I keep reading that other generations consider millennials sensitive. We are offended too easily and we try to "save the world" (that's really an insult). My answer is: the past generations, the ones complaining, raised us. In the past few generations, our grandparents and our parents began to suggest we pursue higher education instead of entering the workforce right out of high school as they did. Even though not all parents help us to pay for our education, some do in order to alleviate financial strain. We are taught that getting a college education will allow us to change the world. It is an achievement we should attain. That is why instead of allowing millennials to join the world of our parents' youth, where we played outside in our neighborhood on weekends, our parents ushered us to sports games, band camps, volunteer work, SAT prep classes, and a smattering of other extra-curricular activities. They would keep us from drinking, carousing, and messing up our college bound futures.
We are the future. Even as parents continue to push education, and perpetuate the idea that millennials can affect change, we are told our change is not wanted.
We live in a world affected (positively) by affirmative action, but colleges allowed caught campus culture to change with laws. Many are still white boys clubs. If we address the inability for women and minorities to network, we are too offended, and want a "pass to opportunity."
We live in a world where many of our friends are from the Middle East and from Latin America. If we bring up the fact that immigrants work harder than many Americans, that they hold similar beliefs to us and, god forbid, mention that not all Middle Easterners are Muslim or that not all Latinos are "Mexican illegals," we are told we care too much about "foreigners."
If we bring up the fact that student loan company practices and colleges have allowed tuition to inflate far higher than students' ability to pay, we are lazy.
All of these rebuttals from older Americans are... wrong. These are the issues we need to address and want to change. Millennials are living in a world that has politicized us in a way where we want to accept more diversity and also admit that the U.S. still functions on beliefs that benefit white men and help the rest of us unequally. As a millennial I want to level the playing field. We all do, and we actually have different ideas about how to do this.
If older generations didn't want us to build our own political ideas, they shouldn't have stressed education or told us to "change the world." The problem is that on a micro-level, one individual young person is "smart, witty, and hard-working." On a macro-level, we are conceited, lazy, and entitled. There can't be so many exceptions to a rule that every person can note a different person. We are a better generation than people give us credit for. I think the root of the problem is that in our teens, as millennials' personal lives were focused on getting into college, we never were able to hold an opinion. It scares our parents and grandparents that our opinions may dismantle systems and beliefs in America, even rail against the idea that our lives should progress as follows: graduate, get a job, marry, have kids, retire and play bridge. But they shaped our lifestyle in a way where we are done with institutions that restrict our happiness. We didn't even get to control our youth. It was too carefully plotted out since the second we were conceived.
Millennials are too sensitive, because we want to reclaim our lives. Stand up for what we believe in and stop listening to forces and institutions that have controlled us more in childhood than any other generation has ever been. We also want to see diversity and an end to hatred, bigotry and xenophobia created by Reagan-era conservative ideology. It's the only way to make the U.S. competitive again. Our institutions deserve our support and one day our elders will have to thank us for our contribution.
We are sensitive because we've finally have the opportunity to do so, and we want to follow our parents' advice: Be the change you wish to see in the world.