By Owen Terry
Contrary to popular belief, battles like that of the baby boomers vs. millennials are not new occurrences. Older generations have been hating on younger generations since the beginning of time. An article in the Hull Daily Mail from 1925 described their young generation as “grossly thoughtless, rude, and utterly selfish.” Aristotle even said that young people “think they know everything,” according to BBC. Younger generations are consistently accused of things that are generally unimportant or not necessarily true and are blamed for problems that they did not cause. They are over-generalized – millions of adolescents are characterized by the actions of a select few people who go viral on social media for doing something noteworthy and typically foolish. Recently, some teen- agers sparked a social media trend by eating Tide pods, and now the entirety of generation Z (loosely defined as people born in 2000 or later) is known as the Tide pod- eating generation. While a dislike or distrust of younger people seems to be human nature, it’s unhealthy and driven by an inability to accept differences and a fear of the future, which is why it must end.
Baby boomers (people in their mid-50’s and older) are notorious for finding something wrong with everything millennials do. Millennials are constantly called “lazy and entitled,” when in most cases “lazy” means “unwilling to do an unfair amount of work” and “entitled” means “expecting a reasonable amount of respect.” Baby boomers complain when millennials do something differently from the way it used to be done. They get mad at younger people for trying to be politically correct, to stay within the confines of their parents’ homes, or to constantly create new, confusing technology. Their accusations exceed rationality and move into absurdity: claiming millennials as being the sole reason the mayonnaise industry is dying, or of not listening to the “right kind” of music. It is a well-documented fact that millennials hate this type of abjection.
Despite knowing how it feels to be constantly attacked by an older generation, millennials have succumbed to this trend by passing on the same critiques to generation Z. They get annoyed at young kids for just enjoying things, or for having different belongings. I have seen millennials make fun of younger people for playing certain types of video games that they consider childish. Yet on the flip side, I have been called spoiled by people only a decade or two older than me for having a cell phone. They said that when they were 14 years old like me, they did not have anything as high-tech or expensive, ignoring the fact that cell phones are a necessary commodity in this day and age. Millennials also generalize teenagers as lazy, and typically try to distance themselves from younger people in an attempt to seem superior.
Even though this cycle of censure appears to be a part of human nature, it still can and should be stopped. It is detrimental to society, as it divides the population into groups that are pitted against each other. Every generation has different skills, and if they got along and worked together, those skills would be put to better use. The words of Principal Skinner of The Simpsons sum up the viewpoint of many people in older generations: “Am I so out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong.” In fact, the opposite is true. Due to an increase in worldwide communication brought upon us by the Information Age, young people are now more informed and accepting than ever. Instead of looking at other generations as enemies who obstruct us or clueless people who should do as we say, we should see them as fellow humans with uniqueness and differences who we can learn from.