The Dictionary defines language as a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. Based on this definition wouldn’t it make sense for different generations to have differences in their language because they are apart of different cultural differences amongst one another? My generation consistently gets a bad wrap for being too vulgar, too curt, too disrespectful, and too controversial, but that’s not the way we see it. The same words that make our parents cringe are the same words that build comradery amongst our peers.
The songs that leave our grandparents in disgust make us feel empowered. Were misunderstood, is what it boils down too. The Language of my generation is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves, not how anyone else see us; we redefine, and reclaim language and modify it to reflect who we are. In today’s day and age, everyone’s looking for something to control. It has been proven that this generation faces more pressure than the generations before us. With everyone controlling every other aspect of our lives, language allows us to have something that is our own, something we can control.
This is why we speak the way we speak, because no one can tell us otherwise. This is what language means to us. It’s a way we can relate to our peers, and no one else has to understand, because they aren’t meant too. So who’s to say that the “b word” cant be used as a term of endearment? Who makes the rules on what these words we use mean? A word is just a word until you give it meaning, because after all words are just sounds, and the dictionary is just a book, written by regular people, people with bias, so why can’t I disagree with those who gave these words their original meaning?
History repeats itself; therefore there is no way that our parents generation was viewed anymore negatively then the generations before them. From the way they dressed, to the way the walked, and spoke, and the emergence of hip hop music into mainstream culture, My parents and their peers were regular rebels, at least their parents thought so. The generations before them experienced the same thing. The only problem reason my generation is misunderstood is because the generations before us so quickly forget. The reason they forget is because they can no longer relate. They can no longer relate because their lives have changed.
But there was a time when my mom used to get into arguments with her mother about the way she spoke, and acted, and dressed, no different then the ones she and I go through now. She was my age in 1988, a time notoriously known for sex, and drugs, and all things controversial, so I have a hard time believing we are all that different. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, but my generation is innovative. We are creators, philanthropists, thinkers, and inventors, and we use our language as a platform to promote ourselves. Today, more than ever before there are more kids making their dreams come true.
We use our resources to make things happen. Kids can use social networks to build a following in pursuit of their goals whether it is music or fashion, or gaining support for a philanthropic cause. The best thing about it is we can do it on our own. I know people my age who are entrepreneurs running successful businesses. Believe it or not, there are teens out there making a difference. When I was a junior in high school I hosted a series of park cleanups in my city, and the turnout was amazing. When asked by several adults how I got kids my age to come out early Saturday mornings to pick up trash, I told them “I just asked”.
I reached out to my peers in the most effective way I knew how, using our language, speaking blatantly, and of course posting it all over Twitter and Facebook. They came out because they related to me, we related because of our common language. Instead of criticizing my generation I think we should try to bridge the gap by trying to better understand one another. Society spends so much time trying to strip us of our identity, which is our language, when they should just accept as is. This is who we are, every curse, every action, every word, defines we as a people.