Art by Wallie Butler

Calling Gen Z soft downplays issues they fight to solve

Many people took to social media to express their frustration with rapper DaBaby’s ignorance after he made homophobic and misogynistic remarks at the music festival Rolling Loud 2021. 

He later apologized via Twitter and Instagram. Asserting that his apology was unnecessary, though, DaBaby fans called his critics — most of whom are part of Generation Z — “soft” for being offended. DaBaby later deleted the Instagram apology and called his critics “crybabies” at the Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2021 music festival.

This instance is just one of many where people have called Gen Z soft for being offended by offensive remarks. 

But when people are told that speaking out on issues they’re passionate about makes them soft, it silences their voices and belittles their efforts. Moreover, it trivializes the idea that change is necessary for society to grow. 

Gen Z is not soft for advocating for change, especially if it will aid them and their neglected communities. 

Older generations who harbor values different to ours do not have the right to disparage us for defending relevant causes. 

Too many times my older relatives have criticized my academic progress as “lower-than-their-standards” or made outdated, offensive remarks at the dinner table. Every year, I tell them of their blatant ignorance, yet every year, they belittle my comments and complain that this generation is too sensitive. 

Older generations assume that we know nothing about the reality of the harsh world. But we now live in the height of climate change, social activism and a pandemic, all of which are present and future issues. Our concerns do not make us too sensitive if they affect us and the future. 

But the truth is, Gen Z is the future. We live in a society that holds different values, views and principles than those held in past generations. Yet, older generations refuse to accept this and hold onto their traditional views in the frame of an evolving world.

According to a 2018 American Psychological Association survey on the stressors in different generations, Gen Z was more likely to report stress related to topics such as mass shootings, sexual harassment and assault, rise in suicide rates, climate change and global warming and separation and deportation of immigrant and migrant families. 

From the survey, 62% of Gen Z reported stress from rise in suicide rates in comparison to 44% of adults overall. Gen Z also was the least likely to report very good or excellent mental health with 45%. In contrast, millenials had 56% and Generation X with 51%. 

When such heavy topics become important to an individual, one is more aware of their actions and others’ feelings and acts accordingly. Nevertheless, this does not make one too sensitive. 

People argue that Gen Z is too sensitive because some of them participate in cancel culture where a mass of people scrutinize and harass someone online for something they may have done or said. 

However, the generalization that all of Gen Z participates in cancel culture is untrue and only minimizes the magnitude of issues that do not only reside in the internet world.

We cannot grow as a society without change, change that starts with people speaking up about the problems they want to solve. Before calling someone who actively advocates for what they believe in soft or overly sensitive, instead consider the perspective they’re coming from. 

Ultimately, being sensitive to others and implementing change is how we best improve and make progress in our ever-changing world.