What Makes for a Millennial?

Now that newspapers are dead, our news source websites (like Slate, Huffington Post, Vox, Drudge Report, the Root, etc.) are continuously running vacuous think-piece articles to make news stick. One super-popular topic is the riddle of “The Millennials,” the generation born from around 1983ish to 2000, who follow Generation X, and were children of the Baby Boomers.

I, for one, do not find these broad categories of generations very helpful, especially as how things change so quickly. To highlight this point, I feel like there is a great difference between my generation, which I identify as those born from around 1986ish-1992, and those born 1993-2000. Those of my generation (let me call this Gen Ya), I would characterize as having grown up with the introduction of the internet, the rise of social media, and the shift from stationary computers to mobile devices. More importantly, we were the generation that entered adolescence in the 9/11 era, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and started college, or entered the job force, during the Great Recession. Our vision of financial security and trust of banking is fundamentally different than our parents, who grew up in the economic boom of Post-WWII, and reaped the benefits of the 90s “Goldy-Locks” economy.

Meanwhile, Generation Yb never knew a world without the internet, cell phones, plasma-screen televisions, and streaming music. They are the true “Digital Natives.” Secondly, they missed out on the political and economic uncertainty & anxiety of the post-9/11 era, the thickest parts of the great recession & housing boom. Rather, their political landscape is characterized by the emergence of identity politics as a national movement. Young ones grew up with the abrupt shift in LGBTQ visibility, and a powerful resurgence of racial activism in the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the continuing visibility of Latino/a political work, and the return of open class-based dialogue in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Fight for $15, and the Bernie Sanders campaign.

The kids are all right, but they are not all the same.

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