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.
Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November">https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/7969001... 11, 2016
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.