Graphic by Joshua Colton Treadwell
The Sewanee Purple was recently the subject of some minor controversy. Eric Metaxas, who spoke at convocation this semester, posted on Facebook that a “bizarre opinion piece” was published about his speech. The opinion piece in question was seen by Metaxas to be a “hateful rant.” This started a string of comments that lead to one Facebook user, George Black, posting, “Millennial’s. What are you going to do? <shrugs shoulders> Always with an opinion, seldom with a point.”
Regardless of my personal opinion on the speech made by Mr. Metaxas, I find Mr. Black’s comment offensive. “Millennials” are seen by some members of past generations to be lazy and self-centered. We are often referred to as “generation me.” This comment, and the general disdain for Millennials that some choose to express, led me to try and investigate what exactly all of these comments mean for Millennials. What is it about our generation that makes other generations look down on us? Are they right about “generation me?” NPR.org states that millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, make up 28.7 percent of the U.S. population. We represent the largest share in terms of population by generation. We are the most racially diverse generation in U.S. history. NPR also has shown that our generation gets married later, and some of our generation does not rank marriage as extremely important. These facts are all true about our generation. So what do people of other generations think of us? To put it bluntly, they don’t think very highly of us.
Time magazine stated that 71 percent of American adults think of Millennials as “selfish,” and 65 percent of American adults see Millennials as “entitled.” In addition to this, apparently one Facebook user sees us as outspoken and without a point. Not wanting to write of my entire generation as “selfish” and “outspoken,” I did further research. The White House released a report in October of 2014 detailing economic facts about Millennials. The data detailed in this report showed many interesting things. One centered on the value system of Millennials. Compared to other generations, we are more concerned with making a contribution to society. Our generation also can boast the higher enrollment in college than any previous generation. We value education, and often put our studies before other needs and desires, opting to forgo living alone in order to afford school.
Millennials are reported to value having closer connections with their families. We value creativity, as it applies to careers, more than past generations. The downside for our generation is that many more of us rely on loans for education and are in debt upon graduation. In addition to this, we are also faced with a worse job market than young people of previous generations. I hope these statistics and facts have painted a more accurate picture of the Millennial generation. We are not the selfish and lazy generation that we are often depicted as. I hope that Mr. Black will someday get the opportunity to be proved wrong about my generation. So to provide a “point” for Mr. Black, and all those who look down on Millennial’s, I will end in saying.. .Millennials … Value contributing to society… <shrugs shoulders> caring, educated and creative.