Updated on November 26, 2016
Updated on November 26, 2016
People think millennials are too fragile and easily offended. They say we are entitled and self-absorbed. I disagree with that idea entirely. Millennials are sick of the stuff this world tries to force us to accept. We’re more civic minded than all other generations alive except the G.I. Generation. We are optimists fighting for the good of all, not just the individual. We’re listening to the progress in psychological studies that say trauma is a bigger issue than past generations admitted.
They swept under the rug that which we want to bring into the light. Racism and sexism are still very real. Previous generations dug under the first few layers and we have found these deeper layers of the same issues, but they look different. Microaggressions are an issue. For example, you don’t touch a black person’s hair or assume a woman needs help carrying a heavy object.
A microaggression is something on the surface that seems like “not a big deal” but actually shows there is a lack of equality. They are every day insults and demeaning messages. These subtle words and behaviors keep alive and reinforce racism and sexism in a way that slips under our radar. Most millennials hate microaggressions. When we call it out, it is “whining” or we’re “too sensitive”.
I get it. The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers grew up in a time of extreme legal segregation and sexism. They made efforts to make the world a better place and largely succeeded. The issue on the table is we still have a long way to go. No one would deny things have improved. They have. But when has America ever been about stopping with mediocre? When have we ever said “eh” to the things that matter in life?
I would argue it is in the American DNA to be an activist. We all have a strong sense of justice. Each individual’s sense of wrong may not line up with the people surrounding you. But we care about those without a voice, those without rights or agency, and stand up for them.
Why is it so surprising your children would follow in your activist footsteps? We’re taking society that next step. It is necessary for the furthering of equality, justice, and freedom! It doesn’t mean the steps before us aren’t important. I haven’t met many of my generation who would decry the progress of our parents and grandparents.
Things are better, but not best. It is my hope my future children would build upon my accomplishments and all I give them. It is my hope the generations that come after ours further our steps toward that perfect world. I think this is a vital part of our society.
We have inherited a house from our parents and want to build upon their foundation by finally putting in some nice windows and doors. That’s all this is, only on a large societal level. (Notice the civic minded attitude. There will be more on that in Part 2 of my Millennial series.) I honestly want to know why so many of the older generations want us to stop moving forward.
Millennials get crap for it. We get crap for busting out that weird wall to open up the space in our house or adding on a whole new addition. We get crap for taking down those old banisters and trim moldings to improve not only the look but drafty cracks in the house. And we get crap for seeing that maybe the foundation is compromised by termites and needs rebuilt to last another century or two. (Enough house renovation metaphors.)
We have issues. Every generation has issues, even the Greatest Generation had issues. Issues will always arise in our broken world. I’m not denying our issues. But please consider the things Millennials fight for may not silly thoughts to be dismissed.
We’re not whining entitled babies (though they do exist). We’re not overly emotional or weak. “Suck it up” has been proven to not work. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is impossible for victims of trauma without professional help. Current psychological advancements (which we are reading) have obliterated the ideas of “stop whining”, “get over it”, and “don’t be a cry baby”.
We get that is what you grew up thinking. Millennials are learning to think differently in hopes of a better life, society, and world. We want that new addition and sturdy foundation.
Think my view on Millennials is wrong and I’m just whining about everyone hating us? That’s okay. I humbly ask you to stick around. My next blog post will dive into generational studies and the Millennial generation’s future.