On Wednesday, Feb. 29, Marc Lamont Hill was the guest of honor at Old Main Chapel.
Hill’s speech, “The War on Youth,” spoke about the idea that people today are under the impression that today’s youth are worse than young generations before them.
Before hearing him speak, I was confused. I heard about the war on drugs and the war on terror, but the war on youth was a new one to me.
The phrase, “When I was a kid…” takes a whole new meaning when he talked about legislation in Louisiana that criminalizes anyone wearing baggy pants because according to officials, “pants worn low enough to expose underwear poses a threat to the public.”
He also mentioned the attack on hip-hop and rap music saying that older generations see the music as violent and destructive to society.
Hill shed light to the point that when talking to the youth of the society or about the youth, we replaced listening, understanding and love with a tone of blame and disgrace.
And while he quoted lyrics written by Jay-Z and speeches from Martin Luther King Jr. in the same light, he showed the good that young people could do for society.
Then he talked about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Both were important people in history and both died young.
Both people were born into a society in which young people were discriminated for their age but grew into some of the most influential people.
And what could be the cause of this youth hating cycle?
As a society, we tend to focus on only the good and not the bad when reminiscing about the past.
As a society, we want to make our generation seem better than it actually was.
Although Hill did not know this was what he wanted to be doing, he knew he was destined to do something to help others.
Through his journey to inform everyone on the changes they can make to help end the war on youth, he has taught at Temple University and more recently Colombia University, appeared on Fox News and The O’Reilly factor, and has appeared on numerous college campuses just like Shippensburg’s.
Hill’s time here at Shippensburg left the students, faculty and residents of the Shippensburg area more aware of their daily actions when judging a succeeding generation.
He made people think, “How can we end the war on youth today?”