Ok, boomer: generational tensions come to a head



Freshman Sam Brown and English teacher Don Fry demonstrate the tensions between Gen Z and Baby Boomers. Frustration has grown between generations with the creation of the phrase, “Ok, boomer.”

Alyce Brown, Arts and Entertainment Editor

“Ok, boomer.”

The phrase currently taking over the internet isn’t from an Instagram post or a Tik Tok video. Rather, it has taken root in Gen Z’s activism and been propelled onto the global stage by the breaking point that the youth have finally reached.

The relationship between the generation known as ‘Baby Boomers’ and the younger generations (Millenials and Gen Z) has always been somewhat strained.  As of recently, however, tensions between the two groups finally snapped after Gen Z coined this phrase and got to work ingraining it into popular culture. 

A build up of many issues has caused this negative friction that sparked “Ok, boomer,” with the supposed main culprit being the views held by the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, they are known to share much more traditional thoughts on controversial political matters, frequently warranting frustrated responses from the younger citizens.  

19-year-old Shannon O’Tate was quoted for the New York Times saying, “The older generations grew up with a certain mind-set, and we have a different perspective…A lot of them don’t believe in climate change or don’t believe people can get jobs with dyed hair, and a lot of them are stubborn in that view.”

The phrase has also grown out of Baby Boomers’ accused misunderstanding of the situation the youth are currently growing up and finding their way in.  The Baby Boomer generation grew up with college that was much cheaper than it is currently and with a much different job market, leading them to occasionally misunderstand and mislabel the youth’s efforts.

As senior John Mendellin explained, “Many Baby Boomers were born into a society with easy access to a thriving job market that allowed them to accumulate a lot of wealth.” However, he clarified, “the reality for the younger generations is that an education is astronomically more expensive and the job market has shrunk, yet many boomers are very quick to judge younger generations as ‘lazy.’” 

As could be expected, the “Ok, boomer” quip has not bode well with Baby Boomers.

Their response has been swift and powerful.  Radio host Bob Lonsberry controversially compared the new phrase to the N-word, and more recently, an AARP executive spoke up on the matter.  “Ok, millennials, but we’re the people that actually have the money,” clapped back VP Myrna Blyth.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg also discounted the new phrase on her show “The View” earlier this week. She argued that the young generations don’t have it any harder than past generations have, stressing that the Baby Boomers made many positive changes to society during their past few decades in power.  The discussion ended with Goldberg’s line, “We never went to sleep! Y’all [Millennials] were allowed to nap ‘cause we were taking care of business.”

However, some Baby Boomers have welcomed the phrase and see it as a positive segway to the youth’s prominence in the world. 

Walt Disney Heiress Abigail Disney aired her opinions on the subject in an impassioned Twitter thread. “Look, these kids are facing down a rising tide (literally) of changes that threatens everything you and I taught them to hold dear…How about you guys sit the f**k down and let the kids drive,” she tweeted.

Amidst a quickly changing society, a heated election season, and crises emerging from every corner, Millennials and Gen Z have a lot to juggle as they take their place in the world.  As the generational divide deepens and juxtaposing viewpoints go head to head, “Ok, boomer” could be the first hint of incoming shifts to society’s long-held power structure.