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The Boomer Stereotype

April 21, 2010

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomer Couple

I intensely dislike the designation “boomer” and “baby boomer” ~ and have from the first time I heard it. I do not like being stereotyped! It is a dreadful oversimplification of what it meant to come of age in the 60’s and all that it has taken to become who and what I am today. Baby boomers are individuals and people. I came to resent it even more when young people began to use the term, like somehow it gave them a personal, insider view of who we are, one that they had no right to.

I have begun to mellow just a bit ~ mostly by necessity. Boomer has become a convenient shorthand, especially in my work where I need to reach out to this group online. The internet demands a keyword approach. What better keyword than “boomer” when trying to reach people over 50?

The article “The Ironic Power of Stereotype”  however, brought up a point I had not thought about prior. Beyond the usual problems with stereotypes, they have the potential to take away our power by using up a chunk of our intellectual and creative energy by forcing us to react in some way to them.  When I am referred to as a “boomer” I cringe and become indignant. This requires attention from me that could be used more productively elsewhere if I did not have to react to the stereotype.

It would seem that  technology and viral communication are reinforcing our tendency to stereotype. Both of these things me pause.

If you have the time I highly recommend reading the blog post The Ironic Power of Stereotype.

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