At one point or another, a complete disconnect of future perspectives from our parents and any loved ones who raised us is experienced. This happens after their goals and ambitions move us along in life far enough to mature into expectations of us. Things they somewhat demand of our entire being as a sort of billboard of their parenting. When we’re adults, we even convince ourselves that it’s just a part of human nature and maybe it is in some regard. Yet it’s imperative we acknowledge that not one generation is wholly parallel to any other. Generation X behaves as if the world hasn’t evolved to fit their needs like those that came before them. They forget their expectations of us were only reachable due to the circumstances they came along in.
Millennials are, in the grand scheme of things, at a disadvantage our predecessors don’t relate to. Black, Latinx, and other POC millennials take the brunt of this disadvantage more than our white peers. The theme of our upbringing is the emergence into independence yet the economic society we’ve inherited refuses to allow it. Our parents always tell of their self-sufficiency & how they were young adults thrown into the world. Resulting in them being able to move out in their early twenties and consecutively starting a family. Today, it would have to be an economic miracle for me as a 24-year-old to have both a job and house while being able to maintain the two without fail.
The economic crisis this year following the COVID-19 outbreak has even made maintaining our wealth, education, career, and housing harder:
Wealth – Our twenties is usually when financial debt for middle class Americans starts to accumulate. There is still a gap between white and black earnings, allowing white millennials to make around $40,000 more than black young adults. The differentiating factor between most millennials when it comes to race, wealth & occupation is their college education.
Education – If there is a bright side to all this, millennials received about 29% more of a higher education than generation x. More importantly, millennial women received 23% more education than generation x women & 7% more than millennial men. Yet the “typical black household headed by someone with an advanced degree has less wealth than a white household with only a high school diploma.” In other words, as hard as we try, we still have to do twice the work to get half of what we deserve.
Career- Despite being dubbed the modern “lazy” generation, millennials, specifically black women, have carried more than their own weight. Pew Social Trends’ recent polls show that they make up about 72% of the women in the workforce.
Housing – Due to the 2008 recession and the current pandemic, housing looks like less of an option for millennials than it did for Gen X. This is why 22% of us millennial Americans are staying home longer than our predecessors. Homeownership is a responsibility met with economic obstacles like racial prejudice, rent control, and loan debt. In a Washington Post article, it is revealed only 44% of blacks are homeowners when compared to 74% whites.
It is because of these many obstacles young black people suffer from depression and anxiety worldwide. Societal pressures leave them feeling distressed, hopeless, and even suicidal. In a 2019 survey, 17 out of 20 millennials revealed to have been diagnosed as depressed by a healthcare provider.
It is important to find a balance of remembering parent’s helpful advice while also making our own decisions. In a New York Post interview, author of “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind” Jill Filipovic states that perceptions of change are remarkably cyclical. Every generation looks at the young and chafes at the idea that they are doing things differently,” she concludes. “Every generation seems to have a particular kind of amnesia and forgets that they, too, were once the kids-doing-it-wrong.”
I’m not trying to completely negate all the morals and ideals we received. Though, we are in a world that’s already working against us. Maybe we should work with what we’ve been given and move forward in our own way.
By Jakim L.