Where do you stand on the “OK, Boomer” debate? Depending on your age, you might be all for the use of the phrase…or view it as a derogatory slur directed toward an aging generation.
“OK, Boomer” became a meme-worthy phrase on social media late last year, and is used to point out the outdated viewpoints (in the minds of those speaking the words). A person on Facebook might post something that goes against a younger person’s social views regarding the acceptance of members of the LGBTQ community, for example, which may result in them saying, “OK, Boomer” back to them.
No one is arguing Very few are arguing the phrase carries with it the same punch as other derogatory terms, such as the N-word. However, and especially for those who belong to the Baby Boomer generation, the phrase is considered an insulting term.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments about a case alleging an individual had been discriminated against for their age — and during oral arguments, the phrase was brought forward for consideration by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Roberts was concerned about the argument being put forward, that any comment from a hiring manager could be construed as a discriminating statement — even one said in jest.
If someone says, “OK, Boomer,” to a job applicant, would that be significant enough to show age discrimination? Chief Justice Roberts asked that hypothetical in a case focused on how courts should analyze discrimination lawsuits. https://t.co/5GWEfzlSOm
— Bloomberg Law (@BLaw) January 15, 2020
“Let’s say in the course of the weeks’ long [hiring] process, one comment about age, you know, the hiring person is younger, says, ‘OK, Boomer,’ once to the applicant,” Roberts began his question.
Before he could complete the rest of it, the room burst into laughter.
Roberts proceeded to question whether the phrase would amount to taking action like filing a discrimination claim. The lawyer responded in the affirmative, believing that the phrase, when used in conjunction with other factors, could be seen as discriminatory behavior against older individuals.
Roberts has two children himself, both of whom are part of Generation Z. As CNN reported, it’s possible that the phrase has been said to him once or twice within his own household…as he, born in 1955, is a Baby Boomer himself.