by Ryan Mayo
Abstract: The millennial generation tends to see social realities primarily through the lens of group identity and inter-group relations, which often shapes the dialogue in unhelpful and distorted ways. Facebook’s expansion of gender options in 2014 highlights the moral fuzziness at play in some Millennial perspectives regarding the current issues of inequality, identity, and marginalization.
In 50 years, it may be difficult to sort out the legacy of the Millennial generation1 on the American cultural landscape2. Millennials will certainly be commended for their collective bravery in social movements, as nearly every “marginalized” group is rapidly becoming “unmarginalized”. Our great-grandchildren will read that homosexuality, for example, has gone from a psychiatric disorder to an acceptable – even championed – lifestyle in just two generations3. Either by inheriting the social inertia of their parents or by developing their own activist muscles, Millennials are currently shaking the world.
Perhaps, though, in our haste to normalize each and every minority status with respect to race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, weight, ability, and intelligence, the courageous Millennials are displaying laziness in asking fundamental questions. Is progress always progress if we’re unsure of the goal? Is it a moral good that a human being can publicly identify in a category that didn’t exist 20 years ago? Who are the gatekeepers for legitimizing an orientation or an experience?