OK Boomers, It’s Time to Stop

Generation Z is fighting back and Boomers aren't amused.


graphic by Michael Taffe

The "OK, Boomer" meme started on popular social media app Tik Tok and has since spread into the mainstream. Baby Boomers believe the meme is derogatory, while Millennials see it as a small price to pay for the damage done by Baby Boomer policies.

Michael Taffe, Technical Director

Starting on social media app Tik Tok, the “OK boomer” meme has provided endless amusement to Millennials and Generation Z. From a New Zealand Parliament Member shutting down a heckling colleague to the dozens of baby boomers writing articles complaining that the meme is an act of aggression or even a hate crime, the meme has spread to all aspects of media. 

Generation Z claims that the meme is a response to baby boomers repeatedly brushing their generation aside on issues such as climate change and reproductive rights. Baby boomers claim that the meme is ageist and have described the word “boomer” as a slur on par with other racial or religious slurs.

What is unclear to me is whether baby boomers are trolling or are genuinely hurt by the meme. To me, it seems likely that most boomers are pretending to be “triggered” by the meme in an attempt to mock younger generations for being what they perceive as sensitive. Others, though, seem truly offended that Millennials don’t appreciate all that the older generations have done for the country. 

Usually fighting with older generations means wearing shorter pants or listening to a new style of music. For Generation Z, the battle against Baby Boomers is the fate of the whole planet.”

Of course, baby boomers enjoyed a plethora of government subsidies for education that they took advantage of and then promptly took away. They then enjoyed a government that took away a large number of business restrictions allowing them to build monopolies and create barriers that prevent others from rising the corporate ranks. Now, boomers scoff when Generation Z and Millennials ask for federal help in paying off student loans or reducing health care costs.

At certain points, Boomer’s reactions have been downright rude. A senior VP of AARP, a company that specializes in saving people over 50 money, effectively said that millennials need to keep silent because “…we’re the people that actually have the money.”  The company has since issued an apology for the incident that people on Twitter described as “tone-deaf.”

Personally, I find the “OK, Boomer” meme funny and deserving. Although fairly centrist, I am more right-leaning than most of my generation. Yet, the blatant ignorance for modern problems by baby boomers, who have repeatedly shown a disregard for the environment and future generations in order to make a quick dollar, has baffled me at times. From denying climate change despite strong evidence from the scientific community to being completely confused when someone isn’t a Caucasian-Christian heterosexual, boomers have failed to adapt to the times. 

At some points, baby boomers’ condescending tones toward Millennials and Generation Z becomes funny. In particular, comics where a child can’t figure out how to turn a book page because they can’t swipe it like an iPad provide endless comedy. Like, OK, Boomer, you can’t send an email without five trips to tech support. And see who’s laughing when you transfer half of your retirement fund to a Nigerian Prince.

In the end, every generation has its own problems. Similarly, it is natural for there to be a clash between younger and older people as social norms change. To me, the difference this time around is what is at stake. Usually fighting with older generations means wearing shorter pants or listening to a new style of music. For Generation Z, the battle against baby boomers is the fate of the whole planet.