Kennedy DuBose

I’m often unsure of people’s perceptions of millennials, and the opinions are either one extreme or the other -- some say that we’re self absorbed, misled, lazy, uncreative, extremely privileged kids with the world at our fingertips; others say that our liberalism and innovation will paint the future. I believe the latter. Millennials are the future; we’re more liberal, open minded and accepting than ever before. 

Generations, like people, have personalities, and us millennials (teens and young adults) are expressing ours: self-expressive, confident, liberal, and open to change. We embody and embrace diversity, ethnically and racially. We’re less religious, less conservative, and we’re going to become perhaps the most educated generation in American history.

Millennials have taken political involvement to a new level. Donald Trump is your local high school bully, a racist, a rapist, and this November, he became the president of the United States. This election, a process full of promises to “ban muslims,” “build a wall” to separate Mexicans and Americans, telling the people of Detroit, my hometown, that we have “nothing to lose,” has resulted in backlash against minorities/women in America following Trump’s success. Hillary Clinton coined the term “super predators” in regards to black men. As a result, we commanded change. Two of the three creators of the #BlackLivesMatter movement were millennials, and young adults make up a majority of the following. The BLM movement has unquestionably made a HUGE impact on American society and values, and has taught black youth that change can happen if unity does. The Women’s March on Washington brought out millions of young people, fighting for long-earned, over-deserved equality. 

Along with racial, religious, and gender equality, body positivity and self love is celebrated amongst millennials. People of all colors, sizes and genders are embraced and represented with movements such as #bodyposi and #blackout . Our generation is the most inclusive, understanding, and loving generation there is; bullying is shamed and we promote positivity and self-expression. 

As accepting and open as we are, generation Y has made mental health as much of a priority as physical health. We are the most anxious, stressed generation, but everyday we’re opening up discussions about mental health and making it less of a “restricted,” “patronizing” topic. Personally speaking, I’ve watched some of my peers suffer from mental illness in silence because mental health is a taboo. I want to become a psychiatrist and defeat the stigma mental health has, although people on twitter are already taking steps to accomplish this. Mental health is not weakness. Underrepresented individuals should be able to get help, and millennials have opened their arms to accepting and discussing mental health, defeating any barriers between people and accessible help. 

Millennials are smart. Millennials are open minded. Millennials are independent. We are strong, liberal, confident, outspoken, well-rounded, and kind. People dislike millennials because we aren’t traditional and we can’t “follow” behind old, seemingly “working” customs. But perhaps we want to work for ourselves. Perhaps we are the pioneers of a better tomorrow.