“Ageism?” OK, Boomer


Similar to Abraham Simpson, many Baby Boomers have made it a point to complain about the innocuous phrase. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Briana Scalia, Operations Director, Opinion Editor

Memetic slang or ageist slur? “OK, boomer” has become the latest hot button topic, originally derived from a song and gaining popularity on the app TikTok. The phrase started as a placeholder response to older people, usually those that belong in the “baby boomer” generation, whose comments are deemed problematic by younger generations. Now the phrase has gained a comedic quality, usable as a response to anything said by someone over the age of about 45.

It’s a joke. At least, that’s what most people my age thought. Obviously other news outlets thought differently.

CBS has gone so far as to release an article claiming that the phrase can be considered “ageism” and “work discrimination” if used in the workplace.

Before I go off, I want to make it clear that there are many older people who understand the comedy behind the phrase and are not taking it as seriously as this vocal minority.

But to those claiming that “OK, Boomer” marks the start of a generational war? You obviously have not been paying attention.

Over the past decade, there have been more insulting articles about millennial and Gen-Z culture than I could hope to count. Older people commonly insult those belonging to either of these generations, implying that they are lazy, that they are leeching off their parents, that they are killing [insert industry here], that they are too sensitive. The list goes on and on.

My generations (because yes, even though I don’t belong to the millennials I fully support all of them) are not lazy. Students work three times as hard nowadays to move half the distance in society, due to the highly competitive nature of college admissions. Students today take on massive student debt in the hopes of making something of themselves, ambitiously promising themselves they will pay it off because they can and they will have to. Not to mention that many of them manage this while still working at some internship or part-time job.

My generations are very dependent on their parents. Do you know why? It’s because your generation ruined any chance we could have had at inheriting the rich economy you all were blessed with. “We have suffered from the aftereffects of the financial panic and the Great Recession, in a way even previous generations that graduated during recessions haven’t,” states Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Sternberg. Maybe do some research on the reasoning behind the state of the economy before you mock your child for being under your insurance plan at the age of 25.

My generations are playing a part in killing many American industries, such as the diamond industry. Do you know why? It’s because they cannot afford diamond rings. They cannot afford a mortgage. They are barely scraping by. See above for the reasons why.

Most importantly, my generations are sensitive. Millennials are commonly regarded as one of the most considerate generations. That is not to say that there are not millions of older people that are accepting of sexualities, of pronouns, of race and religion and everything in between, but my generations were the ones to make this acceptance commonplace. Being open minded is not the exception for younger people, it is the rule. So yes, we are more sensitive as a whole than the baby boomer generation, but I would not gloat about the fact that people my age are more known for their intolerance and prejudice.

The war between generations has not started, it has been ongoing. Boomers have put millennials and gen-z in a precarious position for the upcoming decades. Whether the issue be the growing threat of climate change, the concern over social security or simply the feeling of not being taken seriously due to age, you have put my generations in this corner. It is only natural that we have the urge to defend ourselves.

And to those that don’t understand that? OK, Boomer.


Briana Scalia, FCRH ’20, is a journalism major from Long Island, N.Y.