One of the most tedious remarks made by the older folks when it comes to millennials is that “we have everything at our fingertips, so we shouldn’t have anything to complain about”.
Another one I often hear (sometimes even from millennials themselves, usually conservatives interestingly) is that “we are going through one of history’s most peaceful eras”.
Are we though? Does the world feel at peace to us? With Donald Trump spewing hate and xenophobia on the internet? With poor people getting poorer while the higher classes continue to deplete resources and human capital for their own gain? Is this peace? Or is this peace according to an old and outdated paradigm?
Millennials do not “have it easy”. Sure, we may have all sorts of information at our fingertips, but that is exactly what makes this new paradigm so confusing. We must constantly find our way in the sea of information that is presented to us with no filter, no regard for precision nor truth.
We wake up every morning and we are potentially exposed to all major news events as soon as we pick up our smartphone. We are expected to know of, form an opinion on, comment on and follow up on every single controversy and news event of the last time period. (see last post)
But this really requires an amount of focus and of effort which other generations cannot even compare to. When “news hour” was the only time to hear the news, when the only way of seeing an event unfold was if someone happened to be there with a good enough camera, it was easy to focus on the information you were receiving. We are now expected to be focused 24/7 and to assimilate all the information that we get correctly.
But what really adds insult to injury is the incapacity (often shown all over social media) of older folk to filter and process this news. How many among us don’t have a mad old aunt who retweets random posts from racist politicians? Or a friend of our parents’ who posts what is clearly fake news on Facebook all day? Truth is, many of the older generations were not remotely given the tools to navigate this new world, yet we are somehow expected to know how to.
Quite frankly, when I see my sweet 4’8’’ grandma in person, I tend to not address her most recent post on Facebook about how Muslims should be banned from our country. I really don’t have the heart to ruin family dinner with politics. But I do often cringe when I hear remarks about how the Chinese are stealing our jobs, about how the gays shouldn’t legally be allowed to adopt, and so on.
As much as I support whoever engages in these debates with their loved ones, I really can’t bring myself to do it. My Italian family is loud enough without me actively trying to argue. I think every generation has suffered from the previous one not believing in their struggles, but still survived to tell the tale. We must ignore the old folk and find our path in our battles.