By: Connor Judson Garrett – June 7, 2016
Connor Judson Garrett
I had a conversation with a family member a few years back that’s stuck with me since. I was telling him how proud I am of my generation for being so accepting of people regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class. His response: It’s easy to be accepting when you have no room to judge. Translation: Millennials are losers so if your generation condemns others then you are essentially condemning yourself.
As much as we highlight the negatives, in my lifetime I’ve seen tremendous progress. I believe my generation has been critical in the push for gay marriage and opening up dialogue about other kinds of inequality. If being “losers” is the reason we are accepting of others, if that’s the characteristic that’s enabled Gen Y to continue to fight for equality for all then call me a loser.
Baby boomers paved the way for us to even be in the position we’re in. They lived through the civil rights era. But millennials are tolerant because we’ve learned from the baby boomers, the very same people who think we are losers, that social change requires dissatisfaction.
Our dissatisfaction keeps us from being complacent with the progress we’ve made. My generation is accepting because we won’t settle for “kind of equal” (there’s no such thing). We’ve been nicknamed the Me Generation because of how we are perceived to value ourselves highly, but we place the same value on others, which is why we are sympathetic to their needs. Gen Y’s tolerance for others is not for any deficiency, nor is it a claim to superiority over past generations. We have benefitted from history and have had the opportunity to build on the strides towards equality made by past generations.
The accepting attitude of my generation stems from our strong sense of individualism – we like our wants and needs as individuals to be recognized. As a social strategy, whether done knowingly or not, we have to consider where others are coming from in order for the same courtesy to be extended to us.
I’m not at all claiming that my generation is noble or better than any other, but I stand by what I told my family member years ago: I’m proud to be a millennial because we are progressive and accepting of people from all backgrounds.