Weary of Bashing, She Cuts Boomers No Slack

By Frank, Elizabeth | The Florida Times Union, December 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

Weary of Bashing, She Cuts Boomers No Slack


Frank, Elizabeth, The Florida Times Union


For years I've been told I was selfish, cynical, unmotivated, functionally illiterate and destined to become a full-fledged slacker. During high school, I was on the honor roll and played three sports. I was active in my church and my community. Still, I was perpetually reminded of what a waste my life was going to be. I carried on and earned academic and athletic scholarships for college. I was president of my class and editor of my yearbook.

But above all else, I was labeled as lazy and self-involved and promised to become a bona fide burden on society. Countless peers were just as fruitful and were likewise condemned. Yes, you guessed correctly. I'm one of them, you know, Generation X. In our case, the deviants don't represent the norm. There are far more productive Xers then the stereotypical slackers.

If you were born before 1961, on behalf of the rest of Generation X, I would like to take a moment to clear a few things up. Commonly nicknamed the "Wasted Generation," we have heard quite a bit about our negative aspects and yet still, look around and notice all that we have accomplished. Fifty-six percent of us volunteer and 71 percent of us donate to charity. We see things on an increasingly global level. We are learning from your mistakes. We marry and have children later. We want to spend time with our families and hold this in highesteem.

Over the past couple of years, we have started our own businesses at twice the rate of previous Americans. We have ambition.

Have a little faith in us. After all, those in the tail end of Generation X are still teenagers, still growing and struggling to find their places. Considering it is we who will be supporting the baby boomers, the largest group of senior citizens in history, I would think you would want to face this with a bit more optimism.

OK, so perhaps you have some valid points. Maybe we aren't the most collectively bright generation. True, over 7 million teenagers are classified as functionally illiterate and almost half of the nation ages 21 to 25 lacks the basic skills to balance a checkbook or read a map.

The Washington Monthly reported that in 1992, $20,072 was spent on each prisoner, compared to a mere $4,000 per public school student. We rank 17th in the world for education spending, but lead in defense spending. …

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