The Notion of Snowflake

Are we hyper-offended or overly aggressive?

So for the last several years, the term snowflake has been dancing around the news, social media, and tavern conversation. Recently it has reached a fever pitch, because people are getting up in arms about a lot of tradition movies and songs in American culture. This has caused me to wonder, with all of the things offending people…have we become that uncivil, or are people just getting overly sensitive to normal behavior?

So I started my look in the abyss of uncivil behavior…the comment sections of news articles. Based on as much of a read as I was willing to tolerate, I quickly came to the conclusion that mankind has devolved into prehistoric beasts…and eternal warfare for food should begin any day now. Then I remembered that the comment sections are filled with trolls and others who delight in trying to bring other people to their level of unhappiness and I narrowed my criteria.

So I looked specifically for articles about human rights, race relations, gender politics and other areas where this term seems to show up a lot. My assessment and opinion based on the whole of that afternoons reading is that the people who are calling others snowflakes (on the whole, this is not a commentary on individuals), seem to be more offended than the people that they are calling snowflakes. Further, the basis for their offense is that people are calling them out for what is decidedly uncivil behavior.

What I mean by uncivil behavior is nothing more complicated than calling people “out of their name”, for reasons ranging from their race, nationality, religion, sexuality, wealth, appearance, or any other reason they can come up with to be insulting.

You know, basic uncivil behavior that in the days of old would be grounds for dueling.

So, from that bit of information, I was leaning heavily toward people being generally uncivil…and that the “snowflake” trend is mainly backlash to people being called out for being jerks.

But wait a minute, didn’t I say something about classical pop culture being included in this?

I did.

And the main reference that brought this up to me is “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”.

Before I delve into these, I feel compelled to state that there is a huge amount of classical American pop culture that is overtly sexist, racist, xenophobic, and generally distasteful to many rightfully offended parties.

But I don’t think that is the case with this film.

Lets start with Rudolph. The allegation is that this film is both racist and about bullying.

For starters, other than not featuring other races other than through stereotypical tropes (which is common in storytelling simply because it is efficient), there is really nothing “racist” in this story. If you choose to say that its focus on the minor physical differences between characters being the reason for the bullying, then I will come along for the ride…but that is the second accusation. So for the first, I give the film a C for lazy storytelling that utilizes racial tropes.

As for being about bullying. Yes I agree that this film is undoubtedly about bullying. Should we be offended by that? Hell no. My reasoning being that while this film is about bullying on many levels, it is more about overcoming bullying by realizing the inherent value of our differences. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to talk about bullying with kids than to show them this film over and over and then tell them about their differences and how those are empowering. So for this accusation I give the accusers an F, for failing to get the point of the film.

So the conclusion I reach from all of my own babbling is this. Yes people are being much less civil than is productive….but sometimes the people calling “snowflake” aren’t completely wrong (other than that n itself being uncivil and counterproductive). Folks are trying to out offended each other and it isn’t useful.

I would go as far as to say that if Rudolph was the worst Racism we experienced in our culture, things would be pretty good… so what do you say we focus on the bigger issues, and stop watering them down by equivocating Rudolph to institutional racism and a culture that embraces bullying as a pastime.


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About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
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