Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 11.20.23 PMWhen I was in undergrad, my class and I weren’t very vocal about who performed for homecoming or who spoke at our graduation. We were more concerned with how much is it to get into the concert and how much longer do we have to wait before we can march across the stage.

But today’s undergraduates have lots to say.

Just recently, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), decided not to speak at Smith College’s commencement after students petitioned her selection, citing they didn’t want to “encourage the values and ideals that the IMF fosters.” As if no Smith graduate would accept a job offer from IMF post graduation, especially if it were the only one. Please.

And earlier this same month, former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice backed out of delivering her commencement speech to Rutgers University graduates in New Jersey because students and faculties protested her role in the Iraq War. Never mind they were both powerful women holding important positions.

The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi says the class of 2014 just needs to calm the hell down. She writes:

Millennials have grown up in a world where you are never forced to see, hear or read anything that you haven’t personally selected. 7,000 TV channels, a DVR to skip commercials, millions of websites—we have been able to curate our own little worlds using technology, wherein nothing unpleasant or offensive can creep in. So when we’re forced to sit through a commercial or, heaven forbid, listen to someone talk who isn’t Mary-freakin’-Poppins, we can’t handle it.

The entire point of college is to be exposed to different things: Different types of people, different ideas—and maybe some of those people will hail from organizations that negatively impacted poor countries, or maybe they were partly responsible for a war that ate up the country’s resources and resulted in human rights abuses and lots of needless death. But if, at the end of your time as an undergrad, you haven’t learned that oftentimes you find great wisdom in shitty people, or just that there might be some value in hearing what someone you don’t like or respect might have to say, what on earth have you learned?

I’ll have to agree Nuzzi. This generation is too fragile, too picky, too opinionated, too “holier-than-thou” and too spoiled. They’re used to a “Burger King” sort of life, and when they can’t have things their way, they condemn anyone in disagreement. It would be interesting to see how millennials fare in corporate America where conflict isn’t resolved via a protest or change.org petition or an immunity stick on Survivor (although there are plenty of times I wished it were possible.)

But sometimes the opposition just doesn’t agree because (gasp!) she does have fresher ideas and more useful advice from her prior experiences, so it really doesn’t hurt to listen. Or as Nuzzi affectionately words it: shut the f—k up.


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  • Jasmine Acosta

    You voiced my feelings exactly…personally I believe these movements are led by spoiled whites only wanting to hear one pov. While it might not be true, it was the first thought that came to mind when I heard a group of students protesting the First Lady speaking at their graduation. Entitled, privileged, and disrespectful!

  • Me

    how you can tell you’re “old”: you think just b/c people younger than you don’t do everything the way you did it or don’t bow down to your “infinite wisdom” instead of figuring things out for themselves makes them bad & you good. just like y’all think young folks aren’t entitled to have things their way, old folks aren’t entitled to stand in front of folks & ramble on for minutes/hrs just b/c their parents had sex first. & it don’t take a graduation speech for young folks to figure out that they don’t wanna hear anything else that some speaker has to say about things. obviously if they are protesting it’ss b/c they have done the research & made an opinion based on what they know about the person & decided that ain’t who they want commemorating the next step in their lives. why do old folks think they get to decide how young folks lives end up. the people that gotta live with those decisions should be the ones in charge of making that decision. not the folks that already got to live the lives they wanted to live years before. some old folks stay whining about young folks. eye roll.

  • Perhaps, the author “Olivia Nuzzi” needs to take her own advice and STFU. Although I don’t consider myself a millenial (technically, I am a gen x-y cusp), I wouldn’t want Condoleeza Rice to speak at my graduation either. When you consider all of the lives lost in the Iraq War and the fact that Bush bankrupt this country in the worst recession since the depression, why would anyone stand for her to speak? That is why this country is in the mess that it is in. There is too many people standing with their mouths shut and their hands in their pockets. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

    ” But if, at the end of your time as an undergrad, you haven’t learned that oftentimes you find great wisdom in shitty people, or just that there might be some value in hearing what someone you don’t like or respect might have to say, what on earth have you learned?”

    Maybe, they have already learned in their last year of study through their job hunting that the economy is abysmal and that their degree is nothing more than an expensive glorified diploma. In addition to that, maybe they don’t want to see figure heads associated with the downfall of the economy as reminders of that.

  • Petty Levert

    I am speaking as a student from the same University that protested Condoleezza Rice’s commencement speech. We students worked long and hard for our degrees. We have EVERY right to protest a person whose administration’s actions were responsible for a worthless war that threw this nation into insurmountable debt, the loss of 500,000 lives, messing up millions more lives, an administration that was in agreement with torturing other people and turned a blind eye to this torture. This protest was about holding people accountable for their actions and the consequences that resulted from them. So I say to you anonymous writer: Why don’t YOU shut the f–k up?