December 21, 2015

The Clear Bookbag

Image Courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor
     There is something that a high school teen in a lower economic neighborhood  despises: A clear book bag.

     For some of these neighborhoods, these clear book bags are in response to crime that permeates into high schools and holds them hostage.  Over time, the clear book bags have become  common practice, and are now used in some elementary schools across the city.  Teens have reluctantly accepted this form of adult invasion of privacy.

     For some teens the use of the clear book bags frustrates them because their personal items of value are exposed to all making them a target for theft.  Teens that resale candy, chips and box drinks during school hours are also frustrated because their grocery items are exposed in these bags and often confiscated during the morning x-ray scan.  In a post-Columbine school age, many would argue that this type of added security will provide a safe environment where learning can take place.

Image Courtesy of K.C. Boyd
     Individuality is often times very difficult to celebrate in high school for teens who live in lower income, crime stricken communities.   Teens must adhere to strict policies that dictate the appearance of their uniform, accessories, hair, piercing and the use of the clear book bag.  There are some teens that have embraced this practice as so much that they decorate their book bags with markers, stickers and other symbols that celebrate their individuality.

     Another group of students who display a creative form of teen expression are those teens who enjoy reading Street Literature books.  Also known as Urban Fiction, these soft covered books with their undaunted hip hop inspired titles and eye catching cover art are easily identifiable.  Students enjoy placing the current book that they are reading in the back of the book bag so that it can been seen by others while they are walking down the hallway.  One may observe that this type of display as a walking advertisement, for teens it’s an outward expression of what they feel is hip to read.  Generation Z teens living in economically challenged neighborhoods have found direction, solace and pleasure reading through this often overlooked and misunderstood genre called Street Lit.

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