The exact age demarcation for the millennial generation is somewhat ambiguous. Some demographers consider millennials as those who were born between early ’80s and late ‘90s, and others extend or shorten the year range. There are, however, less disputable ways in defining this generation. If you have been told that you are entitled, coddled or that you don’t have to work as hard as your parents’ generation did, you are most likely a millennial. I am a millennial, and I feel compelled to mend this generational gap that exists (and becomes more apparent over Thanksgiving dinner) by addressing some of the things that are commonly said about us.
1. Millennials are always angry.
We’re not angry — we’re just tired of waiting for the “Gilmore Girls” revival. But really, we’re probably a little grumpy when you see us because we are working more hours than the older generation did, and yet,
we still can’t afford to buy our own house or car. Conventional wisdom tells us that to have a good life, one must work hard, go to college and get a nice job. But what this doesn’t tell you is that student loan debt has been increasing exponentially since 1990, the minimum wage has been stagnating and although the unemployment rate is at 4.9 percent, the rate for those between 16 and 19 years old is still at 16 percent.
2. Millennials have coddled minds.
OK, we probably shouldn’t get that offended when you ask us what Snapchat is, but when we call for the protection of safe spaces and the use of trigger warnings on campus, we don’t do it because we’re afraid of getting offended by different ideologies. We simply ask that a learning environment be both inclusive and respected. Contrary to the claim that safe spaces and trigger warnings limit free speech, they actually promote a freer exchange of ideas because more individuals are able to engage in discussions and contribute their opinions. Racism in this country is deep-seeded, and no one can truly understand how detrimental aggressions and intimidations can be unless they experience these themselves.
3. Millennials are the least patriotic generation.
Although fewer millennials think that America is the greatest country in the world, this does not mean that we do not value this country as much as the older generations. Having lived and witnessed the ramifications of two great wars, millennials become more wary of the government’s policies. If millennials really are lacking in patriotism, we probably would’ve let this country descend further into this madness involving power play. However, studies have shown that millennials are driven by civic values. We constantly strive to bring about change not just through our work and activism, but also through the choices that we make in our daily lives.