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The Generational Battle

Stria Staff June 12, 2019

Is there really a war between generations?

We’ve all seen the headlines and heard the jokes pitting America’s two largest generations against one another. But is there substance behind that storyline? Some say it’s a myth, while others see a new, different generational divide on the horizon. These recent stories come at the issue from a range of perspectives.

Stria invited an emerging leader in the longevity market to share her thoughts on the generational divide in our own field. Read her call for mentorship.

Highlights & Insights: Curated Excerpts From Though-provoking Articles

Millennials Wanting To Overhaul America Need To Come To Terms With Boomer Power
BuzzFeed | Kevin Munger

These kind of battles have their issues. Assigning people a generational identity based on an arbitrary birth year cutoff is silly and might even be harmful; using labels to refer to distrusted out-groups—and treating individuals primarily as representatives of their groups—is a recipe for conflict and discrimination.

But the appetite for this kind of discourse reflects the unavoidable reality of a growing generational divide—one that is already central to US politics, and will grow even more so for the foreseeable future. Young people imagining a fundamental overhaul of America will first need to come to terms with the political power that boomer Democrats will retain for at least the next decade—and probably longer.

The War Between Millennials And Boomers Is A Myth
Forbes | Nancy LeaMond

Too often, policy discussions in Washington (and to a certain extent, the states) are framed as intergenerational warfare. It’s billed as boomers vs. millennials or retirees vs. their grandchildren: a zero-sum cage match coming soon to a town near you. But, that’s not really what’s happening on the ground.

In fact, a spirit of intergenerational cooperation is alive and well when it comes to families’ day-to-day lives.

Today, close to one out of every five Americans live in multi-generational households—those that include grandparents and grandchildren or where two or more adult generations live together. This is the highest percentage that we’ve seen since the 1950s. 

The Generation Gap Is Back—but Not as We Know It
The Guardian | Brigid Delaney

There is a generation gap—just not in the way that we imagined it. It’s not about style. It’s not about about taste in music (“Turn down that racket!”). It’s about language and battles over inclusivity, diversity and power structures. And it’s a whole lot more complicated and confusing than the generation gaps of yore—where the olds were horrified at the Beatles and their long hair.

The Coming Conflict Between Millennials and Boomers 
Axios / Steve LeVine

The U.S. is headed for a potentially dangerous new social rift, this time between millennials and baby boomers, each wrestling for diminishing jobs and shrinking government assistance, according to a new paper.

‘Millennial’ Means Nothing
The New York Times / John Quiggin

In seemingly endless essays in recent years, [millennials] been derided as lazy and narcissistic or defended as creative and committed to social change. But these all sound like characteristics that the old have ascribed to the young since the dawn of time. Similar terms were applied to the “slacker” Generation X and before that, the baby boomers.

“Journalism Is Not About Creating Safe Spaces”: Inside the Woke Civil War at the New York Times

Vanity Fair / Joe Pompeo

“I’ve been feeling a lot lately like the newsroom is split into roughly the old-guard category, and the young and ‘woke’ category, and it’s easy to feel that the former group doesn’t take into account how much the future of the paper is predicated on the talent contained in the latter one,” a Times employee in that latter group told me a couple months ago. “I know a lot of others at the paper with similar positions to mine, especially women and people of color, who feel that senior staff isn’t receptive to their concerns…”

Another example? “The biggest thing people are talking about lately is the way the Times humanizes white men who commit violence versus men of color,” my source continued (The Times recently confronted this issue via its Reader Center.) “There’s definitely a feeling,” the source added, “that the people most concerned about these sorts of things are people in more junior positions, as opposed to people who are in positions of power.”

This story was originally posted in April 2018.

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