Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made some bold claims in her latest Instagram Live video, suggesting millennials and Generation Z are better "informed" and more well-versed in history than past generations — and, apparently forgetting about the turbulent '60s, are the first "willing to go to the streets" and challenge their government.
The New York Democratic congresswoman, who at 29 is a millennial herself, in a video that streamed live Tuesday night described how she thinks today’s young people are surpassing past generations.
“I think young people are more informed and dynamic than their predecessors,” she said.
The freshman congresswoman then patted young Americans on the back for their activism, implying this is a new development for American political engagement.
“I think this new generation is very profound, and very strong, and very brave, because they’re actually willing to go to the streets,” she said. “Previous generations have just assumed that government’s got it.”
Of course, this overlooks perhaps the most turbulent period in modern American history, the 1960s, which was marked by political protests over the Vietnam War, civil rights and more.
Months after the decade began, protesters in San Francisco demonstrated against the House Un-American Activities Committee for their investigations of suspected Communists. Protesters were arrested as police turned firehoses on them on what became known as “Black Friday.”
The civil rights movement featured protests from black Americans and their allies, which helped lead to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Vietnam War inspired massive demonstrations, including at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Chicago that summer, and hundreds were injured in violent clashes with police and the National Guard.
Of course, political protest existed before the 1960s, with notable examples including the women’s suffrage movement and the Boston Tea Party.
Prior to making her statement about previous generations’ complacency, Ocasio-Cortez lauded her own generation by saying, “They actually take time to read and understand our history, the history of the labor movement, history of civil rights, history of economics, history of the United States, history of colonialism, and they’re not afraid to have those conversations.”
Baby Boomers may take exception to Ocasio-Cortez's slight, especially given studies that indicate a lack of knowledge millennials have when it comes to history. An April 2019 study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany revealed that two-thirds of millennials polled were not familiar with Auschwitz, and 22 percent said they either had not heard of or were not sure if they had heard of the Holocaust.