Here are our responses to the questions posed in the last book blog. Please add your responses in the comments box. If you don’t have access to the book, you can download the first chapter (which these questions are based on) here: http://www.savetheirfuturenow.com/pdf/generation_iy_book_excerpt.pdf.
The questions we posed are: What does the author get right and what does he miss in describing Generation iY? Here’s what we think…
Right: Our iY advisees live in a different world than those of previous generations. They have been shaped by specific historical, social, political, economic, and familial contexts. But we have an opportunity to intervene in systems and structures that are potentially putting them at risk. (Christy)
Right – I think many of this generation are defined by technology, their pace of life is accelerated and if our advisees are any indication they are perhaps partially as a result, overwhelmed and depressed. (Diana)
Missed – In the first chapter he misses that they are disillusioned. Their forbearers (us) have created a culture of economic inequality and environmental devastation (no wonder they don’t vote!). (Diana)
Missing: One thing that I think is missing from this first chapter is a recognition that not all those who make up the iY generation are “in trouble” and that many of them are taking action to intervene in structures and systems that they find limiting. What can we learn from those iY folks who are thriving? (Christy)
Another thing that might be missing is an iY perspective that is not filtered through the perspective of someone from another generation. Elmore provides a list of 26 phrases that we might hear from iY folks in the future and which together “paint a sobering picture of what life will be like for Generation iY unless something changes” (p. 14). One of those phrases is: “I experiment with preferences in gender and religion.” The question this phrase raises for me is: For whom (and why) is this revelation concerning? For me, what is concerning is not the existence of non-normative gender identities/expressions but rather the use of loaded terms such as “experiment” (it’s a phase; it’s not real) and “preference” (you can choose to identify or express your identity differently) which delegitimize non-normative gender identities/expressions. By putting these particular words in the mouths of the iY generation, Elmore positions them as sharing this perspective on non-normative gender identities/expressions. Does this phrase reveal an ambivalence experienced by iY folks regarding gender normativity, or does it convey Elmore’s discomfort with the reality that the old foundations are crumbling as we become less tethered to binary gender constructs—a concern that iY folks may not share?
We’ll look at chapters 2 and 3 in the next post. Looking forward to your comments.
-Christy Carlson, Trent, Diana Bumstead, Huron