OK Boomer: A Long-Awaited Comeback

 Pictured here are baby boomers at a trademark boomer event, 
     WoodstockMusic Festival. (1969 by Ric Manning Woodstock-kids.jpg)

Pictured here are baby boomers at a trademark boomer event, WoodstockMusic Festival. (1969 by Ric Manning Woodstock-kids.jpg)

Macy Hanzlik-Barend, Staff Writer

Some view it as a Tik Tok reference, while one went so far as to coin it the “n-word of ageism.” These starkly different reactions to the phrase “OK boomer” have sparked more controversy than expected. 

Millennials and Generation Z have brought about the phrase “OK boomer” to use as a clap back when the older generation lacks an understanding of modern cultural changes. Frankly, it’s pretty similar to a teenager saying, “Mom, it’s 2019.” The underlying message is that times have changed and they need to catch up. 

Beyond that, this phrase is sometimes used to point the blame: Some Gen Z and millenials view their generational struggles as a consequence of baby boomers’ actions. Student debt, the ruined economy, declining infrastructure, and our spiraling climate, have seemingly been fueled by the irresponsibility of one generation; however, millennials, especially, have faced more backlash in their lifetimes.

As Sean Iling of Vox says, “Everyone likes to bash millennials. We’re spoiled, entitled, and hopelessly glued to our smartphones. We demand participation trophies, can’t find jobs, and live with our parents until we’re 30. You know the punchlines by now.” 

The generational shame has fallen onto millenials for years now and, from time to time, can be seen trickling down to Gen Z who are also deemed irresponsible and at fault for the struggle to find a job and inability to live on their own. However, many in these younger generations see this as a generational disadvantage that they have had no choice but to inherit. 

Baby boomers were born into wealth yet somehow passed on much less.  As author Bruce Gibney says, “They were born into great fortune and had a blast while they were on top. But what have they left behind?” 

Sure, boomers didn’t sit idly by for years. They can be credited for protesting the Vietnam War and sparking the Civil Rights Movement, but that serves as no justification for leaving the country in shambles. 

The new generations are seeing a collapse of their world’s climate and economy just as they are struggling to make their way in it. And although many deem OK boomer to be insensitive and offensive to their elders, maybe it is time for the world’s future inhabitants to fight back.