Opinion

Standing up for minority rights

With all the people who stand up for minority rights, it is surprising that there is no well-known action group that stands up for the rights of legal adults.

Yes that’s right, 18-20 year-olds, we need to stand up for ourselves.

I became painfully aware of my own predicament about a month ago, when I heard about a new pool hall located in Kendall. The new pool hall replaced Jillian’s, a long-time Miami hang out for the young and old. This new establishment requires that their pool players be 21 or older because they serve alcohol. I cannot see the logic in this. Jillian’s, which also had a bar, was not closed to adults between 18 and 20. In Kendall there is no city ordinance that requires Gatsby’s to prohibit under 21 patrons; it is the management of Gatsby’s that chooses to discriminate against age. Of course, it is understandable for management to card at the door because of the fact that they serve alcohol, but are they too lazy to put an armband on those who are 21, or are they just flat out discriminating against those who are not?

Another gross example of this discrimination is at Dave and Buster’s. Dave and Buster’s, renown for its interactive game simulators, great food, and world class pocket billiards and shuffleboards, refuses to change their 21-and- up-only policy. Those who are under 21 can come in unsupervised before 10 p.m. But you must be with an adult who is 25 or older so he can take responsibility for your actions. Last time I checked, anyone between the ages of 18-20 is legally responsible for his own actions. Still yet another example that limits the privileges of an adult is the power of the cruise lines to keep their passengers between the ages of 18-20 limited to guests of adults 25 and older or those who are legally married. If you do not fulfill this criterion, the cruise lines are not interested in your money.

Less than three months away from being 21, I am enraged by the idea that although I am a legal adult I am excluded from activities that do not include drinking; playing video games, shoot a game of pool, or even explore the Bahamas on a boat. The legal argument behind my reasoning is simply that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which states that a person cannot be discriminated against by race, color, religion, or national origin. That means any legal adult U.S. citizen is entitled to the same freedoms and privileges as any other citizen.

We all accept a 21 and over restriction because we do not realize we can do something about it. We do not give any consideration to the fact that our basic right to live our lives as we please is being denied. Some say once you turn 21 it does not matter anymore, and maybe that is the problem. Blacks, women, Hispanics, gays, and many others have fought the battle of discrimination for years. We waited so long to turn eighteen just to find out that we can not really even do anything yet. Our government says you can die for your country, but at the end of the day you can’t go out with the gang and grab a beer. For years we have just accepted their decision, now it is time to change it.

Denise Kolb is a sophomore majoring in criminology.

February 26, 2002

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.