is The Cause?

Mr Kitts, the mayor, made a very good point in his speech during the Capping ceremony on May 5: that we are no longer in the days of decay and change, but in the age of obsolescence and change. That is, nowadays, things lose their usefulness long before they are worn out. This applies not only to machines (especially to armaments) but to ideas. The change from the world of Euclidean geometry to that of many geometries, from the British Empire to the United Nations, from gunboat diplomacy to the bomb, is so great that many adults who have not kept up with scientific and international developments are thousands of miles behind. Once upon a time the old could always be superior because they were experienced, they "knew the world." The world is now changing so fast that much of their experience is becoming worth less and less.

The fundamental notions learned by those being educated today are more valid, for the modern world, than some of those of their fathers.

No wonder the fathers are resentful. Many of them are also jealous of the immature, because in so many ways they are immature themselves. And they, too, naturally, would like not to be tied to the slavery of a dull 40-50 hours week.

The Students' Executive has been very concerned with better public relations with the city. Where is the trouble but in the hostility of the newspapers?

Anyway, the main point is that certain people are practicing "Youth Discrimination." What about a Protest March some time?