Abigail McCarter, columnist
Millennials are impatient, lazy and entitled. At least one writer for Breitbart News, Ben Shapiro, surely thinks so.
In his 2015 piece “Seven reasons millennials are the worst generation,” Shapiro gives examples of why he believes that Generation Y is “the least useful generation in America by a long shot.”
As a millennial, Shapiro’s words struck a chord with me; not because I felt convicted by their validity, but because they were merely critiques, not offering any real solutions to real problems that exist in our generation.
His first reason for belittling millennials was that we all think Stephen Colbert should be president.
Shapiro claims that, according to a Fusion poll asking which comedian should be elected president, 19 percent of millennials wanted Stephen Colbert as their commanderm in chief in 2016. One cannot claim that an entire generation is “the worst generation ever” due to a satirical political opinion poll.
Shapiro’s article continued to give reasons for millennials being a terrible generation including points like “they smoke” or “they don’t know anything about politics.” However, the same critiques can be made about the generations preceding us as well.
OK, Mr. Shapiro, let’s say for argument’s sake that millennials are uninformed and we don’t know enough about the world around us. Instead of complaining about our generation’s misgivings, why don’t you do something about it—teach us.
Generations learn by the examples set by those prior. You think we do not know enough about money? Why don’t you start teaching us how to save for our retirement while we are young?
Show us how to invest wisely so we won’t have to borrow from our parents while living paycheck-to-paycheck.
You think our generation smokes too much? Please, then enlighten me as to why tobacco consumption hit its apex during the 1960s and why it has dropped so drastically since.
Or, take a look at the statistics related to children exposed to secondhand parental smoke and how it can lead to addiction later in the child’s life. Thanks to the secondhand smoke from your generation, it is shocking that not all millennials need a nicotine fix each day.
You think we are irresponsible because we haven’t all gotten married? Tell me about the alarming rates of divorce, domestic abuse and parental neglect that would taint the prospect of marriage for even the most optimistic millennial. Your generation’s flagrant disregard for the sanctity of marriage has scared us away from matrimonial commitment.
Millennials are flawed, it is true, but every generation is. We are a work in progress.
Give us some credit, though, we are doing the best we can with what was given to us.
Our nation’s layers of scar tissue from decades of genocide, war, disease, fiscal irresponsibility, hunger and racism have been dumped into our laps with a smile and a “good luck.”
So yes, Mr. Shapiro, we are on our phones and our computers a lot, but we are doing so to create new technology, medical advancements, jobs, innovations and even writing articles in a dorm room on a Saturday night, not because we want to become the change we wish to see in the world, but because we already are.
McCarter is a freshman journalism and mass communication major.