OkaY BoOmeR

Ageist slur or simple rebuttal?

By NicP for Tauchreisen Nautilus One - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11779625

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Garrett Neenan
Lafayette High School Senior Sean Long studying the anarchist cookbook to truly prepare for the Anti-Boomer Revolutio

Since the inception of human society, there has been a struggle of power between the older and younger generations of the time. While the old have been seen as wiser and more capable decision-makers, the younger generation has been responsible for progressing technology and ideas. Luckily for the younger generation throughout most of human history, people have died out around 40 or 50 years of age on average throughout history, and tensions have been kept to a low. Now, however, technology and civilization as a whole has progressed to the point where people are living upwards of 70-100 years–a great accomplishment indeed, but what does it mean for age-related tensions?

 

With 4 generations of people currently in the American workforce, there is a much larger conflict of ideas as to what is right and what is wrong, and how things should be done. Older generations, namely the Baby Boomers (1944-1964), are seen by their youthful counterparts as being ignorant rather than wise, having outdated ideals and morals. Younger generations such as Millennials (1981-1996) and the newly-appearing Generation Z, or Zoomers, are viewed by Boomers as being ignorant, characterized as being mentally ill and complainy. This divide has led to growing tensions between age groups who are unwilling to admit the error in their own ways.

The biggest conflict is caused by the Baby Boomer tendency to trivialize large issues with our present-day society, including, but not limited to Cost of Living, Cost of Higher Education, Minimum Wage, Problems with Large Corporations, Stress, widespread Mental Health Issues among the youth, Global Warming, Racism, Sexism, Gun Control, et cetera, et cetera. The general consensus among these younger generations is that those currently in charge of fixing these issues, politically or otherwise, don’t really care enough about posterity to do so.

Regardless of the age of the individual(s) requesting change, the typical Baby Boomer response is to call them a “kid” and dismiss anything they have to say. This treatment has fostered frustration among the younger generations, but out of the general “Respect Your Elders” outlook they have mostly refrained from rebutting.

Until now.

Fed up with being ignored, they have started to do the same to their seniors; Baby Boomers asking for or complaining about anything and everything nationwide are being met with the words, “Ok Boomer.”

These two words have caused massive outrage among Baby Boomers, who have since begun their counterattack by classifying “Ok Boomer” as an ageist slur meant to besmirch the name of their generation, previously a matter of pride.  The implication is that the Boomers have grown unable to lead civilization in the right direction.

Hilariously enough, depending on your viewpoint, they aren’t even really wrong; saying “Ok Boomer” is indeed a way to slander their name and cast doubt on their capabilities, but it isn’t any different than what they’ve been doing to the younger generations for years on end now. Lafayette High School Junior, Ethan Jenkins, says that “Us saying ‘Ok Boomer’ is the exact same as them saying ‘Get out of here kid,’ or ‘Go play with your toys,’ or ‘Come back when you’re older.’ The issue now is just that the ‘victims’ actually have the power to fight back.”

To add even more irony into the situation, the generation currently under attack is one whose primary claim to fame in their youth were the counterculture movements of the 60s. Those born from the American Baby Boom were known for rising up against what society had built around them and pursuing their own beliefs. Sexuality, Women’s Rights, Authority, and even Drug Use were high on the list of changes the Baby Boomers wished to bring about through the hippie movement alone, and yet when our current generations are now attempting to once again inspire change in our country, those who once lived and breathed on the high of revolution have become the primary opposition, stuck to their ways- just like their parents.

Garrett Neenan
High School Senior Nick Paxton-Turner, as seen directly before calling me a Boomer

The term “Boomer” has also come to mean more than just an age group. Being a Boomer at this point is much more about the individual’s state of mind, rather than their date of birth. The so-called “Boomer Mindset” of complete superiority to those around them, regardless of their actual position on the imaginary totem pole, has come to define those known as Boomers, further infuriating the actual generation being targeted. In many ways, the “Ok Boomer” uprising is nothing more than a rally against ignorance and elitism that has long plagued our country, and it brings all of us great amusement to watch these previously established towers crumble. When asked for his opinion on the matter, High School Senior Nick Paxton-Turner simply turned to me and said “Ok Boomer,” solidifying my position as one of those elite. It’s an honor to serve.