Snowflakes

It’s common knowledge that in order to come to an understanding with someone who disagrees with you, you must listen earnestly and try to be empathetic to their point of view. Name-calling and judgement will no do good in achieving any sort of understanding, and will only reinforce the negative assumptions one might have about the person he/she disagrees with.

I want to address one name in particular that I, and a lot of my friends, are called, simply because of our points of view on social, political, and economic issues.

Snowflake. 

Liberal snowflake, to be more precise.

I’m not going to fire back with a creative name of my own. There’s enough of that going around.

But I do want to clarify what I, and my fellow snowflakes, mean when we support certain policies and believe certain ideologies.

We’re not offended by every little thing. We do, however, think it’s important to raise awareness to the struggles that various groups face.

We’re all guilty of making an insensitive comment at one point or another, and that doesn’t necessarily make us racist or sexist. It just means that we take for granted certain privileges that other groups do not have. How does this affect you, and everyone else? It further perpetrates harmful stereotypes and normalizes the kind of bias that divides us. When we make an insensitive comment and someone is offended by it, we shouldn’t invalidate their feelings just because their feelings don’t make sense to us. We shouldn’t say to just “toughen up, it’s just a joke.” Making a joke about someone’s race is essentially making a joke about who they are. It’s dehumanizing, it’s humiliating, and yes, it is offensive. I’ve had this happen to me, and I’ve felt forced to brush it off rather than make the other person uncomfortable by explaining why that comment was offensive. I think that a lot of this gaslighting comes from our own fear of realizing that yes, we can be insensitive or racist or sexist or ignorant. We need to acknowledge this, and realize that it’s not because we’re bad people–it’s just because we don’t have those same experiences. We should aim to understand why certain comments we make are insensitive, and gain a better understanding for the different struggles other groups face.

We don’t believe people should receive handouts. We believe in working harder to make the same opportunities (for education, for work, etc.) available to anyone, regardless of their background, so that they can put their skills to use and find work that will benefit society. 

By now it should be no surprise that your race, your gender, your socioeconomic status, can play significant factors in the types of opportunities you get. These factors influence what types of schools you can attend, how much funding that school receives, what types of teachers are in those schools, what opportunities those schools offer to help cultivate your academic strengths. And the differences don’t end there. Once you leave school and start work, your gender and race can affect how much money you make or what benefits you can get. And don’t even get me started on implicit bias and institutionalized racism. The playing field is not even, and it’s not simply a matter of putting in hard work. In the cases of a lot of people, they put in the work, but the deck has been stacked against them since before they were born. For a country that claims to be the land of opportunity, this  doesn’t seem to fit that definition. That right there–the access to opportunities to build the life you want for yourself–that is what we’re trying to fix.

We don’t take a blasé approach to abortions. We believe that these decisions are incredibly difficult to make, but they are personal decisions that should not be controlled by the government. Even if your decision is guided by religious beliefs, government and religion should remain separate.

I have a lot to say on the issue of women’s health, and I do think it’s intertwined with a lot of other social issues and that can open up completely new conversations–but the crux of what I want to communicate here is this: consistency is key. If the government claims to be pro-life, then I want to see not only the lives of unborn babies protected; I want to see children of all groups fed, educated, supported, and protected. I want to see women’s healthcare easily accessible and covered by insurance. I want to see that people who have pre-existing conditions still have access to affordable insurance and healthcare. I want to see the citizens of Flint finally get clean, safe water. I want to see the government respect the Sioux people in North Dakota. I want to see compassion towards refugees.

If the government somehow believes abortions are unconstitutional, then provide access to family planning and safe contraceptives–not just for those who have money, but for all women (and men). From the point of view of a woman, trying to outlaw abortions and restricting access to family planning and contraceptives just feels like punishment. Pro-life shouldn’t just be anti-abortion. Pro-life should be just that–pro-life.

So, that’s this snowflake’s take on some of the issues that are dividing this country. I don’t believe that this point of view is spineless, or overly sensitive, or expecting the government to take care of people who don’t want to help themselves. I don’t think this point of view is unreasonable. I think this view is simply one that desires compassion, justice, and equality–which are core pillars of this country. If wanting that makes me a snowflake, then I wear my snowflake card proudly. But for the record, I don’t think that it’s just the snowflakes that want justice. I don’t think that it’s just the snowflakes that want equality. I don’t think that it’s just the snowflakes who are compassionate.

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