Graphic by ALLISON WOODLAND
Many are saying that 2019 marks the year in which friendly generational communication comes to a close. Generation Z has coined a new phrase aimed specifically at the older generation known as “OK Boomer.”
The phrase has taken the internet by storm and is most frequently used in an attempt to express frustration with the Baby Boomer generation and their sometimes lack of understanding.
In an interview with the New York Times, Shannon O’Conner said “The older generation grew up with a certain mind-set, and we have a different perspective.” This is the common theme among the younger generation today.
The phrase originally began in a TikTok video which featured an older gentleman as he describes what he calls “the Peter Pan syndrome.” He explains that Generation Z has created a utopian society in which they are attempting to live in for the rest of their lives.
He says that eventually the younger generation has to grow up and realize that not everything comes easy. Since the release of that video, there have been over 4,000 TikToks made in response to the video and to “Ok Boomer” overall.
Several college students have created merchandise which have sold out. One student received more than $10,000 in orders for her creation of a sweatshirt which used the typical grocery bag logo “thank you” replacing the words with “Ok Boomer.”
There has also been some harsh feedback to the phrase. Conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry vented some of his frustrations on the phrase when he tweeted that ‘boomer’ is the n-word of ageism. He also tweeted that “being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”
Alma students, however, disagree with that sentiment.
“I do think the term could be considered ageist, but it is definitely not a slur and should not be equated to words that carry a history of oppression and discrimination,” said Marissa Romano (’21).
Dictionary.com had some comments on Lonsberry’s tweets as well. On Nov. 4th, the dictionary.com twitter page tweeted, “Boomer is an informal noun referring to a person born during a baby boom, especially one born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1965. The n-word is one of the most offensive words in the English language.”
Some students are upset that when they make a joke about a generation, they are told that they are treating others unfairly, but when that same generation retorts with something offensive, they have no consequences.
“I think it is pretty hypocritical that Boomers can accuse lower generations of being ungrateful and lazy, but when a joke is made about a generalized community, they get upset and lash out,” said Brandon Nicholson (’21). “Additionally, the slur is not offensive and should be allowed to be used however our generation feels.”
In addition to merchandise, there has been an anthem created for the boomer backlash movement. Jonathan Williams wrote and produced the song titled, “ok boomer” which contains a chorus of Williams just yelling “ok boomer” repeatedly into the mic. Over 4,000 TikToks have been created using the audio.
Those who have made merchandise say that they will be using the money that they have raised to help pay of their student loans. Everett Solares, who sold a few rainbow “ok boomer” products said, “I had not seen any gay merchandise for ‘ok boomer,’ so I just chose every product I could fund.”
“I plan on using the money to pay my rent and buy things that will help me survive,” Solares continued. Others say that because essentials are more expensive than ever before, monetizing the boomer backlash was just the thing that they needed in order to continue to attend college and survive.