Those arrested at yesterday’s violent events downtown are 24, 30, 28, and 23. That youngest one is just one year older than me. They’re young, but they don’t represent all youth. When events like this involve younger people, the public is quick to blame the “youth,” a monolithic group that simply doesn’t exist.

Those arrested at yesterday’s violent events downtown are 24, 30, 28, and 23. That youngest one is just one year older than me. They’re young, but they don’t represent all youth. When events like this involve younger people, the public is quick to blame the “youth,” a monolithic group that simply doesn’t exist.

So when describing yesterday’s events to others, don’t say that youth smashed windows and destroyed storefronts. This small anarchist offshoot doesn’t represent most of the people at demonstrations yesterday, most political activists, or the “youth.”

The youth are often talked about collectively, like they all share common thoughts; they don’t. These anarchists, members of the so-called “black bloc,” don’t represent anyone but themselves.

On campus at the University of Washington yesterday most were quick to disparage the incidents downtown. Indeed, far more students shop at American Apparel than wish to smash the windows of it.

As the police release more information about the ages and backgrounds of those arrested in connection with these violent acts, media should continue its coverage without grouping the entire youth population in with a herd of violent masked demonstrators and their destructive tendencies.

Alicia Halberg is a senior at the University of Washington and the spring editorial intern at The Seattle Times.