Ugliness of Intergenerational Hate

Candice eetimesFor generations, we’ve seen snarky attitudes and unwarranted over generalizations expressed about different birth cohorts.   One can hear comments in film from the 1930’s about, “kids now days” and the young adults of the ’50’s talking about “squares”.  But lately, I’ve seen it boil over to the point where one sees calumny openly published in what many would consider main stream publications as regular fare.  The ugliness has gotten to the point where insouciant youth use the term “boomer” as a slur amongst themselves.

In one example written by Vrabel, he tells us that Baby Boomers were responsible for the McCarthy Era.  Never mind that the oldest ‘boomers were in elementary school at the time!  Then goes on to blame ‘boomers for ruining the economy.  Never mind that they too were badly hurt by economic downturns.  And it’s not like such downturns were invented by ‘boomers, as though they had never occured before.  This is followed by a list of “advice” the author attributes to ‘boomers that can only be described as deliberate strawmen, as it was the boomer generation that decried some of them first decades ago, and at least one of them is a distortion of ‘boomers pointing out that parents might want to go back to the “free range” childhood that we (yes I’m a ‘boomer) had the privilege of experiencing and that cutting edge millennials are once again adopting.

How many times have we heard lately that ‘boomers should make way younger people.  As though we have hung onto jobs too long.  Never mind that far too many ‘boomers don’t have enough to retire on.  We hear complaints about how ‘boomer politicians are holding onto political power and not making way for younger people.  Never mind that WWII vets held political power from just after the war until very recently.  In fact, even now, twenty-three of the one hundred senators currently serving are OLDER than the oldest ‘boomers.  If young people want to blame anyone for our political troubles that we have ALL suffered under, blame them, not us.  But even then, that’s not a fair indictment.  Politics is complicated.

How many times have we heard that millennials are lazy, entitled, and spend all of their money on stuff they don’t need?  While, in truth, some of this generation carries a student debt load that crushes all their dreams of home and family, while cheerfully working low wage jobs?

I have a very simple test I use to determine if something is ugly and hateful.  If the group being commented upon are substituted with another group to which we would recognize the unfair characterizations, we can see it for the hateful lies they are.  For example, if we were to replace “baby boomers” with “Jews”… or “millennials” with “blacks” would we then recognize how ugly and hatefully false these statements are?  Try it out on the linked essays.

If these same essays had actually been written about Jews or Blacks, there would have those who would rightly point out the unwarranted hate and push to have them censured (if not censored).  We would point out how such hate has led to discrimination and tragedy.  So why do we tolerate it between generations?

Examples of Hateful Articles & Books:

“The Terrible Parenting Advice Baby Boomers Need to Stop Telling Us” by Jeff Vrabel, Fatherly (2019)

Examples of those asking for the ugly war of words to end:

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