THE ageist term, “OK Boomer” has become the catchphrase of 2019. It is meant to mock the Baby Boomer generation (1944-1971) for having caused most of the problems in the world today such as climate change, financial and gender inequality, and race and migration intolerance. This is nothing new, really. Each generation always blames the previous one for the societal ills that confront them.
While the Silent Generation (1928–1945), who saw the horrors of World War II as well as the reconstruction and progress that followed, took a conservative view of the world, the Boomers early on rebelled through music (Rock ‘n Roll) and the hippie movement, and became fixated on television, while revolutionizing the use of computers.
Generation Z (1965-1980), often referred to as the MTV generation, idolized Michael Jackson and company while discovering punk and grunge music, were initiated into the digital age with the accessibility of personal computers.
Gen Y or the Millennials (1981-1986), as with the succeeding Generation Z (1987-present) are mostly attached to social media, dependent on the internet for information and are digital-savvy.
As such, they seem to be more informed about the world (and its problems) than, maybe, what is happening in their backyard or the community they live in.
So why the term “OK Boomer”? It can be attributed to “generation gap” where one generation has a different view from the other, of the world, of politics, of norms and values. It could best be illustrated when conservative America mocked Elvis when he started popularizing rock ‘n roll which they called the “devil’s music.” More recently, the frank, which others would say disrespectful, speech of Greta Thunberg addressing a panel in the United Nations, where she said, “...you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”
The term “OK Boomer” is simply an updated version of Free Speech Movement advocate Jack Weinberg’s angry response to a series of questions by a mature reporter in November 1964: “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
We live in an imperfect world. Yet, each generation takes pride in trying to improve from the previous.
There may be blockages and stumbles along the way; but the good will always prevail. Instead of finger-pointing on who is to blame for the woes of the world today; we might as well, celebrate our victories and achievements; and work together as one in resolving those problems that continue to threaten humanity.
If I may, let us erase the divisive, “OK Boomer” from our vocabulary. Instead, we can raise our voices to a unifying slogan, “‘Gether people” as in “Together people, we can do this.”