Having raided the social science section at the library, I am reading a book called "Dis/connected. Why our kids are turning their backs one everything we thought we knew" by Nick Barham .
The author travels around talking to teens and trying to find out 'what makes them tick', have a look at the reviews in the link above for more description.
One of the things that I noticed reading it was my reaction to some of the activities described in the book, such as groups of 150 souped up cars gathering in a public car park with music blaring, or large groups of teens hanging around with Death message t-shirts on, drinking Vodka RedBulls. He talks about how some city centres have become no-go areas at night, and I'm thinking 'too bloody right, I don't want to be beaten up or vomited on thanks!'.
I realised how ingrained my middle-class-ness is by my automatic response, namely that many of the described situations would make me anxious or disapproving. At some points I felt anger towards the author for generalisations and suggesting that kids behaviour should never be threatening, when clearly sometimes it is. Then again, is that me jumping to my own defense, because does he actually suggest that? The book doesn't suggest everything these kids do is fine, and that we should all accept their behaviours as unproblematic, but it is trying to explain the reasoning behind it and does a good job of that.
Maybe it's not just that some of us have inbuilt prejudices caused by a) our upbringing and b) the media, though this is undoubtedly the case. Maybe some of it is fear of people who enjoy themselves in a different way to us, who get a kick out of doing things that are illegal (or borderline legal), who make people like me seem 'boring'.
Recently I seem to keep reminding myself of that phrase about "walking a mile in another man's* shoes", I guess we should all try to do that when we start judging others on their behaviours or attitudes, it's a good start at least.
*I refuse to change it to "person's" for the sake of political correctness!