The Gen Xers, on the other hand, were probably attached that label in deference to the dictionary definition of x as an unknown and incomprehensible factor after older people became confused by ideas and attitudes different from theirs. Of course, the Millennials were named as such because they were born at the approach or turn of the new millennium, while the Net generation was so labeled in reference to the advent of the Internet during its time. This paper attempts a critical analysis of why the set of values and norms that one particular generation subscribes to is different from that of the other generation, based on an examination of my own socialization activities as a Gen Xer and those of earlier generations.
The year of my birth was 1971, which makes me one of the Gen Xers, who were categorized as those born between 1965 and 1976. My generation came immediately after the Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, and just before the Millennials, who were born in 1977-1998. In my formative years, the major international events that left an indelible impression may be categorized according to their political, social, economic and scientific import. In the political sense, I remember the withdrawal of the US forces from Vietnam in 1972 after a 10-year war of attrition that scandalized much of the world; the Watergate scandal that broke in 1973 and led to Nixon's resignation a year later; the 1972 Black September attack at the Munich Olympics that killed 11 Israeli athletes, which was regarded as the first incident of international terrorism; and the bloody riots triggered by the killing of students by National Guards at Kent State. On the social scene, I recall the hot pants and micro-minis for girls, shoulder-length hair and non-traditional clothing for men, streaking nude in public places, the rage for station wagons and RVs (recreational vehicles), and the disco dance craze stoked by the film Saturday Night Live. As for events with economic significance, the first fuel crisis in 1973 stood out, which happened after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refused to ship oil products to nations that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War between Syria and Egypt. The single most important science-related breakthrough in my youth was the introduction of home computers through Apple II, Atari and other video games.
The influence exerted by these events in the socialization practice of Gen Xers like me may have reflected in the traits commonly associated with our generation, which are independence, resilience and adaptability (Thielfodt & Scheef, 2004). We witnessed officials like Nixon betrayed public trust, peace officers like the National Guards gunned down helpless students, Arab terrorists killed innocent athletes, and organizations like OPEC withheld vital oil supply from the world for selfish political reasons. These were unprecedented and outrageous spectacles at the time that could have bred cynicism in us and taught us to distrust humanity. As a result, people in my generation learned to challenge conventions and to look out for our own selves. The fads