Why Are We Called “Generation X”?
Why are those born between 1965 and 1980 called “Generation X?” I’ve read the articles on the origins of that moniker, but never the rationale. According to some of the available sources I have researched, those comprising this generation are thirteen generations removed from the first American colonists. If not the hatred for the United States among those generations younger than Generation X, that would be a cool feature about which to brag openly. As is, it might make those of us in Generation X subject to accusations of racism and xenophobia, as well as targets of violence.
As a member of this small cohort, I think I can find sympathy with the rational Malcolm X used in choosing his name. He said that the “X” represented everything stolen from him as a result of being descended from persons stolen and brought to the United States in slavery. Obviously, my “caucasity” prevents me from relating to the so-called racial concerns of Mr. X. (And I use the word “so-called” because I believe in just one race: the human race.) Yet, more has been taken from Generation X than what others may realize.
First, our forebearers aborted our compatriots in larger numbers. Roe v. Wade became an evil precedent in the infancy of our generation, and it culled our herd considerably. One writer observed that a fourth of our demographic is missing because of abortion. (Even if moral arguments do not sway you, consider how many taxpayers that eliminated? When Boomers first hit the age to collect social security, there were fewer Xers below them paying into the social security system. I suppose that is why many Boomers have had to continue working into their 70s?)
Second, many of us had to take care of ourselves during our formative years. We were the first latchkey kids. Our homes were more likely to be broken. So, while the single parent was the breadwinner, we had to let ourselves into our house with a key. On the upside, it made us pragmatic. On the downside, it meant that we lacked the guidance previous generations received. I might add that rampant materialism ensured that even those of Generation X still fortunate enough to have both parents still fended for themselves as latchkey kids since both typically parents worked to sustain an untenable lifestyle.
Third, as adults, Generation X has become a sandwich generation. We are having to take care of aging Boomer and Silent parents while still rearing older children and teens. Our window to “goof off” and enjoy the frivolity of youth certainly felt like a short time. There is nothing wrong with having responsibility. Given our backgrounds, we are adaptable. However, it should explain to you why we sounded so depressed in the 1990s as we introduced grunge to popular culture. There is a degree to which Kurt Cobain indeed was our poet laureate.
But in typical Xer fashion, I am only voicing my complaints. Others called us slackers in our teenage years, but we were realists. Despite our rhetoric, we kept moving forward. And now, we watch in amusement while the larger Boomer and Millennial generations spar with one another. Who knows, maybe we can “corrupt” the up-and-coming Generation Z and exact a measure of revenge on the future? Until then, we continue moving forward with no real identity, only a mysterious “x” denoting the inability to provide a tidy box to put us all inside.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Hi, my name is Brent. Christian. 親日. ENFP. Music lover. I've channeled my ADHD into becoming a generalist. I enjoy writing and illustrating.