“Okay, Boomer”

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

"Ok, boomer" is the hot new comeback when it comes to intergenerational strife--but is it really worth saying?

The contemporary differences between generations have become more apparent than ever, and connections between boomers, millennials, and Gen Z kids remain tenuous and filled with apprehension. Each generation is associated with a different mindset and generalized way of life. Politics have been weaponized to create a subset of divides between generations of potentially like-minded people. Many politicians will target specific age demographics with their campaigns, leading to a rift between the targetted and untargetted demographics. 

Perceptions of these different groups cause unnecessary conflict in a world already brimming with more than enough. In my experience both in the world and online, older generations often call out younger ones for being overly sensitive in their activism, despite the fact that they themselves grew up in a time equally plagued by social unrest. The ‘60s and ‘70s were a time of social reform and young people getting involved in politics, much like today. This kind of lack of self-awareness affects all generations. Gen Z often fails to realize the things we can learn from earlier generations, especially from their mistakes. Younger generations often fail to realize their influence on society as a whole. Boomers cannot recognize the similarities of the societal upheaval occurring right now to the upheaval they experienced. 

All of these perceptions lead to wholly unnecessary rifts in society. Without our tendency to throw people into a labeled box, we might actually have the capacity to learn from one another and work together to fix the actual issues we now face. Dismissing one another has become a trademark of our society. “OK, boomer” went viral after being said in New Zealand parliament, but we have been dismissing one another on the grounds of age for far too long. An easily applicable example is a dismissal of new terms and language. As well, younger generations dismiss their elders’ opinions–preemptively assuming that they are incapable of change–despite their potential to teach the generations that have come after them, while older generations have habitually flung the opinions of the young aside simply because of their perceived lack of experience. Knowledge comes from experience, but each generation brings its own perspective to the world and its own ever-changing list of issues to be solved. Throwing away the unnecessary stereotypes we have created for one another is the first step to actually making the changes necessary to better the world.