Photo Illustration by Deija Zavala

‘OK Boomer,’ Let’s Set the Record Straight

Millennials and Zoomers may be fed up, but 'OK Boomer' is not equivalent to a racial slur.

Millennials and Zoomers may be fed up, but ‘OK Boomer’ is not equivalent to a racial slur

If you’re present on social media –or even if you read any of the major news organizations– you’ve probably heard of the latest linguistic controversy, “OK Boomer.”

Memes have become a fundamental aspect of younger generations’ humor. They are used to convey vast amounts of information within a simple image or text post. Google defines memes as laughable images, text or videos that are replicated and spread quickly around the Internet.

The “OK Boomer” trend started as just that, a meme. Unfortunately it has taken a new life and those outside of meme culture fail to realize the actual meaning behind the phrase.

Boomers are those from the post-WWII baby boom era who were born from 1946 to 1964. Millennials are young adults born from 1981 to 1996. Generation Z, or zoomers, were born from 1997 to the present day.

“OK Boomer” is used to dismiss the disdain older generations have against millennials and zoomers. The phrase can be used as an insult, but it’s often used to blatantly point out double standards that many boomer generation individuals subject younger generations to.

Don’t worry, Boomer. It’s just a meme.

The meme began as a way to passive aggressively, and humorously, let loose the frustrations that younger people have at the current state of the world–a world that was created and subsequently tarnished by the boomer generation.

This comical phrase is by no means equivalent to a racial slur, as some people have insinuated.

While “OK Boomer” can be misconstrued as a derogatory term against the older generations, it’s not meant to be hateful. Millennials and Zoomers simply found a way to comment on the older generation’s biases. This term isn’t even specifically about age, it’s about issues.

Nevertheless, this phrase has hit the mainstream with news station stories and business marketing campaigns. Companies like Natural Light and Netflix are jumping on the bandwagon and are trying to appeal to today’s youth by using this meme slogan for marketing.

Millennials and zoomers are fed up with the boomer generation feeding us disdainful comments on how to lead our lives.

Boomers often look down upon younger generations and you can commonly hear boomer individuals using phrases that start with, “Back in my day,” or “When I was your age,” which are typically followed by an array of rhetoric that aim to condemn the lifestyles and decisions of younger generations.

The majority of us zoomers and millennials are not entitled and arrogant as we are so often portrayed. In a general sense, we see and experience the injustices created by an inconsiderate generation, and feel a need to retaliate against the judgement that boomers perpetuate in a creative yet harmless way. We are trying to make them see their own corruption.

Memes, and “OK Boomer” in particular, can confuse older generations because they don’t have the contextual knowledge that we’ve absorbed through the saturation of media messages surrounding us that help us able to understand pop culture or meme culture references.

Any older generation will inherently look down upon its successors because as humans we are resistant to change. The fact that older generations now are offended by what the young people have to say just solidifies that they don’t understand what younger generations are expressing, so they react with scorn.

The older generations fail to realize that we are fed up with how we’ve been viewed and treated by them. Our use of ‘OK Boomer’ is solely used to highlight this mistreatment.

Overall, the use of this comical phrase isn’t meant to upset the older generations. It’s meant to inform them about the concerns younger generations have which don’t seem to be taken seriously by boomers. Don’t get offended, it’s just a meme.

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  1. Anonymous Anonymous Saturday, November 30, 2019

    With all the racism, violence, rape and murder taking place on campuses nationwide, including HSU, adding agism to the mix is no surprise, however, to see it approved and published by the entire editorial board and PhD advisor is stunning.

    Every description of a “bad boomer” leaves readers asking, “like what?”. Dysfunctional human behaviors are universal, ie, not attributable to a single category, like blacks, jews, etc, get it?

    A dozen years of schooling and no one remembers how our ancestors turned righteous anger into constructive activism?

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Saturday, November 30, 2019

    Wow, a profoundly bigoted staff-editorial and censorship to my response!

    “Generation Trump”

  3. troods troods Monday, May 10, 2021

    Every “older generation” explains why their times were harder and criticizes what the next generation does. I hear it when I was a kid and I’m a boomer. I think it’s a way of sharing experience, but not in the best way. As someone who has been using the internet since 2020, I and others like me are inundated with the internet good or bad. I have been an progressive activist since I was 15 and continue to be at age 70. I am antiracist, pro socialism and have been for a very long time. I am not big on social media, but I am still working, so I have to do so sometimes. So stereotypes work both ways. We are not doddering and out of touch. We do have knowledge to impart. So do millenials and zoomers. We will learn to live in peace someday, sooner hopefully than later. And by the way, I don’t tell young people “in my day………..”. I hated it when my own parents did it and I try to be careful not to do it myself.

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