Boris Johnson – at the Conservative Party Conference 2008 (taken from C&YP Now)
“On the issue of providing young people with things to do, he said “I will not be frightened about saying some crusty-sounding things.
People have invested a lot of money in expensive sound equipment intended to turn youngsters into rappers and DJs but I’d like to see some more going into basic literacy and mathematics.”


9 Replies to “Crusty?”

  1. Investing in the arts to help young people express themselves is not a waste of resources. A lot of young people especially those on the edge of society carry a lot of emotional baggage and finding constructive ways to channel and unravel their emotions I believe is vital.
    To believe that the intention is purely to create rappers and DJ’s is nieve.Lots of therapists I suspect will consider music/ poetry/rapping as a crucial way to help young people communicate.
    Is mathematics and literacy important? Yes,of course but some disaffected young people are not in a place where they will ‘engage’ with learning in a conventional way.

  2. you are not spending money on education?
    money being spent on arts is not simply going to turn kids into rappers and dj’s, it generates culturally relevant [positive] activities for young people that allow them to develop creative gifts and strengths. the topic was “providing young people with things to do”, mostly they are in school 9 til 3 and so the education side of filling their time is fairly well taken care of, if maybe not effective. outside of that it is helpful to have positive structure of a different nature to education but with similar outcomes in terms of social education, creative education and generally having fun, which surely is beneficial for young people and their communities both.

  3. Surely engaging them in music and maybe in writing lyrics is going to help them with literacy anyway isn’t it?

  4. Whilst I agree that music can be beneficial and a way for young to express themselves, my experience of such schemes is that the type of music encouraged and used is part of the problem. It is too often based around self obsession, aggression and casual sex.
    Whilst we have people who the young look up to constantly pushing these things down young people’s throats, we are going to continue with high crime rates, lack of respect and general breakdown in community.
    Simple as!

  5. My experience of such schemes is that the type of music is often chosen by the young people, and not as suggested ‘encouraged’ by workers.
    ‘Constantly pushing these things down young people’s throats’ whether it is rap or respectable opera, I would suggest is bad practice in youth work.The vast majority of youth workers would not behave in such a way! My experience of opera is that it too is often based around ‘self obsession’, ‘murder’ and ‘sex’, but I still enjoy listening to it! Helping young people understand the destructive nature of some music, I suggest will not be achieved by general disapproval.

  6. You know what? I’m afraid Boris might have a point. Although, personaly I think that basic maths and literacy should come out of the already vast Education budget and not the little bit that’s left over (and shrinking fast) for youth work.
    But, contrary to Pat, I do question some of the things that we (youth workers) do spend our money on and whether they really are ‘chosen by the young people’. More often than not I suspect they are suggested by 30-something youth workers, trying to recapture their own lost youth, and bought because the teenagers say ‘ok then’.
    Yes, young people use the equipment, but I wonder whether we favour some expressions over others and whether the emphasis on certain types of equipment really represent the diversity of youth cultures out there.

  7. Maybe Boris could persuade his old school, Eton, to give some of the £10,000 it gets from each of it’s students each term… incidentally Eton Charges £588 per student per term for 90mins music lessons a week… for that every student could have their own DJ rig/PA system each term!

  8. youth workers are not there to simply cater to the youth culture that exists but to shape youth culture at the grass roots. many young people would just like rap etc as an outlet/provided activity, but that doesn’t mean that that is simply what we give them. certainly the mainstream rap/hip-hop culture is very negative and promotes values that we don’t really want to see in young people [violence, self-interest, casual sex, disrespect] but that does not have to be the values promoted by activities run by youth workers.
    high youth crime rates and breakdown in community are a result of isolation and hostility between young people and adults, which is a two way street and certainly cannot be placed at the feet of young people, older folks or even celebrity rappers. the culture belongs to the community as a whole and we all have a responsibility for what it is and shaping it.

  9. Poor old Boris…yes we need to engage young people ‘where they are at’…but I don’t want to leave them there culturally any more than spiritually.
    I think he has a point because sometime the whole rap/trendy youth work model puts young people deeper into the culture they already relate to rather than providing them with new vision of other places they could be.

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