Some incredible things about the millennial generation are the empathy we have for one another, our focus on self-improvement, and our level of education. For example, our focus and understanding of mental health is greatly beneficial to all individuals who struggle with mental health issues, creating the most supportive generation of all time. This generation has produced one of the least discriminatory societies in history, contrary to what is going on in current modern politics. With the uprising of social justice movements and the acceptance of diversity and rights of minorities, millennials have proven to be strong advocates for equal rights and against discrimination. Being part of a digital generation has provided more opportunities for regular individuals to become producers rather than passive consumers. Not only do we have the most opportunities, even accounting for racist and sexist tendencies of society, we are also the most educated generation of all time. So why, if all of these things are true, does this generation receive so much hate?
Criticisms against the millennial generation claim that we are lazy and entitled, but they say those things as if they’re supposed to be negative. I believe that laziness and entitlement in a culture are virtues in disguise. What could be perceived as laziness could actually be resourcefulness. Consider inventions that were made possible for the millennial lifestyle, such as Uber and Netflix. Having things on demand is creative and useful and creates a system where resources are more accessible, and wanting things fast in the name of efficiency is hardly laziness or a lack of patience, though it is a product of both. I remember growing up and watching those around me become media obsessed. Similar to any other advancement, people soon believed that videogames were a negative part of life and would have detrimental impacts on children. Now research seems to show that video games are mentally stimulating and reinforce important life skills such as the concept of challenge and reward. Video games can be seen as a tool to promote hard work, effort, and overcoming obstacles. There is a commonly held belief that Google is making our generation stupid due to the fact that information no longer needs to be remembered, but having so much accessible information in our pockets actually contributes to how educated our generation is. For each criticism of the millennials, there is a rebuttal.
Any generation, especially in its infancy, is subject to criticism from the generations prior to it who have more life experience, knowledge, and a general bias for the social circumstances in which they were raised. There is not a single generation that has escaped the skepticism of their parents and grandparents who are already critical about the world.
I tend to choose an optimistic approach to the way the world is progressing. In terms of violent deaths and war, we live in one of the most peaceful time periods in all of history. Our current generation seems to have the least racist white people, despite what the media tells us as well as the immense amount of progress that still has to be made. We’re more educated in things that harmed generations before us and we choose to go against these things, such as harsh discrimination of the past (does anyone remember segregation?) and the denial of opportunities to certain groups. Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between whether the world is actually on a downward spiral that will inevitably crash and burn thanks to media and the constant questioning of current pop culture.
It seems that, in many ways, millennials are no different than any generation before them; we are just as crazy, just as ill-experienced, yet still an improvement on the generation before us, which, in my view, is the most important part. When millennials are old enough to be critical of the new generation that has yet to exist, it’s probable that we will be just as critical of the new generation as older generations were of us. I’ve chosen to be skeptical of articles that talk negatively about millennials because of the mass amounts of positive qualities that our generation exhibits, because life is too short to have to conform to some ideal that tell you not to embrace the culture you are part of.