BLOG: Okay, Boomer … it’s your move

The phrase okay, boomer is often seen as an attack against older generations–but what if we start seeing it differently? (source: Elevate/Unsplash)

It was the Tweet heard around the world (or rather, heard for its five minute–long spot in the news cycle). As the phrase okay, boomer quickly became the newest ‘it’ phrase, there was a corresponding rave of criticism. Just as quickly as Millennials and Generation Z were using it, baby boomers were labelling the phrase as disrespectful and dismissive of their efforts.

And this brings us to the Tweet. In 2019, Conservative American radio host Bob Lonsberry claimed the phrase was equivalent to the n–word. And while he soon deleted the Tweet, much of the backlash and discussion it sparked remained.

A screenshot showing Lonsberry’s infamous Tweet (source:

To be very clear, a slang phrase is in no way equivalent to a slur born from white supremacy and used to dehumanise and degrade Black people. The two simply aren’t comparable. And while Lonsberry soon deleted the Tweet and okay, boomer quickly faded from public discussion as the news cycle moved on, I’ve been thinking about it lately. While the phrase has been described as the “digital equivalent of an eye roll” towards baby boomers by the New York Times, its frequent use in discussions of topics like climate action, racial justice and wealth re–distribution makes me think the outrage to it is more calculated. That is, I think the sustained outrage to okay boomer is often weaponised to dismiss and delegitimise the questions and commendations of younger people in favour of the status quo.

See, Lonsberry’s Tweet did make me think about why this phrase was so offensive considered so offensive … mainly by older folks. Yes, I understand that nobody likes to be judged or stereotyped on things they can’t control, including their age–and no one should be judged or mocked or considered less capable on their age. Also, to be clear, I disagree with simply saying ‘ok boomer’ anytime someone older than you dares to do something you don’t like.

But I also think there is a middle ground. Where the actions of older generations are placed within their political and social context, but they are not dismissed with the ‘it was another time excuse.’ Where the younger generations aren’t dismissed and sent to the kids table when politics comes up at family reunions. Where the outrage to the questions from and criticisms made by younger people aren’t seen as more important than the questions and criticisms themselves.

If we start seeing okay, boomer differently, then I think society will come to understand younger generations have a lot to bring to discussions of the social, political, racial, economic and cultural issues of today. Don’t just take it from me–listen to the Greta Thunbergs and Malala Yousafzais of the world, who are showing that old age doesn’t always equate to wisdom or compassion. They’re showing us that youth can be an asset, and I don’t think you want to get left behind, do you?

And to those who tie use of okay boomer, to an attack, no matter the context: okay, boomer, whatever you say.