As the sun rises in the distance, you too prepare for the day. You look in the mirror and you see your green hair, tattooed arms and legs, and anchor-patterned shirt that goes well with your shorts. You pull out your iPhone and take a selfie that will get posted on Instagram and Facebook. Finally, you leave the house for classes and pick up Starbucks on the way for your morning caffeine rush.
If that describes you to a tee, that most likely means that you’re a millennial. You were born sometime between 1980-2000, although the stereotypes tend to include those younger than that. Millennials are often viewed as lazy, inconsiderate, needy, uncaring, and narcissistic by some of the older generations who arguably view themselves and their upbringing as superior. Why though? Are millennials truly so degenerate?
Those who say “yes” have been afflicted by what I like to think of as “back in my day” syndrome. These older men and women have picked clean the past and refuse to acknowledge that many of the problems they bemoan are older than they are. Teen pregnancy has not gone up any. Teens are as self-absorbed now as they were in decades past. The biggest difference is in the technological advancements that have the ability to highlight these issues and give voice to those who had none before. Where it once took days to receive correspondence and news, now we have it instantly. Through social medias we can spread our opinions to others whether they like it or not.
The bottom line when it comes down to the older generations’ frustration is that nobody likes change, and no one brings change more than youths. When I say nobody likes change, that also applies to the youths to a certain extent. Don’t lie, how many of you have openly cried out when Facebook or any other website changes its layout. Either way, modern technology comes into play once more since it gives the ability for rapid change. The exchange of ideas and arguments across the internet has allowed for people to become closer to each other than ever. This closeness expands an individual’s community beyond the neighborhood and allows an almost global community to form with everyone watching each other’s backs.
This is good because tolerance is bred in environments such as these and through tolerance we are able to reach acceptance. Yet there are inevitable consequences. These advances in society, even if they are for good, are changes that have the ability to make older generations uncomfortable. They are unable to look beyond the differences between millennials and themselves and with their rose-tinted spectacles assume that these differences are bad. The first instinct then is to lash out at these differences, further pushing millennials away. A YouTube video by Micah Tyler best exemplifies this.
The ramifications of these feelings are sometimes more dangerous than they appear at first glance as evidenced by our elections this year. Donald Trump’s slogan is “Make America Great Again”, which complies with the belief that America has become worse than it was before. The most that millennials can do then, is try their best to show that this is not the case. Millennials are quickly assuming the mantle, and when this happens it’s almost certain that for better or worse there will be change.