True to their name, baby boomers are acting like babies towards this new meme, by claiming the expression is a slur comparable to the n-word. To the Millennials and Generation Z-ers, the retort is a way for them to mock baby boomers’ harsh and unnecessary criticisms towards daily aspects of their lives. Despite the debate on the appropriateness of “Ok boomer,” the phrase, along with its purpose, encapsulates the generational conflict between the older and younger generations, and our staff feels its use is justified.
The baby boomers were born between the years of 1946 and 1964, during post-World War II and prosperity in the United States; on the other hand, our generation was born in a much different time, where we lack the affluence they’ve experienced. These generations are products of different eras and hence have different perspectives, experiences, and mindsets, yet boomers firmly remain unwilling to adapt and accept the changes our society is going through.
The conflict is that the baby boomers are failing to understand the circumstances of the younger generations. A prominent example is how college nowadays is far more expensive than it was in their day. Boomers maintain the opinion that the system they were raised with is still the same. They are appalled at how so many people today are in debt and choose to live with their parents as an adult. The older generation also loves to criticize the amount of time we spend online and on our phones, despite being Facebook’s largest demographic. However, the world today has evolved, and our lives are centered around technology, such as in academia and in the workplace. Phones are not only devices for leisure.
The argument against the meme is that the youth should respect the baby boomers because they are older. However, respect is something to be earned, and it goes both ways. Boomers should be giving younger generations the same amount of respect they hope to receive, yet they tend to constantly devalue our experiences and hardships. Associating age with respect is a common tradition in many cultures, but it is one that should come with exceptions. No one deserves to consistently take wrongful criticism.
There is potential for tension between the youth and baby boomers to be resolved. For example, the baby boomers can learn to empathize and sympathize with Millenials and Gen Z-ers. However, until then, younger generations have the right to speak out about their oppression, and if saying “Ok boomer” is how they choose to communicate not wanting to take unwarranted criticism, then it is completely rational to say so.