“You’re only 21? Wow, you don’t act your age!”
“Millennials are so entitled and lazy.”
“She is really showing her age by how she confrontational she is being with the situation.”
These are just a few things I have heard friends, family or the general public say about “my generation” or people my age. These are also just a few sentences that aggravate me to no end.
I don’t tend to share controversial or negative posts on the blog, but I think it’s time to get serious about something that actually really bothers me.
Prejudice or discrimination on the basis of someone’s age.
When the term was coined in the 1960’s, it referred to a socially constructed way of thinking about older persons based on negative attitudes and stereotyping. Now, though, I think the term can apply to the younger generation being discriminated against more than anything.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about Millennials and Generation X and about how they behave. Hardly any of these opinions seem to be positive.
The general consensus is that these generations are lazy, entitled, spoiled and selfish.
It disgusts me that someone can have one singular opinion about a generation of about 100 million people. People should not be defined by their age or generation group anymore than they should be defined by their skin colour or gender. It is not fair or just to make such a broad assumption about such a large group.
One of my least favourite lines of all time is often spoken after someone (often years older than me) (and often self diagnosed the wisest person in the world) rants about how awful people my age are and how lazy my generation is. This line is:
“Oh, but not you, though.”
I’m sorry… The entire point of your rant about my generation and my age group was to identify that a whole, large body of people share singular characteristics amongst ourselves and all will make the world a worse off place in the end. BUT, somehow I’m different. Is it because I am actually an individual person with my own traits, characteristics and tendencies?
If so, then is it so hard to believe that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t fair to judge an entire group of millions of people by certain traits some people who happen to be my age display?
I always want to say to these people when they are in the middle of their rants… Who do you think raised this generation? YOUR generation. So would it be fair for me to start ranting to you and others your age about how awful you are as teachers, how you are negligent in parenting and being role models? How you are incompetent because you couldn’t demonstrate good behaviour to the generation that came after you? No, it wouldn’t. Because there are only a select few from the millions of people in your generation that actually display those characteristics. So it wouldn’t be fair for me to group everyone your age into that umbrella, just because you are all in the same generation.
But, of course, you can’t reply this way. Because it is usually your Great Uncle or distant Aunt that you see once every few years that make these comments and you just need to smile and nod and take the “compliment” of ‘oh, not you, though!’.
So, instead, you write a blog about it.
I’m not trying to make anyone mad through this post. I am just trying to hopefully enlighten you, as my readers, to how your words and assumptions and groupings can hurt the feelings and confidence of those you are stereotyping, even if you don’t realize you’re stereotyping them.
My generation is not lazy. My generation is not entitled. My generation is not selfish. My generation is not full of it with their “mental illness excuses” (yes, someone did say this to me).
My generation is full of individuals who all have their own characteristics, quirks and traits that make them unique.
Just like any other generation before us, and after us.
So please, stop trying to group us all in together and being ageist with unjust stereotypes!
Until next time,