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Intergenerational Conflict

I think it’s pretty amusing and crazy how Boomers, and Gen Xers to a lesser extent, are so snarky towards young people. They love saying that Millennials and Zoomers etc are so spoiled/they don’t know how to use less-complex technology as well as their generation (rotary phones, paper maps, phonebooks, reading analogue clocks etc), sometimes even demeaning them for not needing to learn how to use said items. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it always the goal to help improve the living conditions of your society? Why would you not want the coming generations to grow up in a more developed country with a higher standard of living? Even hundreds of years ago I bet the adults wanted to work hard and create a more prosperous country so their kids didn’t have to break their backs working like their parents did. Regarding social issues: it was the Boomers who encouraged segregation to stop and mass third-world immigration to begin, thus allowing racial tensions to heighten further to where they are today, it was their generation that spearheaded the gay liberation movement, it was them who heralded in this consumer culture, not us. Things weren't perfect back when they were growing up, but the problems we're facing today were much easier to solve then than they are now. Sure, the changes we saw happening then and now were and are probably detested by the Baby Boomers, and they didn't see those changes being so impactful, but they didn't offer anything better in its place that would fix those issues. Boomers will post snarky Facebook statuses in all caps ragging on young people, while they are sitting in their lounge chair next to their Asian wife and with their laptop resting on their rotund beer belly, in their 4 bedroom house with a big backyard that they quickly paid off because it wasn't as expensive back then. Meanwhile, we’re stuck either still living at home, living in apartments or struggling to pay the exorbitant rent fees because the price of living keeps rising. And no, it’s not because we spend all our money on avocados; at least the food we eat won’t give us heart disease and cancers. They enjoy poking fun at vegans and vegetarians, but it is our generations who have been a driving force in spreading the environmental message with our memes, #TeamTrees being the latest example. All this comes to a head with two simple words: “ok, boomer”. Never have two words had such grip and power to them that it causes a generation to throw a tantrum. After all these years of them demeaning us, the time has come that we would inevitably push back through our witty and cutting humour. This meme came about through the drastic societal changes of the post-World War Two period, spurred on by technological progress, social relations changing, political polarisation and general stereotypes.

Lorenz (2019) writes about Generation Z's short end of the stick: "“Gen Z is going to be the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before them,” said Joshua Citarella, 32, a researcher who studies online communities. Teenagers today find themselves, he said, with “three major crises all coming to a head at the Gen Z moment."” Furthermore, Baby Boomers admit to causing these problems, which is a start. Admittedly, this isn’t an ideal situation to find your country in. The solution lies in opening that intergenerational dialogue and being honest with each other. Perhaps this is a way of sparking a dialogue. Will anything productive come from such a dialogue? Maybe. One thing is for sure, both sides have their reservations and can get passionate about the problems they have with each other. I am hoping that relations will improve, but given the massive differences they both have with each other, and the different cultures they grew up embracing, I'm not holding my breath.

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