You’re too young, you wouldn’t understand
By Fikirte Hunt
This is for anyone who has ever said or heard the words “you’re too young.” It’s for the generation before me, after me and most of all—mine. It’s for all my friends, who are frustrated daily by the adults in our lives and for the adults in our lives who’ve forgotten what it’s like to be young.
There has been a time in everyone’s life when they heard the phrase “you’re too young” or even said it. To me there are two main issues with this phrase, the first pointing out my youth and second shutting me out of the conversation. Pointing out my youth establishes a barrier and implies that I am too inexperienced. In some cases that is true, but it also implies that someone my age would not understand or empathize with the situation. Wisdom and empathy do not necessarily come with age. We are all humans and have basic needs, wants and emotions. Things are not the same as they were long ago.
Growing up now is not like it used to be. People my age are exposed to the horrors and dangers of life. From mass shootings to cancel culture to coping with severe mental health illnesses, we know a lot, have seen a lot and have been through a lot. I am old enough to have my opinion and have it heard. The phrase “you’re too young” also shuts me out of the conversation entirely without allowing a different perspective to be heard. At the end of the day, we were all young once. We experience things differently but no matter the age, we should be heard.
For example, I love true crime podcasts. In many cases there are two sides to a story. The judge and jury have to hear all sides no matter how outlandish the arguments are to give a ruling. A fair trial means both sides are heard even if the outcome is not what was wanted. I have a right to share my opinion but that does not mean everyone has to agree with it, you just have to listen.
To all the adults: it’s easy to forget what it feels like to be young, but it is not an excuse to ignore me. To anyone like me: the next time someone says “you’re too young.” stop them in their tracks and say “at least do the right thing and hear me out” because you never know… they just might have something insightful to say.
Fikirte Hunt is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.