Could there be a more patronizing way to dismiss us? I’m talking about the OK BOOMER meme/viral sensation that seems to be everywhere in the last few weeks. Generation Z’s response to baby boomers who don’t “get” them is OK BOOMER. They are fed up with us and anything that appears to be condescending about them or the issues that matter to them.
It’s become so prevalent that the meme has morphed into merch. One of the big sellers is a hooded sweatshirt that says “OK BOOMER – Have a terrible day.”
Where is the anger coming from? Ask a Gen Zer and they will tell you it’s about inequality, political polarization and climate change ignorance, all of which foment into anti-boomer sentiment. They are fed up and angry. Just because they have tattoos and green hair does not mean they are irrelevant, and that’s how they believe boomers make them feel.
There’s always been pushback by younger generations. Remember when boomers were the anti-war, give peace a chance generation that could not understand how irrelevant their parents were. It’s kind of like that, only with more anger and frustration.
Some teens honestly believe that boomers are actively hurting them. When boomers and those in power make choices that adversely affect Gen Z, it becomes personal. Choices such as ignoring climate change or the rising college and health care expenses come across as active dissing to teens and young adults.
To be fair, Gen Zers say they are not just angry with boomers, but they are frustrated with any older adults that are putting them or their attitudes down. If you don’t like change or understand new technology, you are a target for their hostility. So ultimately, boomer is just a state of mind.
Describing it as the digital equivalent of an eye roll, teens describe “ok boomer” as the ideal response to the way they are treated. It’s their cool way of insulting us for the way we treat them and the issues they care about.
For a generation that’s often put down as snowflakes, “ok boomer” is a passive-aggressive way to let us know they are tired of being ignored and harmed by our indifference.
So a word to the wise. Stop criticizing and marginalizing your favorite Gen Zers. Ok, boomers?
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.