I am the Vice Chair of the Black Health Agency (www.blackhealthagency.org.uk). On Friday last week I had an inspiring day visiting staff working in different programmes across Manchester. The skills, competence and commitment of the staff is truly remarkable. They daily find creative ways to reduce the health inequalities experienced by minority communities, and enabling people to speak out for themselves.
Whilst I was at one office the youth workers told me to look out of the window at the group of young people gathered in the garden. About eight young people from the local Further Education college were rolling and smoking ‘spliffs’ in their lunch break. I was surprised at how open they were. I was also surprised by how easy it is to tut loudly. Thankfully I quickly remembered that my peers smoked spliffs during lunch when I was at college – the only difference is that it was generally done out of sight of adults.
In a world in which all our lives are increasingly open to public view via the internet and reality TV, we will get used to young people reminding us of our faded or fading youth. If we don’t we will believe the myth that is peddled by some that young people are less moral than we were, shamefully forgetting the fun and the learning that doing ‘naughty things’ offers, and condemning youth in ways that I can’t see is particularly helpful.