Open Letter to Johnny Oleksinski: From One Millennial to Another — Take a Seat

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By Tayllor Johnson

Dear Johnny Oleksinski,

“Entitlement, dependency, nonstop complaining, laziness, Kardashians?” Really? The Lousiest Generation? While I admit that I do not understand some things about the millennials, I would not demean them as you did in your article.

To be a millennial means you were born within a certain time frame. The generalizations and critiques that you ascribe to my generation relate to a limited population, which we expect from mainstream media. It does not surprise me that you cite the experiences of two White individuals as evidence of millennial entitlement.

The millennials who I know don’t build tree houses. They start businesses … while they do Snapchat. After reading your article I wondered what generation you wrote about. It seemed that you described a limited and diluted generational image that someone offered to you. Either millennials are lazy and entitled … or media and pop culture disseminate and profit off a stereotype.

Friends and family often describe me as an old soul, which saved me from being looped in with the rest of the millennials. I like black-and-white movies, music from the 80s and early 90s, and am infatuated with old jazz and the past. I want to be a scholar … not a Kardashian. My old-soul tendencies notwithstanding, I learn constantly.

At 23, I still strive to make sense of my life and own the right to be vocal about that process. At 26 years old, you don’t know everything. When did youth become a curse, worthy of punishment? Bashing a generation simply for being in their early 20s and maybe not getting it just yet doesn’t make sense and strikes me as counterproductive. Old souls don’t deserve a gold star for being ahead of the curve, but rather we carry a responsibility to pay it forward.

My generation confuses me. We obsess on other people’s lives as a form of escapism while indulging ourselves. I mentor and teach to break the stereotypes about millennials. Someone — a Generation Xer not a meme — once told me not to complain or to critique without a solution. My question for you is: What’s your solution? You don’t put forth any ideas to inspire change in millennials.

You make valid points about the portrayal of millennials in mainstream media, but something seems missing from your analysis of the Lousiest Generation. Do you know the recent grad from Haiti who wants to start her business and earns a fellowship? What about the young writer who works menial jobs while perfecting his craft? Johnny, maybe you need to do more research than simply reading Buzz Feed. You might find out how serious we are about changing the world for the better.