Millennials Buy Overpriced Lattes and Avocado Toast Because We’re Disappointed.
July 28, 2020. 7:37PM.
The American Dream is a lie, a myth that floats around the nation like lost balloons during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2020 is the equivalent of discovering a glass bottle with a 1962 note from Malcolm X.
“You’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Led astray. Run amok,” the note reads.
We watch America plagued with a pandemic that could have been avoided, the politicization of wearing a mask, years of police brutality against African Americans, and incompetent leaders. White families in America have a net worth almost ten times greater than that of an African American family. In reality, the American Dream is for well-to-do white people with second homes who do not know what debt is, with accumulated generational wealth, land, and home ownership.
It’s almost August and the veil has been lifted. This may be sobering for most. Maybe you’ve known for years, who knows. There is an unspoken rule in the Black community that you must pray and be optimistic at all times, but that’s just not fair. There is great power in feeling your feelings exactly as they arise in your chest. There is strength in sitting and feeling to later process, when ready. This is depression on a Tuesday afternoon. Take your time. It gets better.
We live in a country that prioritizes money over people; the economy over human lives.
Pre- pandemic, I sat with my best friend’s four-year-old, playing with Batman and dinosaurs. Often, as we played, he laughed and sneezed in my face by accident and wiped his nose on his shirt.
What do you expect from a kid? What is to be said of a country that yearns to send a child into an unnecessary battle, ill-equipped? What is to be said of a country that underpays, undervalues, and overwhelms those that develop the next generation of trailblazers?
America prioritizes capitalism over education. Inequality over healthcare. Violence over peace. Career over quality of life. American values, ideals, and logic taught to children is only valid in America. Christopher Columbus never discovered America, yet give this man a holiday. America debates issues that do not need to be debated. Other countries watch in bewilderment. Use individualism as a crutch. Uphold systems that never functioned since inception, all in the midst of a global pandemic.
Ignore science and value fiction over fact.
America wastes precious time.
Our neighborhoods and schools remain segregated. And when you reach for the American Dream, the suburban house, the golden retriever, the 2.5 children, and white picket fence, a bait and switch is employed on people of color. Is this criticism or truth?
Our brave civil rights leaders fought injustice for a better world. Their speeches could easily be delivered to audiences today. While our civil rights leaders tore down walls, it appears American policies built new barriers. Elders are correct when they say change does not happen overnight; however, it’s been far too long. We are not the great country that we were taught that we are. We are force-fed propaganda on a silver spoon.
I can’t tell you how many of my friends haven’t had health insurance.
If lucky, attend college to learn and obtain a job. The post- graduate opportunity is an unpaid internship or underpaid job. Hopefully you have family support, but if you do, you often wonder if that is ever enough. You are not ready to lock yourself into a thirty-year commitment of a mortgage. Build an emergency savings account, if lucky, or make it to next month. Change from your morning pajamas to your evening pajamas, do yoga on Zoom calls, and you want to scream when someone asks how you are.
Is this an awakening, an early mid-life existential crisis, or am I just sad that Target is not as fun as it used to be?
This is why millennials buy overpriced lattes and avocado toast. We are disappointed.
Is there another country that will take us as we are? Is there a better life in a place other than America with cheaper lattes, avocado toast, and health insurance?
I know, ughhhhh, millennials, right, but am I wrong?
We are not sold on America or the societal expectations. And apparently, the next step of life is marriage. Yet, I haven’t dated a man that treats me like a person and does not suffocate me in misogyny. I am a human being. I do not desire being beaten into submission by patriarchy. I do not need a man to lead me; I want to lead with an equal partner. I want to be on someone’s team.
A desire to be a wife and a mother. But first, I want a better life for my future children. I want a village, stability, a place to call home. I want a country that loves me for all that I am and all that I will be. I want a country that welcomes our neighbors and educates our future children with passion. I want a country where we can build our own dreams with health insurance and actual life insurance that does not resemble GoFundMe.
We are better in communities that love us and can offer a meal, affirmation, and a hug in times of need. We are better when we can ask for help. We are better when our government has a plan before one is needed. Remember, as babies we learn to smile with nothing but encouragement.
James Baldwin wrote “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Was this criticizing America or honesty? At 24 he sought a new life in Paris with $40.00 to his name. James Baldwin died in France, but was buried in America.
What holds more importance, where your mother holds you for the first time or where you take your last breath?
While Baldwin never denounced his American citizenship, he intentionally chose another country, and returned to America during the Civil Rights Movement. Do you understand how exhausted you have to be to move to another country with $40?
We hope that despite his inner turmoil that he found peace and the freedom to be.
Maybe this is what we are all looking for.