Boomers' kids better wake up to tough world out there.

Letter to the editor of USA Today, Friday, October 9, 1998

The Cover Story "Generation Y: Boomers' kids a booming market" was entertaining, as fashion and pop culture goes (News, Tuesday). While Generation Y may be its keystone, pop culture is fleeting and of no consequence except to retailers.

But I found the prognosis for Generation Y to be as naive as Generation Y itself.

Not all Generation Y members are optimistic. Many poor white and minority members are pessimistic. Optimistic members are mainly white, middle- and upper-middle-class kids used to instant gratification. Their optimism comes from never knowing want or need. They know mom and dad will always provide a bed, food and "disposable income." They don't know most of their parents have been providing their nirvana on debt, a lifestyle with which they will become familiar.

While having the most access to information technology, they are also the most blissfully ignorant generation, with little grasp of its uses other than for personal entertainment. Ask them any geographical, political or economic question, and they will smile and say, "I dunno."

While possessing social skills among themselves, consisting of an inordinate amount of hugging and running their mouths, they cannot relate to generations preceding them. They don't want to. They see these generations as irrelevant annoyances to be ignored.

They fail to understand they will be the least-powerful generation yet. They will foot the bill for the political and economic power of the baby boomer generation and Generation X well into middle age.

If they existed in a bubble, we might shrug it off. But the Generation Y described in the article only exists in the U.S., while the Generation Y in the rest of the world has more in common with earlier generations in economic and political philosophy. Our children are ill-equipped emotionally, socially and educationally to compete.

Without a shift in the "optimistic" attitude of our Generation Y members, and the way we raise them, they will be a miserable group and a disaster for this nation.

C. K. Oxley

Jacksonville, Ala.

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