Oh millennials… we really are the worst, aren’t we? At least, that’s what we are told. Constantly. Everyday at work, I am reminded of how lazy and coddled my generation is — did you know that we are also way too sensitive and delicate?
Yes, many of us will correct you for using words like “faggot” and “ retard” or get offended by small, seemingly harmless jokes about “women in the kitchen.” Aren’t we the worst?? Hold on, let me put down my avocado toast and almond milk latte and give a quick explanation as to why we are, in fact, not the worst.
I was born in 1995 —right smack dab in the middle of Generation Y (or generation snowflake as we are also, so fondly, called).
I was pulled out of my first grade class on 9/11. I sat with my family and waited to hear from my uncle who worked in the twin towers and my aunt who worked in the Pentagon. I was in college when a bomb went off at the Boston marathon — a mile from where my sister and best friend attended school. This year, a man open fired in a synagogue in Pittsburgh- blocks away from where my sister works.
I had family present at three major terrorist attacks in the US — something not uncommon for someone of my generation.
These are just 3 of many examples of devastating events that occurred during my childhood and early adult life — all due to hate, prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance. Let me be clear, we are not claiming to be the first generation to deal with violence and hate. But maybe we are the first generation to try and stop it at its source:
Everyday interactions with each other.
Everyday interactions with each other start with our language. Many of us have gay friends who were called “fags” in school and now hide their sexuality out of fear of violence and discrimination. We’ve all heard racist jokes towards our black and Muslim friends and sexist jokes towards the women in our lives. Our generation cringes at words like “slut” and “retard” because we have seen first hand the power of hate. We are constantly being told that we are sensitive and delicate simply because we have become picky about the language we tolerate.
We are constantly being called sensitive and delicate because we are the first generation to come together and see the power of speech.
Here’s a thought: maybe my generation is not too sensitive. Maybe we are socially aware. Which as far as I am concerned, is an amazing thing. We are the most progressive generation yet because we grew up in a time of change. I am from a generation that is at the tail end (at least I hope) of having to hide being gay, or being in a biracial relationship, or being ashamed of mental illness. Our generation craves acceptance and promotes change.
I grew up in a town where being gay was not accepted. I was never encouraged to seek help for anxiety or depression until college — in fact I had no education on mental illness at all. Someone, somewhere decided that these topics needed to be talked about — and our generation embraced it. Equal rights has become so important to millennials that we take pride in the fact that we are a generation where it is okay and accepted to speak out about prejudice and discrimination.
I know we are annoying. We Snapchat way too much. We think parties are “lit” and new cars are “dope”. But, like it or not, we are the future.
I can tolerate almond milk lattes for the rest of time if it means my children grow up in a society that doesn’t tolerate prejudice. I’ll eat avocado toast every damn day if it means they can embrace themselves without fear of discrimination or violence.
Because to me, social awareness is dope.
Originally published at www.megsangimino.com.