Staff Editorial: Let’s Move Past ‘OK, Boomer’

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Throughout the month of November, the phrase “OK, Boomer” was everywhere. A retort meant to dismiss biased remarks from older generations, these two words became a rallying cry for teens. Overnight, the phrase trended across social media platforms like TikTok and twitter, becoming  an internet phenomenon. 

The New York Times called the phrase “the end of friendly generational relations.” Internet trolls called it a slur. Whatever “OK, Boomer” was, it was short lived. By the time the Fox network pitched a TV show with the same title in late November, the internet had already moved on.

While the “OK, Boomer” trend may have died in a matter of weeks, it also brought up an interesting debate about the accuracy of those internet claims: Is it really true that disagreements between generations in 2019 have permanently ended any possibility of peaceful discourse?

Afterall, there is no doubt that Millenials and Gen Zers are growing up in a different world that their Baby Boomer counterparts. Everything–from dating, education, career paths, even how people communicate– in the modern world resembles very little of the 60s and 70s era America that most Baby Boomers spent their teen years in.

On one hand, it makes sense that Baby Boomers see Millennials as immature and lacking social abilities. Fifty years ago, the average American was married in their early twenties. Today, the average age for Millennials to get married is closer to 30. Furthermore, 2014 marked the first time in 130 years that adults aged 18 to 34 were more likely to be living in their parents’ homes than with a partner.

However, these societal shifts are the culmination of decades of subtle changes, not the fault of one age group. It’s unfair to criticize an entire generation of young people for variables outside of our control.

Even many changes over the past 50 years occurred due to the development of technology. To Millienals and Gen Zers who only know life connected to the internet, it’s difficult to understand how websites, texting, and social media transformed every aspect of society. 

However, Just because the world changed, doesn’t mean that the Millenial and Gen Z lifestyles are any less valid than those of any other generations.

Yes, Baby Boomers and younger generations are different. That said, it’s time for everyone to learn to move beyond it. “OK, Boomer” creates an invisible divide between generations that is both unnecessary and unproductive. Instead of trying to tear others down with “OK, Boomer,” we all should take the opportunity to examine our own shortcomings and work together.