Column: Millennial hate stems from fear of technology
Millennials grow up, and Baby Boomers die. That’s just how the world works at the moment. At least until 2050, when it will be the Millennials’ turn to die and time for Generation Z — or as I like to call them, the Space People — to move society forward.
As we all continue our inexorable march to the grave, tensions inevitably rise between generations, nowadays more than ever. Baby Boomers think Millennials are a bunch of lazy and entitled communists, and Millennials think Baby Boomers are a bunch of lazy and entitled fascists.
This speaks to the truth of the matter: every older generation is afraid of being replaced, and every younger generation is afraid of being held back.
In reality, neither fear really holds up. Pew Research Center studies indicate that Boomers use technology at a rate of about 80 percent compared to Millennials’ 93 percent (who the hell are those other 7 percent of Millennials, anyway?), meaning that Boomers adapt to technology and integrate it into their lives with nearly the same efficiency as Millenials, and are thus not necessarily on the chopping block to be replaced in today’s high-tech workforce.
Millenials do have to put up with the frustrating combination of Boomers and The Silent Generation — if only that name held true — whose voting power leads to the likes of near-humans like Sam Brownback and Doug Ducey remaining in office. It’s clear that this advantage loses its potency at the national level however; Millenials decided the last two presidential elections, and they’re well on their way to doing the same this November.
If anything, Millennials can take solace in the fact that all they have to do is wait for those old fascists to die, with the proof being in the pudding: the Millennial population officially surpassed Boomers last year.
Competition grows tiresome, however. Can we not agree that we should take care of both the young and the old? Apparently not, but in reality that’s not even a realistic dichotomy.
Boomers aren’t really that old; anyone over 65 is technically Silent Generation and anyone over 74 belongs to the GI Generation, “The Greatest Generation.” Milennials aren’t necessarily all that young, either; the oldest are currently 34.
There’s a fair amount of shaming to go toward anyone from either group who is too ready to dismiss the other. After all, Millennials owe much to Boomers, but the flip side of that coin is that Boomers must shoulder at least some of the blame for perceived Millennial shortcomings.
It’s a very human tendency to over-emphasize the role of any generation in human progress. The lines are hardly so clearly drawn. The aforementioned Greatest Generation, for example, certainly deserves respect for their wartime sacrifices. Conversely, they’re also the generation that maintained segregation, slighted women and stigmatized the mentally ill.
Both Millennials and Boomers may take pride in being the shepherds of the most socially conscious, technologically advanced and accomplished civilization the planet has ever seen. Rather than playing the respective roles of petulant child and condescending grandparent, Millennials and the Baby Boomers might benefit from renewed respect and a desire to see both generations remain relevant and productive as they progress into their twilight years.
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