Proud To Be Generation Snowflake

Proud To Be Generation Snowflake

Being Unique is Not Bad: Homogeneity Is
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Following the election of Donald Trump, tens of thousands of Americans protested across the country. In New York City, in Chicago, in Philadelphia, and many more cities, Americans exercised their First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly. Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/Kellyanne-Conway-Its-up-to-Clinton-Obama-to-calm-anti-Trump-protesters.htmlcalled for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to denounce the protests and tell protestors to stop protesting. Conway and other prominent Republicans have also stated that these are paid protestors. President-elect Trump himself weighed in; an unprecedented step for the next President of the United States.

On Facebook, many comments sections are filled with disdain for and mockery of protestors. Commentators make statements to the effect of "this is the result of the snowflake generation, the generation where everyone gets a participation trophy," or "this is why America is weak." I take particular offense at the comment about the snowflake generation, and that is the impetus for this piece.

Proponents of the "generation snowflake" argument say that my generation - Millennials - have been coddled, that self-esteem took priority over success, and that we all have a mindset that we're special and important and because of this we cannot be successful. This is false. This is false for so many reasons, but I'll address just a few of them here.

First, we ARE all different. Homogeneity is not something we strive for, nor is it something we will accept. I am a white cis-gendered male, but I have friends in the LGBTQ+ community, I have friends who are minorities, I have friends who are immigrants. Their experiences are so vastly different from my own, and when I spend time with them and engage with them, I am a better person for it. Their individuality and unique life experiences are part of the tapestry I am exposed to, and it opens my eyes and my mind to other people and how they live and perceive the world. This in itself is valuable. How can we be successful in the workforce, in political office, or on a global platform if we cannot recognize and appreciate our differences? The idea that being a unique and special little snowflake is a bad thing in terms of business, competition, and success is flawed from the get go.

Second, the people generally espousing this flawed view are older, white people. Very rarely do you see a young person of color making the argument that being unique and having varied experiences is a bad thing. That should tell us something. And as one http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/11/14/in-defence-of-generation-snowflake--everyones-favourite-punching/article put it:

To imply young people are oversensitive for wanting to do something about racism and sexism is baffling. How dare we condemn homophobia? How dare we stand up for people who are facing discrimination? What does it say about you, all-knowing, hardened and resilient baby boomer, that you think these are bad things?

Third, the very impetus for the term came as part of a backlash at Yale University for an email sent in 2015 asking students to be racially cognizent when dressing for Halloween. In other words, don't wear blackface, don't wear sombreros and ponchos, and don't be racist.

This should not lead to derision and sneers from older white people. We as a society have a real chance to combat issues like homophobia, transphobia, and racism. This does not make us weak. This makes us strong. This ability to be unique and embrace one another's different perspectives and opinions and life experiences makes us so much stronger than a homogenous group of white men, say like the the U.S. House of Representatives (with some exceptions of course), or like President-Elect Trump's cabinet. Those who claim the snowflake generation is weak simply fail to realize the power of heterogeneity. They fail to realize that we are stronger together. They fail to realize that a world of hate is no longer tolerated by millennials.

Donald Trump may have won this election (at least in the Electoral College), but the protests will continue. No, protestors don't think they're going to succeed in stopping Trump's inauguration. But they can let him know loud and clear that they'll be watching. That racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia will not go unchallenged in this country.

Don't ever let someone tell you that you have less value than someone else because you're unique. They're cowards, and they're stuck in the 1950s. We are Americans, and we will not tolerate blatant homogeneity at the expense of progress. I am proud to be a snowflake. And I call on my fellow snowflakes to stand up. Stand up for what you believe in. Get involved. Go protest. But do NOT take this laying down.



Cover Image Credit: ABC News/Twitter

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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My First Political Debate Experience Only Revealed The Messed-Up Reality Of American Partisan Pandering

More sinister than fake news, more timeless than Trump and Kavanaugh, the deceit and radicalization of modern politics is poisoning America.

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Given my age (almost 16 and a half!) and my nonpartisan perspective on most issues, it's rare that I attend any politically motivated function (much less in person). Unfortunately, my first taste of official political discourse only encapsulated everything I dislike about American politics.

Upon learning that my high school was hosting a debate between two candidates for the district's representative position, I was immediately intrigued. Admittedly, I had my expectations set high. I had jotted down "House Rep. Debate" on my calendar a week in advance and marked off the days the event neared. I would finally get to learn firsthand about the issues affecting my community and about the people with plans to fix them.

To a certain extent I got what I had hoped for, but certainly not in the environment I had anticipated.

When the student moderators introduced the candidates, Democrat Angelika Kausche and Republican Kelly Stewart, to the stage, it was already abundantly clear how ideologically distinct the two opponents would be.

The first question, which asked each candidate to describe how their views aligned with their party's platform, revealed just how cut-and-dry the candidates were at representing their respective factions. On the left, an unwavering conservative with a keen avoidance of overspending and socialist policies. On the right, an equally grounded liberal with a passion for tackling humanitarian injustices and enforcing moral correctness.

This circumstance certainly isn't unprecedented, but the rest of the night only proved how their narrow-minded partisan loyalty served as barriers to productive discourse.

Right off the bat, Kausche avoided the clearly stated question by taking the time to thank the John's Creek Community Association for hosting the event.

Stewart, however, dove right into her response, which turned out to be a fine-tuned diatribe about Georgia's budgetary deficit and Kausche's supposed lack of budgetary experience and the budgetary concerns and the budget. Finally, Stewart concluded that perhaps the most important thing to consider is, you guessed it, the budget. She even printed out budget sheets for attendees, which I found extraordinarily useful as a handy notepad.

My head perked up when I heard a question regarding Georgia's healthcare policies. Admittedly, I know less than I should about the subject and was curious to know what each candidate thought.

Shockingly, Republican Kelly Stewart opposed the expansion of Medicaid while Democrat Angelika Kausche vehemently supported it. I start to wonder what the point of having candidates' names on the ballot is when their political stances just as much could be conveyed with the letters "D" and "R" to the tee.

Neither candidate veered from their party platform for the rest of the night, with only a few moments of forced agreement (always around the fact that an issue exists, never about how to solve it). On a few occasions, a candidate would utter an especially radical idea (i.e. Obamacare is at blame for the opioid crisis. Medicaid should be for all people. Teachers should be armed.) and was almost always met with either overwhelming applause or a sea of groans.

The room's reaction was so powerful in either candidate's favor that I was genuinely confused who was the more favored of the two.

To be abundantly clear, I wholeheartedly support voter efficacy and staying informed, and I understand that debates inform voters of their representative's ideals. I also don't mean to criticize Kausche or Stewart or even the policies they endorse. I only question the point of debate when it's anchored in stiff, unrelenting party platforms. This is symptomatic of the larger trend at work in American politics: the exploitation of party differences by politicians to entice a demographic of their constituents.

If you're wondering what that means or demand evidence, just take President Trump. Back in 2016, his presidential campaign threatened to run as independent when he felt he wasn't getting enough support from the GOP. Now, he champions radicalized views of the right and has emboldened members of the far-right (along with alt-right neo-Nazis and racists) with his entirely anti-PC attitude.

Similarly, it's rare to find a democratic politician that deviates from the extensive list of liberal ideas that are expected of them. Consider Trump's opponent Hilary Clinton, who originally made it clear in 2014 that she was against nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage. Isn't it suspicious that in 2015, without explaining why her stance changed, her presidential campaign later advocated for this right, thus garnering support from the LGBT community?

There's so much more wrong with the state of American politics than your opposed party controlling political office.

The effect of the American people allowing this pandering and doublespeak is political inaction among policymakers, who can preach a set of ideals independent of their actual intentions.

The other result is voter apathy among constituents, who therefore feel their vote holds little weight.

With such deceitful rhetorical tactics dominating the political sphere, it's easy to believe that we've all been given a voice. But when that voice only ever tells us what we want to hear, it's important that we stop to question whether we're really being heard.

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