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What Will The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact Be On The Generations That Emerge From It?




People watch as Rabbi Shmuel Butman lights the first candle on a menorah on the first night of Chanukah on 59th street in Manhattan on December 10, 2020 in New York City.
People watch as Rabbi Shmuel Butman lights the first candle on a menorah on the first night of Chanukah on 59th street in Manhattan on December 10, 2020 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

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There’s no doubt 2020 has been a year for the history books. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, huge national protests against police brutality in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the presidential election, it’s been a time filled with pain, fear and (yes) uncertainty. 

Like many crises in American history, the events of this year will undoubtedly help define a generation. In the 20th Century, the Greatest Generation was shaped by the Great Depression and World War II. Millennials came-of-age with the events of 9/11 and the ‘08 Recession. Even the deaths of public figures, like JFK or Michael Jackson, can create a sense of national trauma and identification with others who still remember the moment they found out like it was yesterday. Events that shape a generation are often connected to major losses of life or significant economic upheaval, often with huge social and emotional consequences. Safe to say that the pandemic has ticked all those boxes. But how will it shape our futures?

Today on AirTalk, we’re learning more about generations past have evolved in response to major events, and what it could mean for our collective futures in a post-pandemic world. How do you think the pandemic will shape the generations that emerge from it? We want to hear from you! Give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a non-profit research and consulting organization based in Silicon Valley; she tweets @mgorbis

Jane Hong, associate professor of history at Occidental College; she tweets @janehongphd