Why do people tell me ok boomers
Discussion about "OK Boomers": Will Baby Boomers and Generation Z Ever Make Peace Again?
"OK, Boomer" - the phrase coined by Generation Z (now also called Zoomers) on TikTok has long since ceased to be an online phenomenon, but has recently become part of our modern pop culture (the "New York Times") just wrote in an article that the slogan heralds the end of ordinary "friendly intergenerational relationships"). Despite (or perhaps because of) all the "Boomer" journalists and "Zoomer" Twitter users who debate from both points of view, politicians who interfere, a hit on Soundcloud and official merchandise, it is inevitable that the Hype around the meme is slowly subsiding.
So while the phenomenon is slowly losing its relevance and the Internet is already preparing for the next big "moment", the question remains how the tense relationship between baby boomers and Generation Z will develop now - and whether we are really close to a "war" of the generations.
OK, Boomer - have a terrible day!
Review: In early November 2019, a controversial TikTok video was uploaded. The clip features a gray-haired man - most likely a baby boomer (born between 1946 and 1964) - explaining that "Millennials and Generation Z have Peter Pan Syndrome" and "never want to grow up". On a split screen next to him, a member of Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015) silently holds up a notepad that reads: "OK Boomer." It wasn't long before the phrase went viral and countless imitations of the video flooded the internet. The hashtag #OKBoomer has been used more than 732 million times since November 14th. In addition, more than 2000 official hoodies were sold for 34.99 US dollars each, printed with the slogan: "OK Boomer, have a terrible day".
Disagreements between age groups are nothing new - since the beginning of time, younger and older generations have been at odds. But today, in 2019, there is more to it. For many members of Generation Z, "OK Boomer" is aimed particularly at people with certain political convictions - we think of Trump or Brexit - and who have a contrary opinion about technological progress. It is aimed at those who deny climate change, those who marginalize minorities. The reaction of many baby boomers? They believe that the phrase is age-discriminatory and that it forces you into a radical stereotype.
The phrase isn't just about the meme that made "OK Boomer" popular. It has also sparked an obvious debate between zoomers and boomers, but especially between individuals within the two generations. This is also reflected in a contribution by the American radio network NPR called "OK Boomer: Apathy, Anger and a Viral Meme". "It's really interesting that [OK Boomer] can help us understand our views and policies," said Evon Yao, a student at the University of Michigan, on the podcast. Yao is the former head of the political student organization WeListen, which aims to overcome political discrepancies. She adds, "I'm just concerned that this whole 'OK Boomer' thing is a slight departure [from the bottom line] and is preventing people from actually having a productive, political conversation."
A generation full of young activists
Some Gen Z members believe that the rejection expressed by "OK Boomer" has been brewing in the background for years. In a New York Times article, journalist Taylor Lorenz writes: “'OK Boomer' has become a recurring Generation Z response to the problem of the elderly who just don't understand [things], a rallying cry for millions of kids who have had enough. " She probably means those kids who are fed up with being called the "snowflake generation" all the time, lazy and privileged, idealistic and childlike. In reality, however, their generation has produced some of the most active young people the world has ever seen. 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is just one example.
On September 23, 2019, Thunberg accused the political leaders of the world in a speech that should define our era today: Since international politicians are not doing enough for climate change in Thunberg's eyes, they did so at the United Nations climate summit with the words "How dare you" found guilty. "How dare you continue to close your eyes and come here and say that you are doing enough when the necessary policies and solutions are still nowhere in sight," the 16-year-old announced angrily in her speech. Thunberg has taken on the task of bringing their generation Z peers together - while the adult baby boomers have not acted adequately in the past.
The baby boomers' angry reaction to the meme is ultimately a sign of the growing power of Generation Z. In general, zoomers are progressive and more socially conscious when it comes to issues like race, gender, identity and climate change. They are more aware than their predecessors - and instead of looking up, they turn to each other for advice. According to a report by Bloomberg, which analyzed United Nations data in August 2018, zoomers make up 32 percent of the world's population. So they are the largest age group so far; many of them will also turn 18 in the next few years - Generation Z is therefore a political and economic force that can definitely be expected in the future.
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More than just a meme
Now that the hype about "OK Boomers" has slowly subsided, the question remains what will happen next. Most likely, Generation Z young people will keep fighting, protesting for the causes they care about, continuing to reject old-fashioned ideals and of course using TikTok to break down social barriers and stereotypes. When 25-year-old New Zealand MP Chlöe Swarbrick dropped the words "OK Boomer" in parliament - after an older male politician cut off her speech on climate change - it wasn't childish or cheeky. It was an attempt to silence someone who interrupted her and refused to listen to her because his views did not agree with hers. OK Boomer is not about Gen Z's inability to participate in discussions with adults - it is about Gen Z understanding the futility of dealing with those who per se refuse to listen to them.
Perhaps the discrepancies between zoomers and boomers won't trigger a generational war either. After all, the younger generation now doesn't care what the older generation has to say. Now the young are in the collective power to make the changes they want to see in the world. Generation Z is ready to face the future and no longer has patience for obstacles. When asked if she would meet Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg summed up exactly that with the appropriate words: "It would really be a waste of time."
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