Why Black Millennials Will Be Better Parents Than Generations Before
It's time to acknowledge that this generation may make a better future.
We are a generation of double taps and selfies who have perfected the art of the filter glo' up. And what's so wrong with that? Before we get into the merits of millennial slander, let's acknowledge that we are also a generation of the tech boom who barely remember the Bill Clinton scandal, but we do remember owning Giga pets and when the theme songs to major cartoons were actually lit. Not to mention, the first president we were old enough to vote for was Obama. Our ideas about culture, society and our relationship with technology are just...different.
While some of the jokes about millennials being narcissistic and entitled make for a good chuckle, we aren't just obsessed with clicks and likes. So when you see us on our phones, we aren't just searching for the gag; the actual gag is that we can promote positive conversation and the transformation of black culture with just a retweet.
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We hear enough about how millennials overshare on social media, freely use profanity and don't dress or act appropriately, but there are some other ways that millennials are confusing Baby Boomers and will ultimately, be better parents.
If you don't believe me, just think about the following:
Gender is gender, and that's final?Photo: Logo TV
Do you remember that moment when you realized that gender was a thing? You knew your mom would never buy you a Tonka truck as a girl or that exposing your little brother for playing with Barbies would hands-down embarrass him. Now, we are seeing hashtags dedicated to #blackboyjoy or #blackgayslay where young black men are celebrated for wearing flower crowns, showing emotion and wearing their natural hair. While a few hashtags won't solve all of our problems, we are fueling more conversations about being black, non-gender conforming and the idea of being carefree.
So the next time someone thinks they can use "gay" as an adjective or shame someone for not falling in line with gender roles, there's a millennial waiting to drag you on Twitter.
It's OK to be quirky, nerdy or a little awkward.Photo: Giphy
Issa Rae's The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl gave this generation a good taste of what it's like being black and "uncool." While movies like Dope did little for this conversation (sorry, not sorry), we are now seeing people like Jay Versace become popular for their sense of style and sometimes awkward humor. We are revisiting online communities to support girls who love tech or nerd culture. We are finally embracing that blackness is diverse!
We (finally) acknowledge that mental health is important.Photo: Giphy
The best thing we did as a generation was to give our parents and grandparents the side eye when they suggested prayer instead of talking to someone about our struggle with mental illness. We are talking more about the signs, how to prevent it and how to help someone. Social media has also become an oasis for discovering those black wellness/self-care advocates like Alexander Hardy or co-founder of Black Girl In Om, Lauren Ash. If we've begun to understand the truth about being a "strong black woman" or that it's OK to struggle, our children are better off.
We aren't here for underrepresentation. At. All.Photo: Giphy
Settling for a black barbie doll just isn't going to cut it. We want to know if the products we use represent our communities, we want the magazines we read to reflect our current struggle and for our bodies to be seen positively in media. Future generations will know that it isn't groundbreaking to be inclusive. It should be expected.
We want equality, and we want it now.Photo: Giphy
We have more tools to spread the word, to take action and get informed. Our children will come out of the womb knowing that they deserve more and they can do something about it. More importantly, we have young black figures like Yara Shahidi, Amandla Steinberg and Zendaya who are using their platform to promote equality and challenge others to come correct if needed. Just turning the other cheek isn't the only way to be heard, and even if we are just considered "Twitter activists," we recognize that we do not live in a vacuum; our collective struggle should never be ignored. If your feminism isn't intersectional, we don't want it. If #alllivesmatter, then it should be a problem that black ones don't. If you don't like it, we actually don't care.
We want to be self-made.Photo: Giphy
We are nothing like our parents in the job market. We are debunking the school-to-corporate job pipeline and even starting our own companies. Millennials are challenging corporate culture, and deciding that you don't have to settle for a job instead of your passion. We won't chase opportunities just to climb the traditional ladder when we can become influencers to work with our favorite brands or create our own boutique online. While some may think millennials are lazy, we will teach future generations to use their time efficiently and never settle. Did I mention black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs? We are candidly about this life.
We know our worth, and we aren't afraid to do the most.Photo: The CW Television Network
Selfies are self-care too! Using online spaces, we celebrate who we are and while some call it oversharing, we make it clear that we here to stay. Maybe more of our children will be better off if they know how to flex early? There is power in the flex, people!
Millennial slander is an easy way to get nostalgic about the "good ol' days," but past generations should actually be proud that they've contributed to a generation that can teach their kids more progressive ideas about what it means to be free, independent and demanding of equality.