Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Generationalism Has Got To Go

Even trying to be a positive graphic, this still
highlights the perceived differences in generations
Let's start with a simple statement: Generationalism is just another ism. Another generalization. And therefore it needs to stop.

In the modern age when things change from generation to generation, every generation has thought and will think that ones before are stodgy and unadaptive and the ones after are ungrateful and flighty. Every One. Just wait, if you are in the current generation, you will soon be in the same boat, lamenting the next generation's flaws. And older generations, we should know all this by now, having experienced the same from our predecessors.
The idea of generations is fairly new. I don't think talk of generations and differences really started until the modern, Industrial Age and beyond. Before that you could have decades, hundreds of years with little changing in people's experiences as a youth that mat have molded their adulthood. But now, the experiences of each generation truly have been different, with developing technology giving the next generation something their predecessors didn't have whether it be motor vehicles, radio, TV, cable, the internet, and so on.

When any generation makes general statements, usually in the negative, about others they are practicing bias, discrimination, about that set of people. Making a derogatory statement, nowadays usually some meme, about the other generations is of course can seem funny. But in the end its just another reason for us to be separate, create boundaries, and cause mistrust and hatred of each other for something the other can't control. Millenial bashing. OK Boomer statements and memes. People think they are standing up for their side, uniting under their group, but you are just being like those that came before. The oldest generation will always bemoan the negative changes they see in the younger, the newest generation will always make fun of the older ones for not keeping up. But its all hogwash, and it won't change until we make the change.

Of course some in each generation embody the stereotype, but we all know how stereotypes work for other groups whether race or nationality, income level, religion, political party, and so on. For a while it seemed like Millenials could break the mold, but in the end they couldn't help it. Their biggest complaint? That Baby Boomers, just 'Boomers', complain about them too much. Well, welcome to the neverending story. Their response, to complain about the complaining. Along came "OK, Boomer." This is typically a sarcastic deflection, a sort of "I can't even" response to a statement by someone older (not even necessarily a Baby Boomer), that is usually derogatory about the generation, or taken as about the person because of where they are at.

Admittedly, I am obviously not a Millenial or a Boomer. Most importantly out of that is I am not a Millenial, or Gen Z? which comes after Millenial. That means also admittedly that I am not part of the movement nor fully understand that. So go ahead and "OK, Boomer" me if you feel I don't get it, that there is a deeper meaning. Of course there are posts and articles justifying, philosophizing about, or at least attempting to explain it like this one at VOX. But to me it doesn't matter. It's still just another example of one generation demeaning another. Take the 'Boomer' out of it and just say what you mean, don't hide behind some generalized statement, a shared meme. It's OK to not be OK about another person, but it should be about them, that one individual, not about the group you place them in, whether their generation or some other classification.

Want to know what it reminds me of? Mansplaining. Each generation thinking they know and can explain something better, economics, social issues, whatever. Millenials and Gen Z, you want to really be different? Break the mold. Feel put down by Boomers? Instead of a cheeky response, just show them you are better. Boomers or Gen X, feeling intimidated by the savvy of younger generations? Ask them for help. As the saying goes "Why can't we all just get along?" or as Depeche Mode put it: "People are people so why should it be, You and I should get along so awfully?"

All generations need to stop making another reason to dislike someone for something they were simply born into.

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