Proptar Voice

Proptar have officially introduced a new talent segment called “Proptar Voice“. A platform for young voices to be heard!

This gives young people the opportunity to voice their thoughts, opinions and experiences on current societal topics and matters.

Please bear in mind the opinions suggested in these pieces are solely of the writers themselves and do not represent the opinions of Proptar.

So, our first installment comes from an aspiring journalist,  @justlizziee, enjoy!

The Youth Writes ‘Rights’ Not ‘Injustices’

It’s interesting how the UK claims to have democracy and all but where’s this so called ‘democracy’ for 16-17 year olds when it comes to voting?

So democracy, what is it? The term ‘democracy’ as we know it, is defined to be ‘a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives’, so how can we possibly relate this to the UK, if it’s not the ‘whole population’ at all who have the right to contribute to this as a chunk of the population is boxed out – 16-17 years olds.

It’s understandable that a line needs to be drawn for those who are eligible to vote, but why must that line be drawn at 18? The idea that at 18 you suddenly become mature and hold the capacity to make moral decisions is inaccurate. Maturity and intellectual development does not suddenly appear on a teenagers 18th birthday, it is very much a gradual process, one that could almost certainly start before the age of 16. It is argued by the ignorant few, that 16 year olds don’t have the necessary political maturity or knowledge to hold the responsibility to vote; but isn’t this the same argument that was used against allowing under 30s to vote, allowing the working class to vote and even allowing women to vote in the 1920s? It is a widely shared view that it would be immoral to prevent any of these groups from voting today and it is equally immoral to prevent 16-17 years to be denied a say of who can represent them.

Excluding 16-17 years old a right to vote is wrong. This isn’t at all equality and justice – the qualities that the UK so profoundly like to claim possession of – this is unfair and unjust! 16 year olds in the UK should have a decision on what lies in their future. Let us be brutally honest, the older generation repeatedly voting the conservative party is not helping matters. I mean sure they have the right to vote, but what their vote accounts for doesn’t affect their future in the long term does it? It’s the younger generation who have to bear the brunt of the decisions made for them. I mean sure the older generation deserve the right to vote, but since when did their right become superior to that of teenagers? So in all honesty, denying 16-17 year olds the right to vote, allows the continuous advocating of other votes (predominantly that of the older generation) which thereby allows for the dominance of the conservative party in power to continue to encourage and support the rapidly increasing high university fees, now where’s the justice in that?

But deeply consider, if young people had access to votes, they’d be able to change this nightmarish cycle, similar concept to the ‘breaking of the glass ceiling’, seeking the compelling change they yearn for. That is the only way their justice will be served. As Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, accurately states, “Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.”

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Here’s our second installment of Proptar Voice from @justlizzie.

Education – Does it expand knowledge or confine creativity?

Education. What’s its purpose? Surely it’s to just educate the youth right? But if that is truly the case, shouldn’t all subjects in schools be valued and appreciated equally, if they truly all aim to provide the same outcome, which is invaluable knowledge and understanding. Well, due to the superiority which certain subjects hold over one another however, I’m led to believe this cannot be the case and indeed the education system must hold another motive.

Of course there are so many different sociological explanations as to what the intentions of the education system actually are; for example, we have the “Marxists” in one corner who believe the Education system is to legitimise social class inequality, whilst in another corner there’s the “Functionalists” who say it offers meritocracy. I however, wouldn’t solely agree with any of these explanations, instead I formulate my own; the education system, whether it be deliberately or by default, I believe it kills creativity.

This may be a strong accusation for an institution that many people seem to speak so fondly of. But think about it, does the national curriculum truly stimulate creativity? It sure does promote maths, literacy and science, there is no negating that, but what of the ‘less’ popular subjects such as enterprise, business or media. Only a fool would fail to realise that these creative subjects are made very much inferior to that of Maths and English and don’t hold nearly as much prestige. Yes, Maths and English are good subjects, my point isn’t trying to dispute that, but yet show the way in which by continuing to put so much significance on such subjects, the ability to expand into more creative subjects are concealed.

Is it fair that students aren’t encouraged to study creative subjects as much as they are to study Maths and Sciences? It is true that you probably won’t become a doctor without studying them, but maybe that right there is just the issue. That stigma society places upon careers other than that of doctors and lawyers does much more harm than good. As a result, the education system continues to promote the subjects that enable the creation of these clichéd professions, rather than the simple creating of creativity itself.

Creativity needs to be something that as a society we uplift, not just by word of mouth but by the actions in which we part take in. Then and maybe only then, can we see positive changes. The continuous evolving of doctors and lawyers is good, but the creation of young entrepreneurs, business people and media executives can be great. We need to stop fine tuning career paths through the lack of dispersal of creativity offered in education. Instead we ought to offer diversity in education, as to what is being taught and maybe then we’ll see the benefit of young people possessing widely and more creative mind sets.

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Changing Perceptions

It’s interesting the way in which ones appearance can determine the view or perception somebody has of them. The United Kingdom is so heavily exposed to a range of cultures and traditions, a place where many people from diverse and various backgrounds all live. But despite living in the UK, a place of diversity and culture, where we so proudly claim to offer opportunities for those who work hard for them, there still appears to be restriction from these opportunities as a result of people’s perceptive outlooks on others. These opportunities range from gaining work experience and insight into different career paths to actually getting full time employment and desired jobs. How can we aim to instil the youth with the inclination of working hard in order to receive these good opportunities and brighten their future through jobs and fulfilment of career goals if as a society we are unable to look pass their appearance?

Some may argue that the UK is filled with chances to achieve great things and aspire for great opportunities. This of course has some element of truth within it, for example, with all students being entitled to a free education until the age of 18. Ostensibly, with education the youth are able to study their crafts and pursue their chosen career which is most definitely a positive thing. Therefore, the right to free education is indeed a privilege which we have as not all children are fortunate to have this in other countries.

However in saying this, it is important to note that this equality we talk of is only apparent to an extent. Why is it that the media commonly associate teenage boys to be a threat due to the type of apparel they choose? Cases like this have resulted in sometimes unnecessary interrogation from police officers in London, with similar and somewhat more extreme scenarios with our American neighbours. This was illustrated in the case of Trayvon Martin where a teenage boy was judged by his appearance and this judgement cost him his life. Subsequently shown in cases like these is the detrimental effect of stereotypes as Trayvon Martin himself was not a threat, but due to his appearance being perceived as threatening he was killed even though he himself did not inflict killing or any danger close to the sort. This appears to be a reoccurring issue amongst our society; where personal judgements are continuously based on appearances as opposed to the content of character.  How can we continue to promote equality and teach the young to do so also, when we so profoundly judge others instinctively by their appearances?

Hoodies

It is evident that in many cases and circumstances stereotypes exist so the first step should be the acknowledgment of this. A lot of the controversy from the Trayvon Martin case, stemmed from the fact that the person who shot the innocent teenager would go unpunished, due to the belief that he was carrying out his role of keeping the neighbourhood safe. But the incentive behind shooting Trayvon was could be said to have been the neighbourhood watcher’s fixed mind-set of a stereotypical threatening American teenager.

The way in which society can move on from this is not by pointing the finger and throwing the blame on one another but by actually acknowledging that there are stereotypes and that everyone whether intentionally or not, hold preconceived notions of others. The decline in stigma on the way particular people in society are viewed – for example teenage boys in hoodies – can be changed through being honest about having these preconceived notions on others, recognising why it is we have formed them and finally from there can we move on to taking an active approach in educating ourselves and aim towards a less judgmental and more optimistic future.