Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Trapped Youth

At this moment, our youth is more ideologically and socially tangled then it has ever been before. The glamourisation of drugs and gang activity in the mainstream is slowly ruining our mentalities. Instead of thinking for the long-term, we are obsessed with grabbing short-term gains, such as conditional acceptance and temporary self-fulfilment. We are not stowing money away to pay for a mortgage or worthy future investment because systemic class and racial oppression has made it impossible for us to do so. Unfortunately, the enormous property price rise in London and surrounding areas doesn’t enable many people our age to buy their own houses, but there’s still a lack of knowledge on how to finance ourselves sensibly as well as a lack of opportunity for us to get into a better position overall.

Constant portrayal of lavish social media lives provide a false sense of security, showing off a fake lifestyle that isn’t authentic to their character, with a lot of 16-21-year-olds unfortunately becoming conditioned to blindly accept this. It also sends the wrong message to younger teens, depicting a materialistic mindset that, in the long-term, brings negative results. We should be collectively striving to make a difference and a long-lasting impact on those around us, for example collaborating with local foundations or teaching younger individuals how not to copy the mistakes some of us have made. Unfortunately, many of us are struggling to seek the truth about ourselves, which is something that has to change.  

I’m not claiming to be the perfect example to follow, I’ve made many mistakes in my short life, but this materialistic fixation is manifesting itself into society, and it’s extremely concerning.

There are examples of numerous people who grow up in disadvantaged backgrounds and become inspiring role models, but most of us are being disadvantaged by an alarming amount of crime and poverty. Official government stats (, as of 10th October 2018) reveal that Black men are three and a half times more likely to be arrested than White men and also in London, 52% of people arrested are from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups (the highest percentage out of all police force areas). Many unprivileged members of society fall headfirst into an inescapable system that is actively disadvantaged against us.

Another issue is the elevation of drill music here in Britain, with young people being drawn into a violent lifestyle, which brings more risk than reward. Diss records between rival gang members have undoubtedly contributed to many killings in the last two years.  But to a youngster, observing older gang members who appear wealthy inspires them to do the same, not knowing the dangers of following such a path. Also, the popularisation of drill music on social media makes it seem artistically and morally justifiable as showing that persona could bring fame and fortune for a short while, that is until they fall into trouble and, very often, lose their lives over meaningless disputes that are only concerned with reputation. Is it really worth dying over conditional ‘respect’ and street credibility? This situation is something that I have witnessed, with some smart individuals wasting their talents in the field of crime and being lost in the system.

Despite these criticisms of gang culture, music doesn’t gloss over the problems created by the government and decades of neglect. Banning drill music on social media (as of May 2018) does nothing to solve the problem. Police brutality in Britain is more understated than it is in America, but areas of London and Northern England are subject to abuses of power by the police, the media in Britain just does a slightly better job to hide the brutality than in America. Due to this, people of all ages in these targeted areas are used to distrusting the police and see no option but to shoot back. For too long now people in targeted areas have been oppressed and nothing has ever been done. The government are engaged in petty squabbles instead of trying to work together to enforce policies that will benefit underprivileged communities and save lives. Politicians from all parties are to blame for failing to meaningfully provide solutions to the problem.

Not enough is being done to address the systematic destruction of the youth, and that needs to change otherwise future generations will be stuck in a trap of social media materialism and an attraction of gang culture. There will be less of a motivation to educate themselves about the world around them, how they can help others to improve themselves and the truth about why the world is the way it is. There will soon be a damaging drive to out-compete one another for material goods and false personal freedom.

Any opinions espoused in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of  Orbital Magazine or its editorial board as a whole.