The Problem With Naming Generations

The Problem With Naming Generations

Calling me a "Millennial" can make you hate me without even knowing me.
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There are hundreds of articles titles "Millennials are..." or "Why the Baby Boomers Were the Best Generation." All of them appeal to a specific audience though no more popular than the call to denounce a group because they are 'different' than yourself. As a 21-year-old, I am considered a millennial and I'm proud of that. I grew up with jump ropes and chalk and using my imagination to entertain myself all day. But I also had a GameBoy, I religiously watched Saturday morning cartoons and was familiar with an assortment of other electronics.

Because my birthday falls between 1980-1996, I'm lumped into a group with all other Americans born during this time. I'm considered to be "innovative" and "good with technology" but I'm also "lazy" and "entitled." I'm "disillusioned" because apparently I grew up thinking I was better than everyone else, which makes me stereotyped into specific categories when in actuality I'm of the first generation that is projected to make significantly less than the previous (which includes our parents). Most of the older generations assume I am Democratic and liberal (which to be fair, I am, but that's not because of the year I was born in...). They think that I have no idea what the value of a dollar is and that I'm selfish and only concerned with studying during the week, partying on the weekend.

All of these things that I've pointed out could be true for some people, but they're not restricted to age or 'generation.' They somehow have persisted into our cultural assumptions of people and we use them to limit others, to explain our own actions or failures, and worst of all, we use them divisively. We use them to plainly state: "You are different from me, therefore you are worse that me."

This is a huge problem in our culture because now, as in all previously trying times, we should be thinking less about ourselves as different, and more as the same. The environment is falling apart and very few people care or realize it. The United States has been at war since I was in kindergarten and it has become so normalized that we even forget it's still happening. Minimum wages are not sufficient to support a healthy lifestyle and there doesn't seem to be a good way of solving that issue. We have a presidential candidate who is running his campaign on fear and hate. These are huge issues and instead of uniting us, they are setting us at even more odds.

I recently read an article that talked about "Generation Z," which is composed of young people and children born after 1995. The article described how they are better than Millennials (who have apparently been a part of the workforce 'forever' now when in actuality, I am still in college and have yet to be of legal age to vote in a presidential election...) because they have been born into technological advancements that seem commonplace to them, a culture of acceptance (LGBTQ movements, feminism, etc.) and that they are bursting with untapped potential because they are yet to go to college or enter the workforce. Again, these may be true. But some "Generation Z-ers" are still in elementary school. How is it even possible to tell six-year-olds who have just learned how to read and think for themselves that they embody these characteristics? It isn't.

Instead, labeling differently aged people like this only causes divisive rifts between them. "Baby Boomers," the generation born after World War II feel entitled to call "Millennials" lazy because they have been raised differently than them. While the older generation may have trouble with computers and resent their infiltration into the workplace, younger generations had no trouble incorporating them into their daily lifestyles, let alone workplace. "Generation X," which loosely has birth dates falling between 1960-1980, may feel like their rights are viewed as lesser than the generations before them who they think had more simplistic work lives and better access to the "American Dream." Or perhaps they feel that they are better than others because some of them are nearing retirement or are comfortable in their career, unphased by the economic upheaval that will heavily affect the young people of this nation.

All of these factors allow people to dehumanize older or younger generations to an extent. If you don't believe, check out an article about "Millennials" and look at the comments section. People on both sides get pretty heated about this idea. Whether you agree or disagree with me, it's obvious that treating people poorly because of when they were born (something they had absolutely no control over) is unacceptable and small-minded. But somehow, it's a trap that many of us fall into, myself included.

I'm not asking you to dismiss the concept of naming generations. It's already happened and more than likely, it will continue to persist in our culture as a result of its obsession with naming and understanding everything. Instead, I'm simply asking you to think about your grandfather, classmate, niece, uncle, friend from work, professor, or anyone who is important to you before you classify them as "this" or "that" just because of what media and popular opinions tell you to do. While I will probably continue to smile at memes about generational naming, I'll take it with a grain of salt. You should, too because you are intelligent and have a brain.

Use it.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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