Op-Ed: Gen Z’s pragmatic politics could be a key to ending polarization, racial strife
If you listen closely to the media, you’d think that there’s a deep divide between Gen Z (and Gen Y, before) and the rest of society, and that this divides have grown over the past few years.
The media often refers to this generation as “Generation Y” — which is misleading, since there is only one generation — but the general consensus is that the generation that follows Gen Z is referred to as “Generation Next.” With its young and energetic members, Generation Next represents the baby boomers who are now in their 80s and early 90s.
Gen Y tends to be seen more negatively and is portrayed as more immature and selfish. This is somewhat ironic, since Gen Y is the result of the Baby Boom generation’s work ethic and drive to succeed and move up in the ranks. And, yes, when the Internet goes viral, everyone is quick to call it a generational divide. But there is no separation between Gen Y and Gen X — the boomers after the baby boomers — and Gen Y is not at all like Gen X.
When it comes to politics, Generation Next is a new and rapidly growing political class. The younger generation and Gen Z are the first in their generation to have the chance to get involved and have a say in politics.
What Generation Next?
The Gen Next represents what the generation called the millennial generation from the 2010 census. (As of 2016 we are up to approximately 38 million total Americans and 23 million millennials under the age of 25.)
Millennials, in general, are defined by the Pew Research Center as those between the ages of 18 and 35, the age that the Gen Z identifies with most strongly. If you look at what Gen Z says about his generation you’ll see its similar attitudes toward work and technology. The Gen Next tends to be more technologically savvy than Gen Z and also believes more in the power of their ideas and ability to take a stand, which is an apt description of how they see the internet and social media