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Marginalized Youth: How Are They Viewed

Ramon Mundo


Professor Ashton

English 110 ​​​

   Marginalized Youth: How Are They Viewed? ​Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, psychological conditions have been recognized slowly, first starting around the mid-1900s and to this current day. These conditions have affected many youth throughout their times, usually being recognized as “teenagers being teenagers” but it is truly a psychological or social condition? As shown through John Elder Robison’s Look Me In The Eye, Rosie King’s TED Talk, Susanna Keysen’s Girl Interrupted, and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl Interrupted at Her Music”, these youth of these examples are to be labeled as “marginalized youth” or youth that are limited to their abilities due to their social or psychological condition and, or, their condition of living such as in Vermeer’s piece and in Rosie King’s TED Talk. Throughout each of these examples, their society has labeled them and they affect the community they live in, such as John Elder’s poor social skills limiting him from befriending many people his age and not being able to interact with other due to not knowing how to, Rosie King having to adapt to her environment but realizing that even if she had her outbursts that she didn’t care about what others thought of her, Susanna Keysen being sent to the institute for those who were mentally ill and the others who were institutionalized to be outcasts of their community, and the girl of Vermeer’s piece looking restricted to writing her music and constantly being checked on as if that is all she did throughout her days.

   The youth of these examples can be related to the youth that are labeled as being crazy, deranged, or to be troubled people in our time due to the amount of people that have issues regarding their mental status or issue regarding their social skills or status depending on who the person is. One key example that can be used to use as evidence is how Rosie King was autistic and she was not accepted due to the mental issues she had because of her autism, which in turn was not considered "normal" in her society and caused her to become an outcast among her fellow peers and even her teachers that were supposed to be helping her and understanding why she acted in the manner that she did on a daily basis. The youth of both worlds are restricted by their societies and by the people around them such as fellow peers and other adults, to be better known as their elders. As stated above, the youth that are affected by these situations and conditions are not accepted into society and making them outcasts with each condition and situation affecting almost each adolescent in a similar way. All of them are understood by their elders as being crazy, having “teenage issues”, and to be seen as characters that should be avoided. They do not expand their thinking into seeing that something may be a bit off with the youth that they encounter and see every day. The youth of these pieces, however, each have different experiences with their issues, with John Elder dealing with his fellow peers instead of elders, Rosie King dealing with both but still does things the way she wants to do them, Susanna being sent to the institute and feeling accepted for once because she was surrounded by others who had conditions also, and the girl in the painting only being limited to that one room where she was to write music that was being judged by her teacher, looking at the viewers as wanting to get out but cannot since she was confined to that room. ​

     Kids are currently being marginalized by both their elders and their fellow peers. In this point in time, people see these kids with psychological conditions and social issues as being different from them, so they classify them as crazy or deranged, which is not the case with youth these days. “People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label,” (1:22-1:28) as Rosie King says to help explain how youth like herselfandmany others are being categorized and placed in their own "tiny little boxes." These new issues and conditions that are discovered throughout time such as Rosie King and John Elder having autism, which enables the person to have a harder time expressing their emotions and being able to connect with others. Rosie King saw that she would drift off into her own world inside her mind, then go through outbursts of joy because of what is happening inside her head and proceeds with her actions which others find strange. John Elder had to be kept down by his peers due to his poor social skills and tries to learn more about how to talk to people in order to be accepted by his society. Susanna was classified as being crazy in the 1960s where these conditions weren’t founded at the time and if you were to act “out of the ordinary”, then you were just a deranged teenager at the time. She also mentions her school life, as she says "It is hard to not tell the teacher that the lesson is inexplicably dull" (Rosie King, 2:56-2:58) also leading into her next point of how tough it is because her body also goes into its own trance. She felt, however, more accepted in the institute instead of the outside world, regardless of the electroshock therapy and twisted methods they would use on the others being institutionalized because she was accepted in there instead of her society where she was marked as being an outcast and, therefore, not being accept into “normal” society. As Rosie King describes it, people are afraid of variety in their social norm society. She also mentions that everyone wants to be a unique person and seeks to be extraordinary but still conform everyone else to being a status of "normal" or socially accepted within society. The young female in Vermeer’s piece is restricted by her teacher to write music and looks out to the viewers of the painting to get her out, even though she is confined, literally, into the room that she is in, not able to experience the social experiences that everyone else experiences such as hanging out with friends and having memories to share, but she only would have memories of her practicing her music that she plays and have no real contact with herself because of the lack of emotion she experiences. ​

     There are individuals, however, who believe that these youth of these pieces and of the real world do the certain things they do because of the attention that they might be seeking. Others also believe them to just “being teenagers acting like teenagers”, which means that they believe this is a normal custom of teenage and of a young person’s life instead of seeing the true reason behind their actions. People believe that the youth of today act out always because of these reasons even though there are actual mentally ill people with autism and with other psychological conditions that causes them to react the way they react but are still viewed by everyone as being crazy or strange. This is not the case as these youth have to live day through day with their conditions usually getting worse and no one seems to pay mind to it due to these other ideas they have for them. This can cause even more problems later down the road for the youth that are affected by mental issues on a daily basis and the conditions that they are put udner may become worse and may be too far to eventually  help with. Millions of youth currently have issues and conditions that affect their way of life. Even after having knowledge of this, adults and other “normal” youth continue to criticize and attack them for being “different” from everyone else. This is what causes worldwide terror attacks due to children like them being attacked and feeling anger for the first time and seeing it as a reason to cause harm among the masses and assume everyone else is the same way as their attackers, which is not the case in most cases. ​

       In conclusion, youth of both the pieces and of current points in time are being marginalized by those around them, primarily their elders and other youth around them. This has to be stopped because it continues to affect those with these conditions and issues that make them the way they are and are not being helped by a select amount of individuals to help combat their problems and their issues. In order for mental problems such as autism to be stopped, treatments must be conducted in a safe and morally correct manner, as well as people who are socially awkward because they can continue to not interact with people and not feel the emotions that most people have and may not experience things that everyone should experience such as friends and happiness. ​​​​


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