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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

It's time to fix the millennial stereotype

Vox sat down with President Obama and had a conversation about the Affordable Care Act, the economy, political polarization, income ?inequality and race, on Monday.

If you aren’t familiar with Vox, here’s what you need to know: its mission is to ?explain the news.

So, as I attempted to listen to Vox distill almost all of the policies of the current administration, I heard my friend exclaim in the background, “Wait, unemployment has come down faster than anytime in the past 30 years? Wow, the economy is doing really well. Well, thanks, Obama.”

His comment intrigued me.

Not because he was shocked the employment rate was down and the economy was doing better as most people are shocked when they first hear the economy is ?improving. It was because he didn’t know a critical bit of information about our economy until he heard it in the ?background.

His remark struck a chord with me. For an administration that has been praised for tapping into innovative media to reach younger audiences, it surprises me that a well-informed college student was so genuinely shocked that the economy was doing better.

I can’t help but wonder, what’s the disconnect here?

What happens after millennials watch those the YouTube videos, read those 140 character tweets and like those Facebook posts?

Why are millennials still so disconnected? Are they truly just lazy and apathetic?

It’s not that the current administration isn’t reaching younger ?audiences.

Let’s take a look at this past March, when Obama participated in an interview with Zach Galifianakis on his show, “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.” During the interview, the president made a plug for signing up for healthcare on healthcare.gov.

While the interview was an unconventional way to reach younger audiences, it seemingly worked.

The video ended up reaching more than 6 million viewers and tapped into pop culture to reach audiences that may otherwise tune out to the daily ?news cycle.

It seems to me that while the current administration has done a good job of tapping into innovative digital media, we still haven’t healed the heart of the problem, which is that younger voters seem to be very apathetic to government and politics in general.

Maybe this is why millennials seem to get a bad rap.

When we think of millennials, we often imagine a group of Americans — mostly in their mid-20s — who are obsessed with smartphones, ironic t-shirts and fresh-pressed juices.

We also get labeled as lazy, privileged and ?uninformed. But there is so much more to millennials. Earlier this year, the Council on Economic Advisers released a report that found millennials are the most diverse and well-educated generation to date.

So let’s fix the preconceived stereotype that millennials are apathetic, lazy and obsessed with ?smartphones.

Let’s connect and finally engage.

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