“And your level of frankness verges on subordination.”
In a March 2016 article, this was the message the The New York Times sent to young adults all across the world. But fast forward to January 2018, and it’s a whole new ball game. Now, The New York Times wants us, the millennials to highlight our voices. Well, it’s about time.
This call for young voices found me in my room on a school night, stopping my homework instantly to begin an application for featured writer at “The Edit,”a newsletter produced by The New York Times focused on appealing to college-aged and young adults.
There wasn’t any fancy formatting or trick questions. The application just asked two things: Who are you and what’s your biggest pet peeve about the way people write about your generation? That’s easy enough.
Well, dear New York Times, my biggest pet peeve is the label in which even your articles have placed negative stereotypes upon my generation. We publicize the outrageous acts of defiance by my generation, but often lose sight of the heartbeat driving this passionate generation.
And it’s clear I’m not alone. Two months later, and The New York Times has received 20,000 applications from young adults from West Virginia to West Africa. My generation – both liberal and conservative, gay and straight, black and white – is not afraid to speak up against these negative labels placed upon them. Exhibit A, B, C.
We demand our rights.
My generation’s voice looks like Malala Yousafzai, advocating each day for the rights of women and the education system. Even at Hesston College, where education is open to all, females on the Dean’s list outnumber males 2:1 for the Fall 2017 semester and have historically out-shined males for more than 10 years. Women deserve education. In fact, they own it, even when they’ll make significantly less money than their male peers. Women are speaking for their rights on this topic, and many others. Entitlement? If entitlement wins you Nobel Peace Prizes, then we will not back down.
We use our voices.
My generation’s voice looks like my classmates, marching for women’s rights, participating in a nationwide walkouts against gun violence and striving for equality for all. This only comes after millennials participated by actively voting in their first election, an election that marked many turning points for our country. As a majority of millennials stood behind candidate Bernie Sanders, we demanded an education we could afford. We said all people, all immigrants of our generation deserve fair policy. While the nation turned us down, our voices have clearly not been muted.
We made people uncomfortable.
And lastly, my generation’s voice is controversial. Sometimes fitting the stereotype, sometimes contradicting it. Here at Hesston College, students spent chapel challenging the faculty to appeal to all students. For Red Gerard, recent gold medalist for Team USA in snowboarding slopestyle, he woke up late, lost his coat and swore on TV all before winning a gold medal. Some say “every millennial ever,” but I say no.
And I am not alone.
To the people who write about my generation as entitled, frank and insubordinate. The millennial generation has a voice. We’re already using it.
We will continue to uncover the truth, the raw reality of our world. Because only by doing this can we humanize society, can we humanize the media.
And so as I wait to hear back about my New York Times application, I’m not too hopeful I will be picked among 20,000 applicants. But would I do it again?