In trying to make sense of what just happened, lots of people are taking mental shortcuts. Gross generalizations about groups—all Trump voters, all Democrats, all white guys in diners (Krugman)—are proliferating. It’s dehumanizing not to account for individual differences within groups. And yet, because we’re not up to the complexity of the moment, we succumb over and over again to simplistic mental placeholders. I do not want to be your mental placeholder for white, well educated, liberal Democrats. I want to be respected as an individual who sometimes parts ways with others who share my political affiliation. And because I want that, I assume you do too. I will try to remember that and refrain from assuming you are just like all the others in your respective groups.
The “Get Wrong” series is so popular, the Good Wife recently asked when I’m going to post on what she gets wrong. Since she’s a card carrying Baby Boomer, here’s some of what she gets wrong.
First, some context. Whether you’re aware of it or not, there’s a full-fledged generational cage match going on and the Millennials bring it via YouTube!
At first glance the vid appears to be light-hearted entertainment. In actuality, it’s poignant, hard-hitting social criticism. When it comes to generation gaps, Baby Boomers like me (I’m a tail ender) make two mistakes over and over and over.
Mistake 1—Based upon a few negative encounters with Millennials, we get so worked up, our brains shut down; consequently, we overgeneralize about all young adults. Here’s an idea Boomers, let’s stop starting sentences with “Millennials”. Any sentence that begins with the word “Millennials” is likely to be a gross and inaccurate generalization. Unless, of course, it’s “Millennials make some damn good videos.”
Mistake 2—Baby Boomers are lightening quick to say Millennials suck, and yet, take no responsibility for their alleged shortcomings. That’s the brilliance of the vid. Their flaws are the direct result of our parenting, teaching, coaching. Millennials didn’t suddenly appear out of the ether like the first invertebrates. Here’s another idea Boomers, let’s stop ripping the Millennials without explaining our culpability.