The Brief: The phrase "Ok Boomer" has caused quite a stir, with some people labeling it as a slur, while Gen Z-ers continue to mock them with it.
Is ‘Ok Boomer’ A Slur?
Ok, Boomers, Zoomers, Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Silent Generation-ers, let’s talk about “ok boomer.” A meme and dismissive insult popular among people between ages 12 and 24, “ok boomer” is a way to tell someone off for acting closed-minded or ignorant. While it is derived from a shorthand term for Baby Boomers, the insult usually has less to do with someone’s age than it does with their politics, mindset, and actions. It’s a Millennial and Gen Z clap back to people who have been calling them easily triggered snowflakes for years.
In classic Gen Z style, “Ok boomer” deals with some serious issues like generational, class, and political divides, in an ironic and jokey way. Those who have been particularly offended by this term, mostly Boomers and Gen X-ers with conservative views play right into the joke’s hands by criticizing it. When they reveal how offended they are by this, they also show how they’ve failed to “get” the joke or be in-the-know about the meme.
While usage of the term certainly can be ageist, it’s largely a critique of broader issues than one’s birth year alone. “Ok boomer” relies on generalizations made about the Baby Boomer generation, often as a response to generalizations that have been made about younger ones. On social media, many young users of the phrase have clarified that “boomer” is made by a state of mind, not a specific age. Even so, having the nickname for one’s generation used as an insult is not super flattering.
Some critics have gone above and beyond in their criticism of the proliferation of “Ok boomer.” In a now-deleted tweet, conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry likened “ok boomer” to “the n-word of ageism.” The internet immediately responded by roasting Lonsberry for his belittling of a serious racial slur, and apparent thin-skin when it comes to being made fun of for his worldview.More broadly, these memes and tweets illustrate the irony of those who make fun of others for being “overly sensitive” or “offended by everything” being so quickly offended when the joke is on them.
hey just saw that guy that said “boomer is the n-word of ageism” and i would like to provide a quote from the only white man i trust pic.twitter.com/hFlYPUDvpI
— pls spare gf (@k1dgorg3ous) November 4, 2019
Is it ok to say Boomer if it’s a lyric in a song
— GOOSE (@GooseyMane) November 4, 2019
Boomers being rude to millennials and Gen Z: yOu’Re So SeNsItIvE
Gen Z: Ok boomer
Boomers: THEY CALLED ME A -SLUR- I FEEL *dramatic gasp* Attacked! I didn’t provoke this! You need to respect your elders!
Do you see the problem???
— Lily 🏳️🌈 (@HadrichLelia) November 3, 2019
The reason “ok boomer” is such a devastating burn is the sputtering, outsized rage it produces proves the point.
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) November 5, 2019
Played the “Ok Boomer” song on my show last week. Inbox now looks like this. I regret nothing. pic.twitter.com/J1NHRXr8x0
— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) November 5, 2019
hey guys, just found out boomer is a slur :/ out of respect, I’ll be using the phrase “ok racist” going forward, thanks for understanding
— jen merritt!!! (@jennifermerr) November 4, 2019
if you’re a non-black person rapping a song, just replace the n-word with the word boomer
— taylor garron (@casualafro) November 4, 2019
"ok boomer" vs. pic.twitter.com/Ilb9O9DorX
— Nevermind that shit, here comes Ian (@notajediyet911) November 5, 2019
If you say ok boomer 3 times in the mirror an old white male appears behind you to tell you it's an ageist slur and he is allowed to say the n-word now
— Babushka (@Audsferatu) November 5, 2019
is it ok to say Boomer as long as you don’t say it with the hard r
— stuart fiddle (@stuartfiddle) November 4, 2019
My Boomer friends let me say it tho :/
— Zora Neale Hustlin’ (@MarsinCharge) November 4, 2019
Boomers: “Grow a thicker skin, millennial snowflakes!”
Millennial: “lol ok boomer”
Boomers: “This is literally a hate crime.”
— Rabbit Cohen's Dad's Monster (@BathysphereHat) November 4, 2019
Boomer is a mindset, not an age group
— Max. C (@MaxComas) November 2, 2019