Today more than ever we’re seeing the negative effects brought on by the loud micro-culture within millennials, that is, people who are now in their teens and 20’s. Dubbed ‘Generation Snowflake’ by Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas thinktank in the UK, we’re talking about the growing number of people who believe they have the right not to be offended or to face ideas, arguments, or even people who oppose their sacred points of view.
Such people have, and still do, demand ridiculous things like trigger warnings and safe spaces in order for them not to get too upset at the most trivial of media. Trigger warnings have been demanded for books such as The Great Gatsby in some American educational institutions. which include labels such as “Trigger Warning: Suicide, Violence” to prevent the overly-sensitive from getting too emotional. Originally, trigger warnings were put forward to alert victims of traumatic experiences like rape to potentially upsetting content, which has some merit, however even prominent psychologists have argued that avoiding this content based on trauma is actually more damaging than facing it head-on in many cases.
I’m not sorry to say this, but if you’re in an institute of learning and demand the right not to engage with content pertaining to your course because it might hurt your precious feelings, then maybe higher education isn’t for you. If you don’t see the value in experiencing content that you might find disturbing or that you find offensive, then you’re close-minded and should do a bit of a growing up.
Safe spaces have also been set up in some universities in order for those feeling offended or ‘triggered’ to relax among such mature adult activities such as play-doh and colouring books. Feeling stressed about hearing someone’s opinion that you don’t agree with? Or perhaps someone doesn’t care for your feelings-based arguments and monologue of self-pity? Find your nearest safe-space today instead of dealing with the problem at hand like an adult.
The sensible alternative to crying at a safe space is to actually engage with the argument or content that you feel so offended by, analyse it, understand it, look at the evidence from both sides, and come back with your own argument. The best way to defeat views that you don’t like is by putting forward superior views that are more logical, valuable, and evidence-based, not by running away to a designated room and wallowing in your own anger and frustration.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg unfortunately as there are many more instances of this type of thinking somehow being allowed to sit comfortably in certain arenas. With such classics as swapping out clapping for ‘jazz-hands’ as clapping may cause severe triggering, or not dressing up as a native American Indian or Japanese samurai for Halloween because that’s cultural appropriation and therefore offensive, apparently. You would think there would be many more worthy causes worth people’s attention and debate, such as terrorism and poverty, yet some of the most privileged people in Western society have instead chosen to spearhead political correctness on steroids instead, potentially damaging education and free speech in the process.
Special Snowflakes are Damaging Education & Free Speech
This trend of super-sensitive snowflakes is something worth chuckling at until you realise that this rhetoric has penetrated the mainstream to some degree, especially in the United States.
University guest speakers have been ‘no-platformed’ due to their views being offensive to some people at these institutions, something that makes no sense whatsoever. Surely one stands to gain more from listening to someone whose views you disagree with? It makes you consider issues from a completely different perspective to your own, meaning you form a more in-depth understanding overall. Also, if the hypothetical speaker has such outrageous and ridiculously offensive views as you claim, shouldn’t you be glad that they’re getting the centre-stage where everyone can see them for what they really are? Terrible arguments and views burn out quickly under an intense spotlight.
This starts to become a free speech issue when we begin to think that it’s perfectly okay to censor anyone we happen to disagree with. This also applies to all other kinds of media as well, you have no right to hinder people from exploring information and arguments that you think are wrong just because of your delusion that you seem to think you know best what’s right or wrong. If you really feel so strongly about someone being too offensive to listen to, then kindly leave while others get the experience they came for, you’re clearly not prioritising your own self-development.
The long-term worry is what happens when Generation Snowflake hit their 30’s and 40’s and become the leaders in the workforce? Will this kind of mundane practice of taking offense towards the slightest statement or action you don’t agree with become the norm? Or is this whole movement simply a fad that common sense will eventually overcome? Only time will tell.
As someone who is a millennial themselves, I am embarrassed by the fact that people my age have been labelled with such a negative name, ‘Generation Snowflake’, I guess you could say I’m triggered (see what I did there?). It’s high-time that we begin to stand up and counter these growing ultra-politically correct cabals by calling them out for their moronic, regressive, and potentially damaging effects on important facets of our society.
Say it with me. Special snowflakes, grow a backbone, become an adult, and stop being so damn offended at every little thing. There are much bigger things going on right now than you and your self-entitled opinions on what the average person is allowed to say, do, read, or watch.