“‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism. Being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is now.” — A tweet by conservative radio show host Bob Lonsberry, 11/3/19.
The first time somebody on the internet called me a “boomer,” I checked myself into a hospital for acute psychological trauma. Words have power. They carry weight, and “boomer” is extremely heavy hate speech. I don’t want to compare the offensiveness of various slurs, but “boomer” is worse than every racial epithet combined.
My culture deserves respect. I refuse to be reduced to a slur just because my people decimated the environment, tanked the economy, and just generally ruined things for the foreseeable future. Simply put, if you call me a “boomer,” then you are committing a hate crime against the most marginalized of communities.
“Boomer” is not just a word, it’s a genuine expression of hate. When I express a horrific opinion on climate change, one thousand comments calling me a “boomer” hold within them unspeakable bigotry and dehumanization. I don’t want to live in a country where words such as “boomer” or “white” or “man” or “upper-middle-class” can be weaponized against me. I don’t deserve to have my generation’s negative impact on the planet plainly laid out in front of me. I shudder just thinking of what might happen to me if I have to read a single other internet comment calling me a “boomer.” My life is the hardest life of all.
No other demographic could possibly understand what it’s like to be called a slur that harks you back to a time of great oppression and hardship. My generation is suffering a unique plight that outweighs any previous suffering by any minority group in history. We are occasionally made fun of for having antiquated outlooks on tax policy and healthcare. Our suffering at the hands of bigotry is profound and deep. Yet, where are our reparations? Where is our museum? Where is our history month?
Forcing a generation to reckon with all the irreparable damage they’ve done is hate speech and I will not stand for it. Pointing out how we are obsessed with tax cuts dehumanizes us. We just want to peacefully continue living in a world of severe income inequality, why does that give you the right to call us “boomers”? Just because “boomer” is the literal name of my generation doesn’t make it acceptable language to use in today’s society.
I’ve always thought minorities in this country exaggerated the harrowing effect of pejorative slurs. But, now that I’ve been relentlessly called a “boomer” on the internet, I can finally relate to America’s many marginalized communities and their traumas. We are now one and the same: victims of structural inequality. Luckily, we have solved racism and sexism as a society and have no more work to do on those two fronts, but we still have quite a ways to go when it comes to vitriolic bigotry against people born between 1946 and 1964.