‘Ok Boomer’: Innocent Joke or Hateful Slur?


Macyn Ward

“Ok boomer” is the new viral phrase used by teens and young adults worldwide.

“Ok boomer” is a phrase almost every Gen-Z’er knows ever since it took hold on an app called Tik Tok. Along with the ‘Karen’ meme, this phrase is traditionally used to reference a Baby Boomer (someone born between 1946 and 1964) who has mostly conservative views. The New York Times even wrote an article with the headline “‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations”. So clearly, people are taking this seriously, but is that what it was meant to become?

For most teens, they see it as a joke with a bit of seriousness behind it. Boomers have been calling Generation Z and Millennials lazy, snowflakes, and sensitive ever since they started speaking up about what they thought mattered in this world. So when the opportunity arose for us to fire back at the older generation, why not take it? “Ok Boomer” has given the teens a little bit of the power back, a short and sweet phrase which conveys the message that it doesn’t matter what they say anymore, the future is us and we’re going to do what we want.

However, some Baby Boomers have taken offense to this new viral meme. Some call it a slur, claiming it to be a fire at the older generation purely for having different beliefs than most teens today. However, just because someone finds a word or phrase offensive, it doesn’t make it a slur. While there are arguments on both sides, most of us can agree that Boomers jumping from slight insult to slur is a bit sensitive. 

Although, “Ok Boomer” is also a multipurpose tool that isn’t just used on the typical baby boomer. People are also found saying it to Gen X, the generation directly below Baby Boomers, since some beliefs held by Baby Boomers go hand in hand with Gen X. People have also turned the phrase into a response to practically anything, from signs displaying controversial topics to TV shows that just killed off their favorite character. “Boomer isn’t an age, it’s a state of mind,” said Sam Houston, an 8th grader at McPherson Middle School.

While we don’t know how long ‘Ok Boomer’ will remain a prominent phrase in the vocabulary of young people, we can all enjoy the jokes and memes that come with it while it lasts. And who knows, maybe years from now when all the Baby Boomers are gone, we’ll still be saying ‘Ok Boomer’ to whatever is ruining our life that particular day.

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