“High School Training Ground,” a Poem That Blasts the Destructive Nature of Our Teenage Years

Malcolm London’s stirring slam poetry performance at the 2013 TED Talks is a stirring and thoughtful exploration of the hardships of high school. “High School Training Ground” notes that teenagers are supposed to be “building themselves” during this time in their life, but it’s actually building up their insecurities instead.

London points out that the reason why so many teenage girls wear revealing clothing is because they’re pressured into doing so and they feel if they can be praised for their looks, then perhaps it will lessen the voice inside their heads that tells them they’re not “good enough.” He also talks about dealing with bullies, noting that many children from broken homes often act out and that although some of the tormentors can be quite cruel, deep down they are in dire need of a “hug” and a big dose of compassion.

Finally, London lambasts capitalism and rages that high school is a training ground. He adds that “honor students” are taught that they are better than the “regular” students and they are brainwashed into believing that it is a-okay to step on the peons.

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