Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author

Share
Opinion

My surprising findings about Generation Z

Jun 4

Share

Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author

Share

Generation Z comprises people born between 1996 and 2010. This generation’s identity has been shaped by the digital age, climate anxiety, a chaotic financial landscape and a global pandemic. Gen Zers, as the first true digital natives, are extremely online, and spend much of their time working, shopping, dating and making friends online.

Watch the above video as Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette explains his initial skepticism about Gen Z and then shares his unexpected findings.


Be the first to know when Ruben Navarrette publishes a new opinion every Tuesday! Download the Straight Arrow News app and enable push notifications today!


The following excerpt is from the above video:

I was skeptical at first, I wasn’t sure that the kids’ shoulders could sustain the weight of much analysis. Was there any “there there,” I wondered? See, I’ve heard from boomers and Xers who manage young people in the “Z.” The critiques are usually brutal, all about how twenty-somethings don’t speak up, don’t take initiative, don’t make decisions, about how they’re super woke and they want the employer to reconfigure itself to accommodate the worker, not the other way around — about how they say money isn’t that important to them, but they’re still entitled and they want to keep living the lives to which they’ve become accustomed.

The World War II generation saved the world. The baby boom thought the world revolved around them. And Generation Z, well, they don’t even live in the real world, or so I thought.

I had to find out for myself so I’ve taken on a number of projects that often put me in front of high school and college students. I talk, they listen. They talk and I listen and take notes. I’ve come away impressed. Generation Z is painstakingly deliberate, tech savvy, task oriented, politically engaged, desperate to be heard, and ready to leave the world better than they found it. The kids are alright. It’s the rest of us I worry about

NASCAR, they like to say, if you ain’t rubbing, you ain’t racing. Well, there are five different generations racing through life. And now and then they all get to rubbin. There’s a silent generation laid back bunch, which is now roughly in their 80s and early 90s. The baby boom, still traumatized by Vietnam. In their late 60s and 70s. Generation X, my peeps, my tribe, the hairstyles were wack, but the music was on point. We’re now in our late 40s, and 50s. The millennials, aka the specials are in their 30s and early 40s. Then there’s Generation Z, now in their teens, and 20s. My kids are in there. Of course, all those tribes are not likely to get along. generations are expected to have conflict with one another now and then they were raised differently. They came of age in different eras. They see the world differently. They probably have different ideas about America. And honestly, a few of them just don’t like sharing the stage with any other cohort. For instance, you have the baby boomers, who love themselves and dislike everyone else. During the Vietnam War, the children Woodstock Warren, don’t trust anyone over 30 But by the time the Clinton ministration arrived on the scene, they were in their 40s And so they started looking back and hating on the kids and Generation X. Former new republic columnist Michael Kinsley fired off a memorable Zinger during those years. Quote, these kids today they’re soft, he wrote, they don’t know how good they have it. Not only did they never have to fight in a war, they never even had to dodge one. See, at least the columnist was honest about the reason for his sour mood he wrote quote, no one was ever supposed to be younger than we are. Well, good thing we extra is has slogan to it was short and sweet. Yeah, whatever. As the latchkey generation, we basically raised ourselves and cooked our own after school meals, we got our first civics lesson from the Watergate hearings. When it interrupted the Flintstones, we learned how government works from watching Schoolhouse Rock, we cast our first votes for Ronald Reagan, and that in some cases, never vote again. I’ve been writing about generations for three decades, and 1984, I co host that nightly radio show for ABC Radio in Los Angeles, that was aimed at Generation X. For the last year, I’ve been on a project I’ve been observing, studying, conversing with and most importantly, listening to the members of Generation Z. I was skeptical at first, I wasn’t sure that the kids shoulders could sustain the weight of much analysis. Was there any there there? I wondered. See, I’ve heard from boomers and xers who match young people in the Z. The critiques are usually brutal all about how 20 Somethings don’t speak up, don’t take initiative don’t make decisions about how they’re super woke. And they want the employer to reconfigure itself to accommodate the worker, not the other way around. About how they say money isn’t that important to them, but they’re still entitled and they want to keep living the lives to which they become accustomed. The World War Two generation save the world. The baby boom thought the world revolved around them. And Generation Z. Well, they don’t even live in the real world. Or so I thought I had to find out for myself. So I’ve taken on a number of projects that often put me in front of high school and college students. I talk They listen. They talk and I listen and take notes. I’ve come away impressed. Generation Z is painstakingly deliberate, tech savvy, task oriented, politically engaged, desperate to be heard and ready to leave the world better than they found it. The kids are alright. It’s the rest of us I worry about

More from Ruben Navarrette