Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Open To Thinking: The Millennials and the American Dream
A recurring column
by Nick Patricca
2014-07-09

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The grandchildren of the mostly white Americans who lived the reality of this great solid middle-class dream inherited a very different world from the one their grandparents enjoyed or anticipated.

The Millennials, those born between c. 1980 and c. 2000, live and work in a world in which: employer-based healthcare plans are up for grabs; pensions are ancient history; secure long-term work at one company is rarely possible and often not desirable; and home ownership, if affordable, is questionable. Even that symbol of American freedom and personal power, the automobile, is not looking all that attractive any more.

Statistically, it is true that the dramatic change of expectations that accompanies these huge economic and cultural changes in our society belongs mostly to the children ( ages 18—36 ) of middle and upper middle-class white parents. Most immigrants, Hispanics, and Blacks tend to continue to articulate the goals and values of the classic American Dream. Nonetheless, the world in general and the U.S. world in particular in which they seek to make real this classic Dream have changed as have the paths to achieve it.

William Strauss and Neil Howe, the 'biographers' of the Millennials, have created several profiles of the typical Millennial adult which have been statistically researched. Millennials are less likely to identify with institutions; they are more likely to use networks ( and to change networks frequently ). Three out of four declare themselves to be religious, but they do not necessarily affiliate with an institutional church, though they often associate their spirituality with a religious tradition. And, as for the issue of the content of their American Dream, a whopping 75% consider WEALTH to be the primary goal or objective or value. The Millennials judge WEALTH to be THE TOOL to the achievement of their American Dream whatever its contents or values might be.

I am reminded of a cartoon in which two Millennials are sitting in the current hip Café-of-choice sipping their perfect espressos when a well-dressed obviously hyper successful young man enters to order his perfect latte. The one Millennial comments to the other: "I hear he's a real hot shot, on his way up to the big time." The other Millennial wryly quips: "He's over 40, isn't retired, and hasn't launched his own IPO."

My own entirely unscientific, informal, and totally arbitrary survey of Millennials over a period of two months confirms that the primary goal for most is 'to get rich.' This 'selfish' goal is complemented by two almost equally primary objectives: to do meaningful work and to make the world a better place.

One hopes that the Millennials don't wait until they are rich before living the other two values.

Another special quality I have found in Millennials is their wondrous ability to live with FLUX: to not only adapt to rapid change of technical tools and basic knowledge but to exploit it immediately for practical objectives, even idealistic goals—using Twitter to effect social change and Youtube to reach vast new audiences with new as well as old art forms.

The Millennials were told they were 'special' and that they could do or be anything they put their hearts and minds to. When they graduated from college or graduate school or professional school and encountered the real world they found out that not everyone on the team gets a trophy, win, lose or draw. Some seem to have been broken by this failure of the world to acknowledge and reward their specialness. Some get cast adrift by dangerous rip currents of debt burdens and poor job markets. But a significant number seem to be shrugging off the uncertainties of the times and the impediments to their dreams to embrace the unprecedented opportunities spawned by our contemporary world of constant change.

The Millennials are prepared to destroy conventional companies in order to create new kinds of profit-seeking enterprises; they are prepared to destroy traditional education in order to create new forms of learning; they are prepared to destroy establishment politics to create more responsive and responsible government.

Let's hope they know what they are doing.

Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago, president of Chicago Network and playwright emeritus at Victory Gardens Theater.

© nicholas.patricca@gmail.com


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...


Gay News

We need to talk about the 'Pose' hospital episode right now 2019-08-07 - The TV show Pose, on FX, is nothing less than astounding to me. So much could have gone wrong, with the era, the ...


Gay News

OP-ED How 'Queen Sugar' increases Black LGBTQ visibility 2019-08-06 - In 2018, there were more LGBTQ people of color on TV than their white counterparts. OWN's Queen Sugar is part of a quiet ...


Gay News

Volumes of racism, xenophobia on blast 2019-07-24 - The first time I heard the racial trope "Go back to where you came from," I was getting off of a school bus ...


Gay News

LETTER Ruffled feathers 2019-07-23 - Dear Editor: Recently, I was waiting for two friends on the patio and talking to my sister on the phone. A ...


Gay News

Larry Kramer gives us one more chance to wake the f*ck up 2019-07-10 - Our friend Larry Kramer, the godfather of the AIDS activism movement, hasn't lost his edge. That should surprise no one. In his speech ...


Gay News

Moments in the Public Health Response to AIDS, CDPH LGBTQ Outreach Keynote June 28 2019-07-01 - Chicago Department of Public Health LGBTQ Outreach Keynote Speech, given by Tracy Baim, June 28, 2019, Chicago Cultural Center The following keynote speech ...


Gay News

Looking back, looking forward 2019-06-26 - As we look forward to the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and celebrate PRIDE month, I think about progress made—but also about work ...


Gay News

We remember, we celebrate, we believe 2019-06-18 - There is a lot of remembering, celebrating and believing going on right now. The "uprising" at the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago represents ...


Gay News

LETTER Respecting elders 2019-06-18 - Dear Editor: No one likes to talk about it, but it happens every day. However, this crisis remains vastly underidentified and underreported. ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.