OK Boomer, let’s talk about it

The phrase “OK boomer” has become more than just a viral meme on TikTok (the newest video sharing platform). TikTok has transformed into a snappy comeback to older generations’ (specifically baby boomers’) outdated or narrow-minded opinions or their criticisms about youngest generations.


Most notably, the phrase was used by Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year old New Zealand lawmaker, in response to an older member of Parliament commenting on her age. She snapped back and returned to her speech without missing a beat. CNN reports that Swarbrick later called the phrase a "simple summarisation of collective exhaustion." 


So what’s the big deal? Well, apparently it’s a very big deal. NBC News referred to the use of the phrase as a “preemptive strike against baby boomers,” and conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry tweeted that “‘boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.” While I think most of us can agree that Lonsberry is a little off base, the expression has sent baby boomers onto the defensive while also leading to widespread criticism of millennials and Generation Z.


“OK boomer” is being added to the litany of complaints about millennials that include avocado toast, participation trophies, and addiction to electronics. This just goes to show that while the phrase “okay, millennial” may not have been popularized, it has been implicit in the attitudes of many baby boomers for years. 


Intergenerational bickering is nothing new. “OK boomer” may be oversimplified, but as Swarbrick said, it captures the frustration of the youngest generations. We live in a world where young people have to go to college for a fighting chance in the job market, but college costs are rising exponentially. We practice active shooter drills in our public schools, but all our fears and protests do not result in common sense gun laws. We feel the effects of climate change and understand the impact it will have on our future, but our country’s leaders still debate its very existence. So yes, our generation is scared, angry, and most importantly, desperate to see real, tangible change in our world. We don’t blame all of this on baby boomers, but “OK boomer” is our way of saying enough is enough.


Instead of fixating on the language young people are using, let us look deeper at the concerns that they are trying to express. As NBC News urges, generations should be used “as a lens rather than a label.” Because honestly, as a country and a world, we have bigger issues to deal with. So let’s get to work. 


Sources: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/06/asia/new-zealand-ok-boomer-trnd/index.html