A popular topic within student affairs and Peter's classes is generational theory. Right now, it is also common to wrap all of our current students into the category of the "Millennial Generation." A lot is being written about this generation because we (I think I'm a cusp Millennial) are supposedly high achievers, highly praised, highly supported by our parents, used to working in teams, highly stimulated and used to quick responses, and short attention spanned (There are multiple sources for this information, but these are the traits I remember off the top of my head). Over the past couple of days, this topic has come up a lot in professional and personal conversations, so I wanted to post about two things.
- My main concern with generational theory is that is categorizes the majority culture. Clearly, these "traits" of the generation generalize the group of people born in the 80s and 90s. While this can be helpful, the question I pose is, can it be harmful? In some ways, I think the answer is yes. As we hopefully move towards a more culturally aware and proficient society, using theories to educate individuals on large groups of people (i.e., generations) will be detrimental to our growth as a society. In other words, all generational theories do is make the majority culture look like the norm and continue to make others who don't fit into the "categories" feel oppressed. As the majority is written about, discussed, and catered to in educational environments, the theories reinforce themselves and therefore reinforce their status as the majority. I believe this can cause serious problems. Just some food for thought.
- I think this blog is a phenomenal conversation starter. I'd love to know what you think about it and how it provides a productive or destructive argument in the mix. It makes me go back to my first point and say, "I don't fit into this generalization," but then again I found myself saying, "Guilty as charged" to some of the points in this blog. It's almost inspiring in a weird way.