Generational rifts, they happen. But the divide seems to be more than ever right now. Politically, younger people are getting involved, businesses are being started by younger people, social media is creating movement upon movement and newer voices are becoming louder.
Being spoken to condescendingly has been the norm for Gen Z and Millennials over the past few years. These generations are being portrayed as entitled and lazy, not being able to handle the seemingly easier lifestyle they have in comparison to their parents. But, as Gen Z has begun to enter into the adult world, they are realizing that all the blame isn’t necessarily on them. The current political climate, the literal climate, social issues, financial struggles, crowded workforces, the growing strain on the healthcare system, these are all things that are being handed over to the next generation from the ailing hands of the Baby Boomers.
Gen Z is tired of having their concerns dismissed. Technology is on the rise and the sharing of knowledge and information is extremely easy. Staying informed, at least for the younger crowd, is simple and intuitive. While it is true that they will never know the struggles that their parents did, they’re dealing with a whole new monster.
“When I was in college my summer job paid for my tuition, you need to work harder”
“I was moved out and decently into my career but the time I was your age”
“People today are just more sensitive, stop using your mental health to get out of things”
New Zealand MP Chloe Swarbrick, 25, mentioned her age during her speech about climate change, which made her fellow members of parliament furrow their brows, and begin whispering to each other. Her response to this somewhat rude outburst? “Ok Boomer”
Urban Dictionary explains the phrase as being used against outdated ideals or blatant misinformation coming from a Baby Boomer. Whoever is saying “ok boomer” that deconstructing the viewpoint and arguing their stance would be futile, not even knowing where to start the explanation from. Baby Boomers are offended by it because they feel it’s disrespectful. Well, Plot twist: It’s meant to be condescending.
Disregarding someone’s opinion because of their age is wrong, yet “lack of life experience” is often used against younger individuals. Swarbrick’s witty retort turned the table.
After years of being written off because of their age, Gen Z is countering back with the notion that the baby boomers are out of touch with the reality. After the constant dismissal of their fears about the climate, minimum wage, health care and social equality, Gen Z are now on the same adult playing field. A generation of informed, tech-savvy teenagers are now full on members of society, just like the people who once ignored them.
Is this angst? Totally. But is it valid? Are these a bunch of entitled kids who just want to disrespect authority, or are they bringing up a legitimate flaw in the thought process of their elders?