On Millennial Scapegoating

It is striking to see how often millennials are blamed for everything by older generations. I wont say which generations, because it would be a redundant classification and it wouldn’t be fair to condemn an entire generation for the actions of some within the generation. But, I suppose it should be expected that logic and reason would be far from those in the generation which regularly snorted cocaine and slurped down LSD in the 1970s.

I suppose the 1960s generation would look at millennials as being overly sensitive for thinking sexually harassing women, treating black people poorly, and being an unfiltered ignoramus is not ideal.

But, again, I shouldn’t generalize, because perhaps not everyone in the 1970s generation was a drug addict, and perhaps not everyone in the 1960s generation was a misogynist.

It is easy to create a scapegoat and blame a younger generation for the world’s problems all the while ignoring the problems of ones own generation. It’s like a parent blaming the child for everything, simply because the child is there and within reach. I find it ironic how a lot of the time, the people who blame millennials for their “fragility” and “entitlement” are of the generation that taught them precisely how to be fragile and entitled.

 

Here are some things millennials didn’t do:

 

  • Millennials were not the ones who created the Federal Reserve in 1913 and thought Quantitative Easing was a great idea.
  • Millennials were not the ones who took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, transforming commodity money into a fiat faith
  • Millennials were not the ones who implemented nonsensical parenting and reward programs in the 1980-90s.
  • Millennials were not the ones who corrupted the banking system and crashed the housing markets in the late 2000s.
  • Millennials were not the ones who believed America was God’s nation founded by men who were all Christians trying to create a Christian nation.
  • Millennials are not the ones who think cable news outlets are unbiased sources of information that should be believed at face value.

Purchasing Homes

According to Zillow, the median home price among first-time home buyers in the early 1970s (in 2011 dollars) was around $87k. In 2013, it was around $140k. Throughout all four decades, the median household income remained between $50-60k. The income has not really changed, but the price of a house increased by 60%.

College Tuition

According to College Board, the average tuition at public colleges was $2-3k in the 1970s and 1980s, and $9.6k in 2016. The average tuition at private colleges increased from $10k in the 1970s to $33.4k in 2016. College is simply more expensive now than it ever was in the past.

College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; NCES, IPEDS data

It is obvious that the American economy has changed, and millennials have to deal with a much harsher reality than previous generations. So, before one laments the millennial generation and begins a sentence with, “Back in my day,” one should know that those days were different and do not apply to the present context. Just because one observes a millennial cave under the pressure of that reality, it does not grant the right to make fun of them. There is nothing clever about kicking someone while they’re on the ground.

Previous generations should stop blaming millennials for the consequences of the very things they’ve inherited from previous generations. It is wrong, and it further divides entire generations of people. Older generations should actually talk to millennials, rather than share ignorant memes to make fun of them.

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