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The Chronicles of Generation X: the History, Influential Events, and My Personal Experience

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The Chronicles of Generation X: The History, Influential Events, and My Personal Experience
Kareem E. Murray
COM/172
3/11/2015
Dr. Debra Geiger

If you ask anybody about Generation X, nine times out ten people will think you were talking about an X-Men or Wolverine cartoon. In comparison to the X-Men, we have been stereotyped as being frustrated, cynical, hopeless and unmotivated slacker. This subject is more realistic than those lies and titanium claws society want to put on my generation. In a class of our own, you will get a better understanding of Generation X through its history, the influential events and my personal experiences have sharpened such a diverse generation that will always stay on top. Generation X or Gen Xers consist of 50 million members born between 1965 and 1977, from the past generation of the Baby Boomers. In a time where the single most anti-child phase in American history began. In the early 1960's the birth control pill became widely available, and in 1973, abortion was legalized (Coupland 1991). These are two factors that are said to have contributed to the generation small numbers. Compared to Baby Boomer numbers at 76 million and Millennial at 80 million according to Jeff Gordinier in his book, How Generation X Got the Shaft, But Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking (Gordinier 2009). Robert Capa, a photographer for Mangum magazine, was the first person to use the phrase "Generation X". Using it to describe the people who grew up after World War II. Capa used it as the title of a photo essay published in 1953. A decade later, a writer by the name of Jane Deveson for Women Own Magazine. A magazine company established from the United Kingdom back in 1932 did a study on British teenagers that were misbehaving by sleeping around, rejecting religion and disobeying their parent. Upon completing her studies, Deveson brought her findings to the magazine, which they did not use. In 1962, she co-author a book with Charles Hamblett called Generation X, published in1965. The term later resurfaced in popularity in the 1990's by Douglas Coupland, who also authored a book by the same name, Generation X: Tales of an Accelerated Culture. It is a fictional book based on three strangers who decided to distance themselves from the world to get a better sense of who they are. Many may say," Their generation is the best" or what not. One thing that can settle the argument is the sequence of events that occurred, good or bad touch us all in some way or another. Before the Recession of the early 2000's, many of us witness the early 1980's recession that was very severe in the United States that began in July 1981 and ended on November 1982. The primary cause of this recession was the Federal Reserve Contractionary monetary policy that sought to rein in the high inflation from the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis that began to afflict the United States economy. (Bednorzik 1982) Energy and pollution issues were a major problem in the peak of Generation X. In the 70's environmentalist was becoming mainstream, due to the oil crisis. Causing energy prices to skyrocket due to limited supply and high demands. Politically, our government struggled with this crisis, and with the Watergate scandal occurring at the same time, made it hard for the Nixon administration to come up with productive policy decision. So a number of government agencies, were founded to make an attempt to formulate policies and shift the way American use energy. In contrast to this a national 55 miles per hour speed limit was imposed to increase fuel efficiency, and daylight saving time was moved to cut down on demand for fuel. And to this day, concerns about energy is still an important factor. One influential event I witness and will never forget was the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fall of Berlin Wall in November 1989 ranks as one of the most significant events in European and world history in the last two centuries. (Todorov 2009) With the fall of the wall, this event became the first irreversible sign of the collapse of a Communist country. With this being, one of the heartfelt moments in my life I can remember. The one most shocking and devastated event to remember was the Challenger disaster. It was so close to home. My family and I were living in this small town in Greelyville, South Carolina. One of the astronauts, Dr. Ronald McNair, was from Lake City, South Carolina. Being the second African American to take a mission out of space in February 1984 on the STS-41-B aboard Challenger. Following that mission, Dr. McNair was selected again for STS-51-L launch aboard the Challenger for take-off on January 28, 1986. Subsequently, Dr. McNair was killed when the Challenger exploded nine miles above the Atlantic Ocean just seventy-three seconds after liftoff. There are several personal experience that helps make me proud of my generation, and growing up was one of these experiences. A lot of Gen Xers and myself spent less time with our parents than those of a previous generation, being recognized as Latchkey Kids. This term stems to the latchkey of a door to a house. This key was often found strung around the neck of kids or under the mat in front of the house door. Finding themselves home alone taking care of themselves and or their siblings, while their parents work. In an era where working moms were common, we found ourselves becoming very independent and resourceful. Learning how to adapt to a broad range of circumstances very early in our lives. Making sure my brother and me, took our school clothes off first thing when we got home. Showing us the value of taking care of our personal items was the lesson behind this. When we became hungry, I had to decide what we were going to eat, a sandwich or some cereal before mom got home, so we didn't bother her first thing when she walked in the house, from a hard day at work. In this event, this is where my brother and I learned how to be considerate of others, when we could have done for ourselves. And as far as discipline goes. There wasn't no such thing as "Time Out", which only occurred when playing "Tag" or any video games. We didn't sit in a corner in our room to think about what we did, knowing what we did was wrong. For example, when my brother and I set the kitchen garbage on fire and blamed it on the cat. Our mother made us strip down to nothing and she whip us till she couldn't do anymore. The lesson behind that was when you did the crime you will get punished, plain and simple. Today these kids can get away with murder. So disrespectful and ill manner, I don't want to get into no more details because it's not about them it's about me and my Generation. And as far as the Latchkey Kids, today numbers has declined due to child laws and federal funding's which provided aid for after school programs for children who are faced to be home alone until an adult or parent came back. Unlike other generations before us, Gen Xers are highly-educated technology wise. With our eyes super glue to the television watching Different Stokes, The A-Team and Night Rider gave us an outlook on what was in store for the future as they betrayed it to be. Practically born with the joystick in one hand and T.V. remote control in the other. I can remember playing endless hours of Pac-Man and Space Invaders on the Atari console. Having this big bulky keyboard and no monitor, with three color plugs that went in the back of the television and we had our first home computer, The Commodore 64. And as I found the love for music, watching records and 8-track tape converted to cassette tapes, then later to compact disc, and now all music is now digital. Technology made a real impact on our generation as it become so much more diverse; these next generations have no idea what's to come. In all aspect of this paper, having a better understanding of Generation X should have enlightened you. In the relationship to Generation X, these great authors Capa, Deveson, and Coupland were all inspired by a title that are now books, made into several movies and even titled for a photograph. Getting more in depth with some of the current events of those times. Learning a bit more on the Energy Crisis, which took place at a time, I was too young to understand. To the great accomplishment of Freedom in one country, to the dramatic loss of a brave and intelligent man, along with his crew. We all have witnessed some ups and downs in this generation. What stand out to me the most about Generation X is, I am Generation X. Someone who lived it and still here to talk about it. With the help of me and my fellow Gen Xers, we are going to stay on top base on our characteristics, trait, past struggles, and the will to stay on top.

References
Todorov, T. (2010). The fall of the Berlin wall in history. Salmagundi, (164), 44-50,281. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/221279866?accountid=458

"United States Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions." National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved 8 April 2011.

Bednarzik, Robert W.; Hewson, Marillyn A.; Urquhart, Michael A. (1982). "The Employment Situation in 1981: New Recession Takes its Toll." Monthly Labor Review (Bureau of Labor Statistics) 105 (3): 3–14. Retrieved 8 April 2011.

Coupland, D. (March 15, 1991). Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. : St. Martin's Press.
McCollum, J. J. (). Who Is Generation X? / Retrieved from http://"http://www.jenx67.com/who-is-generation-x" />

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