A Hope For Better Times?

Millenials are and have been a subject of great interest; for one thing they represent the future, for another they are the generation, 18 to 34, sought after by advertisers and media execs. Sometimes they are depicted as idealistic, sometimes as forging their way separate from their parents, and sometimes of course in negative terms. That was apparently what happened after several instances of students making demands from their respective universities. An article in Quartz related how some university officials then called them whiners and coddlers and in order to debunk the idea, the author decided to quote a few statistics, some of which I am sharing here.
• About 1/3 of all college students are first generation.
• 43% of millennials are of color, and deal on a daily basis with the challenges of white privilege.
• 26% of undergraduates are raising dependent children.
• One in 5 female students will be sexually assaulted in college.
• 70% of college students have student debt. Nationwide, that adds up to $1.2 trillion—a per student average of $29,000.
• Student debt is higher for black students. In 2013, 42% of black families carried student loan debt, compared to 28% of white families.
• 40% of the nation’s unemployed are millennials
• By the age of 23, nearly half of black males and 40% of white males have been arrested.
As a generation, millenials are caught in some of the key problems of our time, inequality, race relations, social mobility; they will not only have student loans and may or may not be able to pay both the loan and save for a down payment for a house, they will also inherit the consequences—problematic I might add—of partisanship and a world order very much in disorder. I know several young people in that age group who seem to be a bit lost, who have been supported by their parents financially and emotionally and who expect life to somehow continue to provide certain comforts for them. And yet when I read these statistics and apply them to others I know, I can’t help but be impressed by their handling of the obstacles before them. I know that many are and will surmount their personal and societal obstacles and that some will exercise their highest and best self to improve not only their lives but that of their children and communities. And if they can overcome their obstacles in sufficient numbers, they weaken those obstacles and create hope for better times.