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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 15:46 GMT
My message to youth: Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson
Jackson attempted to run for US president in 1984 and 1988
As part of the Generation Next season, the BBC has been asking famous figures for their thoughts about childhood - both their own and what they think of young people now.

Here, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson gives his view.

Children learn how to forgive each other, redeem and move on - they do not hold grudges over long periods of time.

Adults tend to institutionalise their anger, and sometimes manoeuvre their anger and their hurt and their hate for political positioning. Youth never position themselves in that sense politically. And so young people have not learned how to hate.

And whether they're in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Britain or South Africa, they share clothes styles, athletic aspirations. They share dress, music and the internet, so they operate as if it is the world it ought to be.

MESSAGES TO YOUTH
Today, mass media has popularised war. We've almost become anaesthetised to war. We see so much killing on TV and in the mass media, we've learned to live with it - we've become anaesthetised to death.

When I was growing up you would see a lot of shootings in the movies, then World War II, ten years later the Korean War and ten years later the Vietnam War - but you didn't get a daily dose of it on TV every night, as you do now.

I also grew up living under the humiliation of racist apartheid laws in North America in the south of the country. A sign above the driver's head read: "Coloureds sit at the rear, whites sit at the front and those who violate will be punished by law."

We had separate water fountains and toilets and couldn't use public parks. I was arrested trying to use a public library.

And in that season, Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus one day, and Dr Martin Luther King Jr went to her rescue - and after one year of boycott, they began to break down the walls of legal apartheid in America.

I remember that event because later, fighting that same racist apartheid system shaped my life and my ministry, my life's work.

But my fondest memory from my childhood was with my mother and father. I loved them so much. My father's dead - my mother's still alive.

I guess the fondness would be the time I spent at home at the dinner table with my mother and father, or going to church with them.

Some of those memories are frozen, even though it's lost forever, but I find in those memories great joy.





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