Please Stop Calling Me A Millennial

Please Stop Calling Me A Millennial

This one's for all my late 90's babies
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Millennials, or Generation Y, have a bad rep. They are depicted as a self-serving, vain and social media-crazed. While I know plenty of late-born millennials who are wonderful and caring people, I also know that these negative claims about millennials are not without base. The following message, however, is not for the millennials. This is for my generation – a group still so young but so proximate to Gen Y that we are more often than not shoved into a generational category to which we don’t belong. So this goes out to the young ones, next in line to change the world.

Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 1995, are more commonly referred to as millennials. Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2010, are not commonly referred to. As a member of Gen Z, Centennials as we are called, I am extremely annoyed when people call me the tail end of the millennial group because my generation is vastly different than the generation directly before me.

At this point, I feel it necessary to say that this is not for the members of my generation who are in elementary school. If you’re reading this and you are in elementary school, you’re too young to be on social media and you should put down the phone and go climb a tree or pick some dandelions or watch the latest episode of Doc McStuffins.

The main difference between my generation and the Millennials is this: I was five when 9/11 happened. I don’t remember where I was when I heard the news or even who told me. I know I was in kindergarten, but the first real memory I have of acknowledging 9/11 wasn’t until I was 10-years-old. Because I don’t remember 9/11, I certainly have no recollection of a time without warfare.

The other important historical aspect to note is that I was 11 when the stock market crashed and the Great Recession began. While I was certainly old enough to remember this event, I consequently spent all of my adolescence watching my parents budget and penny-pinch. Because of this I, alongside many other elders of my generation, have been taught pragmatism and the value of saving money.

Centennials so far have been observed to be more practical and realistic than other recent generations. Our whole lives have been centered on making it through hard times, working through pain and struggle to exit a situation in better shape than when we entered it. And for those who argue that Gen Z is filled with kids making stupid decisions and being irresponsible, I retort that most of my generation is currently made up of adolescents, and I dare you to show me one teenager who doesn’t do stupid things every once in a while.

When it comes down to it, millennials and Centennials are very different people. Centennials aren’t the types of people writing articles about how to quit your job and travel the world tomorrow. Instead, we’re the ones saying it’s okay not to have life figured out, because no one is complete and fully self-discovered at the age of twenty, but we know damn well that we have to work hard to get wherever it is we're going.

It is more than likely that one day, millennials and centennials alike will be the ones sitting around telling the captivating stories about their ceaseless adventures, and how things were “back in the day.” But for now, let us distinguish our generation. Let us have a shred of the spotlight, and we will show you what we're capable of.

Cover Image Credit: Kallie Ott

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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