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Millennials Don't Stand A Chance

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  • The Millennial Generation's Digital Advantage

    Clip: Jessica Grose and David Burstein spar with Binta Niambi Brown on the issue of whether Millennials, as digital natives, truly enjoy an advantage over Generation X in the technology realm.

  • Millennial Naivete Confuses 'Clicktivism' Online with Real Action

    Clip: David Burstein and Jessica Grose defend Millennial use of social media for social and political activism against Binta Niambi Brown's assertion that it naively gives a false sense of accomplishment.

  • The Optimism of Millennials

    Clip: The debaters argue whether or not millennials are too optimistic about the state of their generation in terms of being able to reach their goals.

Debate Details

Millennials growing up with revolutionary technology and entering adulthood in a time of recession have recently been much maligned. Are their critics right? Is this generation uniquely coddled, narcissistic, and lazy? Or have we let conventional wisdom blind us to their openness to change and innovation, and optimism in the face of uncertainty, which, in any generation, are qualities to be admired?

The Debaters

For the motion

Binta Niambi Brown

Lawyer, Startup Advisor & Human Rights Advocate

Binta Niambi Brown is a corporate/tech lawyer, startup advisor, human rights advocate, nascent angel investor, and bass player. After working for... Read More

W. Keith Campbell

Professor of Psychology, University of Georgia & Co-Author, The Narcissism Epidemic

W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Georgia. He has authored more than 100 scientific articles and chapters... Read More

Against the motion

David D. Burstein

Author, Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World & Founder, Generation18

David D. Burstein is a millennial writer, filmmaker, and storyteller. He is the author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our... Read More

Jessica Grose

Journalist & Author, Sad Desk Salad

Jessica Grose, a self-identified “ancient millennial,” is a journalist and novelist whose work focuses on women’s issues, family, and culture.... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Their financial outlook is bleak: Millennials have entered adulthood during a time of recession while burdened with unprecedented levels of student loan debt.
  • Millennials have been raised to be narcissists, "characterized by overconfidence, entitlement, unbridled competitiveness, and lack of empathy."
  • Millennials' tech savviness is superficial—they are no better or worse than at using technology than everyone else.
Against The Motion
  • Millennials are more optimistic, civic-minded and politically engaged.
  • They are the most educated generation in American history, and for those with a bachelor's or an advanced degree, it is paying off.
  • Millennials bring their tech savvy, adaptability and collaborative skills to the workplace.

Results

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  • Results
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Pre-Debate
Post-Debate

The Research

The Research

Millennials in Adulthood

Pew Research
March 7, 2014

The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 31, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future.

Yes We Can: The Emergence of Millennials as a Generation

Neil Howe and Reena Nadler
February 1, 2009

Millennials have brought with them a very different set of attitudes and behaviors than the youth who preceded them: a confidence and conventionality, a preference for group consensus, an aversion to personal risk, and a self-image as special and as worthy of protection.

Evidence for Generation Me and Against Generation We

Jean Twenge
March 1, 2016

Today’s emerging adults are more Generation Me than Generation We when compared to previous generations.

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