Raven-Symoné, known from Disney Channel hits like “That’s So Raven,” “Raven’s Home,” “The Cheetah Girls” franchise and the round table show “The View,” recently spoke on the intersection of grind culture and youth — and her message is so severely needed.
On an episode of “Uncensored” on TVOne, she spoke about how young folks are told to work hard and grind when they’re younger so they can rest when they’re older.
The idea that you can finally rest when you’re old isn’t new, and in fact, the modernized version of our retirement system started with German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1889. In order to stave off an uprising, he promised to pay people 70 and older to leave the workforce permanently. In the states around that same time, the private sector (specifically the railroad industry) introduced retirement benefits. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced these benefits on the federal level, and after World War II when the states’ economy rebounded, the picture perfect image of leisurely retirement days spent golfing and beaching and going to grandkids’ recitals was born.
Then, in my opinion, it died.
The oldest millennials are turning 41 or so this year, while the youngest are turning 26. This generation has officially lived through multiple government shut downs, economic crises, wars, and even a pandemic, and have been expected to work through it all to get through the shiny retirement gates. Rest is for the accomplished and older, and thus we have to work for our rest, which is a very inhumane, unsustainable, and dangerous way to live for abled and disabled people alike.
You shouldn’t have to earn rest, or any other basic human need.
Raven said it best — people won’t stop you from working and in the
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