ServeNext.org Blog

Millennials…and Others

Posted by Zach Maurin on July 24, 2008

Huffington Post’s writer, Tanene Allison, tackles the ever-growing question: Can today’s Millennial Generation be engaged in communities and the country while spending massive amounts of time being digitally connected? Speaking as a Millennial herself, Allison emphasizes the versatility and unprecedented activism in today’s generation.

She begins her argument by claiming that the Millennial Generation has “proven to be anything but an either/or generation.” With social networking paired with street protests, gay rights paired with religious activism and individuals made up of mixed ethnicities, “we do not see our identities, our world, or our options for living as a series of dichotomous choices.” With examples of record-breaking voter turnout, the organization of social networks and youth activism centered around modern day civil rights, Allison makes quite the case for Millennials.
However, one important flaw in her case is the lack of recognition for older generations. At the start, she reassures her readers that she is a Millennial because she uses two computers simultaneously by having her “iPhone stationed nearby, and listening to music.” Although it is a mere tool to let her readers know that she speaks from a personal point of view, the other message conveyed is that older generations do not use technology in this way. A commenter of the article, “Several,” reiterates this fact, saying, “I also write ‘blog posts’…use multiple computers both at work and at home, carry a device with even more features than an iPhone, but I was born in ’67.”
It is important to note that Allison’s characteristics that distinguish Millennials are not completely different from GenXers or Baby Boomers. In fact, there have been many reports on Baby Boomers who no longer seek retirement, but rather, opportunities to volunteer and serve. Programs like Experience Corps prove that social activism is still a priority among older Americans.
There is no doubt about it that what Allison says about Millennials is true. This young generation is redefining and readapting today’s civil rights movement. In fact, this election season has highlighted that change as “a young, very involved, more progressive generation that is coming up.” Her points are valid and very powerful. Nevertheless, she fails to credit older generations who have paved this path of change while simultaneously teaming up with Millennials to make today more powerful and provoking than history has ever been.






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