I think this final question about public perception of Millennials is really critical, and Mike's and Morley's answer - they make ten points - is great. I encourage folks to disseminate their remarks, because younger folks (and that includes those of us in our 30s) are really under attack through the use of institutional forces (there are individuals, too, but they wield power through institutions, so that's my focus in this critique).
Mike, Morley, and I are not alone in thinking, and agreeing, that there are troubling perceptions about Millennials. For instance, I spoke to a well-known author about the way older folks (not all of them, mind you) perceive youth - we talked about it over dinner on the first night I arrived in DC. The story she shared was anecdotal, but it hits on things that Mike and Morley discuss below. A good friend of hers thinks youth, well, basically suck. And they suck big time according to this older fellow.
At a time in which our social services for average Americans are being eviscerated, youth have become a menace (Henry A. Giroux, with whom I spoke several months ago, writes about this topic regularly). If you strip away services, and public education is one of those things, what happens to your society's youth? Their options, in many ways, have become incredibly limited already, and I fear it will only get worse. The ones who choose to go to college wind up graduating with mountains of debt that put the Himalayas to shame. (Then you have folks who go into the military to flee debt. A woman recently told me that she went to war to pay off her debt. She got her "head shot off," and finally got her loans discharged. She said jokingly, "that's a book right there"). So, if they don't go into the military - which is becoming harder to do - where do they go? What do they do? (And I am sure many of you are thinking about the recent events in London, just as I am). Those who are responsible for limiting their choices, and limiting it for millions of youth, start wagging their fingers, saying, "youth today . . . youth today are so selfish, entitled, and lazy." Yup. We erode social programs, leave folks with nothin,' and then point our fingers at those who are being screwed at every turn.
It ain't right, and that's what we have to change. That is yet another reason why Morley and Mike have given me hope.
On that note, let's here how they answered my final question.
CCJ: People (including reporters and journalists) oftentimes describe millennials as 'lazy,' 'politically-disengaged,' 'interested only in consumer goods,' etc., but what have your findings shown? Are these descriptions accurate?
2. Millennials are narcissistic, self-indulgent kids who think they are entitled to everything.
8. Millennials care only about what happens in their own country, community, and lives and not on what goes on in the rest of the world.
9. Millennials, like all generations, are rebels who are hostile to civic institutions and government.
10. Millennials are more focused on trivialities such as celebrities than on the big issues facing America.
False: Unlike some previous generations, Millennial celebrities and musical tastes are more acceptable to and compatible with their parents’ values because they reflect the generation’s love of teamwork and service to the community rather than rebellion. For example, a recent Pew survey indicates that rock music is the preferred genre of Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers. Rock, the music of rebellion in the 1950s and 1960s, is now mainstream. Moreover even as early as 2006, two years before Barack Obama’s candidacy, more than twice as many Millennials had voted for president than had voted on American Idol.