The generational divide has become very clear. Lately, I have observed much more animosity expressed toward the Millennial generation. Here’s my thoughts.
I have always been curious about what my generation would become known for. In fact, during my freshman year at Concordia University, I wrote an article for the school’s newspaper about our generation. I even referred to ourselves as Generation-Y because the term “Millennial” hadn’t yet reached a status of universal understanding.
Recently, a friend of mine, who’s in his late 40’s, was complaining about my generation. He was cracking jokes and making statements that undermined our capabilities. After letting him go on for a moment, I quickly retorted, “Yes, but you raised us.”
This is my initial response to the complaints made by older generations. People complain about the Millennials being the generation that received Participation Trophies, and that we are the Me-Generation. But before you criticize, I must ask, who handed out those trophies? You were the ones telling us the world revolved around us. We were just following your lead.
And as we have followed your lead, we are now aware of where you led us. You have led us into a system of mass incarceration, racism, sexism, high-fructose corn syrup, and financial debt. So we have raised our voices against the systems that you created. And that makes you mad. While it keeps us hopeful.
What exactly are you criticizing? Our innate desire for justice and equality? Our passion to clean up the earthly messes that previous generations have caused? Are we lazy because we’ve been crippled by student debt and unable to find jobs? Which is only because we were taught that we must have education in order to have economic standing in order to be a respected citizen?
Now trust me, I can take a joke. Jokes are funny. Yay jokes.
But behind every joke and every sarcastic remark lies a truthful narrative that influences everyone’s perception of the world. So be careful, and listen to the jokes you are making and what that communicates.
I really have no problem when people do not share the same values that I share as a Millennial. For example, I have been eating a vegan diet for the past seven months, and that reality often causes an uproar of pettiness in others. It’s funny, most of my life I’ve been preparing for the persecution of being a Christian, but lately I’ve been persecuted by Christians for being vegan. I don’t mean to be dramatic in my allusion of vegan-jokes to that of Christian persecution, but there is a point to be made, nonetheless.
Again, though annoying, I can allow ignorance on matters to slide without it causing too much frustration within me. However, I do have an issue when people respond in an aggressive tone against the progressive ideologies that Millennials are often fighting for. To me, there are many beautiful characteristics of the Millennial Generation like inclusivity, authenticity, and progression which resemble a Christ-like nature.
But how god-awful those Millennials are who reintroduced artistry and craftsmanship into what had become industrialized commodities like coffee and beer. How stupid those Millennials are who actual turned the theory of human interconnectedness into a reality through the genius of social media.
And of course there are negative aspects to our generation. Like our lack of an ability to persevere. Or although we voted Blue, many of us still didn’t go out to vote in the first place. But we are aware of our issues.
We are aware that we “literally can’t even”, and we are aware that “student loans got me like”. Just look at our memes, listen to our music, we know our deficiencies. But as we head towards 2017, I wanted to offer a proud defense of my generation and proclaim that I love Millennials.
As I write this, CNN’s website is reporting a special about the problem of plastic waste and its effect to our oceans and its wildlife. You know who’s going to solve that problem? The Millennials.
That is why I love our generation. We are the generation that was told “You can change the world” and we are actually doing it. We’ll tell your grandchildren “You’re welcome”.