If you haven't seen at least one article criticizing millennials for "ruining" something that older generations seem to prize- from mayonnaise to Buffalo Wild Wings- you haven't been paying attention. With the growing popularity of articles blaming an entire generation for "ruining" things, many believe that millennials are effectively changing the world- but not for the better. Some claim that millennials are entitled, self-centered, and wholly unconcerned with what is truly important. They insist that both the millennial generation is to blame for taking the pinnacles of American living and power-washing them down the drain. Millennials are clearly changing the world, the only question is, is it for the better or for the worse?
Companies such as Postmates and Snapchat, which have eliminated the need to drive a vehicle in order to purchase food or see a friend, are increasingly popular. Much of the new technology that has been designed to improve and simplify our lives has also resulted in making them more online-focused. One claim made by critics of millennials is that our tech-heavy society is the criticized generation's "fault". A lack of human interaction, they claim, is prevalent among millennials, as social media apps are in heavy use. As written by Forbes, "According to the Snapchat Usage and Advertising 2017 report by eMarketer, more than 40.2 million users are ages 12 to 24, and those ages 18 to 34 were projected to make up close to 60% of Snapchat's total U.S. user base."
There is, however, aside to the millennial generation that many ignore.
With the 2016 Presidential election spawning a divisive politically charged national environment, much ado has been made of elections in the U.S. In response to such problems, the advocacy of the next generation has been uncovered. Hot button issues like gun control, feminism and sexual assault, and global warming have led to not only media coverage, but a rise in actually attempting to solve them. Yes, millennials have been labeled entitled and self-centered. However, their interest in advocacy revokes this.
The topic of gun control has proven to be a movement that millennials - specifically those in-between Generation Z and the Millennial generation, born between 1998 and 2000- have become advocates for. After the mass shooting in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17, a group of high schoolers received national media attention for appearing on television speaking out against the NRA and politicians who are funded by the organization. These same students then created an organization, March For Our Lives, to fight for gun laws in the U.S., and leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, registered teens and millennials, to vote. This year, due to organizations like March For Our Lives, voting rose astronomically. One of the areas in which voting soared in the 2018 Midterm election was in the younger generations, and according to ThinkProgress, "As the Center For Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) reported on the day after the midterm elections, voters between the ages of 18 and 29 turned out in their highest number of the past quarter-century."
With America becoming more ethnically and racially diverse, and the global population skyrocketing, millennials and Generation Z being more tolerant of people different from them is becoming a strength. According to Pew Research Center, "Younger Generations More Likely to Have Friends of a Different Race," and for "...a majority of millennials (54%) at least some of their friends are of a different race." With diversity among relationships comes diversity in opportunity, as Forbes writes "47 percent of millennials consider diversity and inclusion of a workplace in their job search, compared to just 37 percent of Baby Boomers and 33 percent of Gen Xers." In addition to valuing diversity in the workplace, diversity has been proven to enhance the workplace. As cited by Ozy, "A recent Harvard Business School Survey found that… businesses with a more gender-diverse board saw a 42 percent higher return in sales, 66 percent greater return on invested capital and a 53 percent higher return on equity."
For better or for worse, the future of the U.S. is up to the young crowd. Maybe some things need to be ruined in order for us to progress. Maybe some things, like the societal preference of technology over face-to-face interaction, need to be changed. Either way, millennials are more than Instagram filters and food-ordering apps, rather we are a generation of believers in the best version of our planet and nation, striving for change in the form of advocacy, and success due to diversity. And so, the world sits in the young, diverse, different, outspoken hands of the next generation. What they choose to do with it, we will see.