Proud To Be Generation Snowflake

Proud To Be Generation Snowflake

Being Unique is Not Bad: Homogeneity Is

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 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 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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Arizona Teachers Are Officially Walking Out, And Us Students Are Right Behind You.

Teachers aren't alone in this demand for action, and we are ready to support them by all means necessary.

A little while ago, my teachers started wearing Red on Wednesday’s. Little did I know, that was the beginning of making history.

For the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of standing by my teacher’s sides every Wednesday morning to demand change. But now, it’s even more real.

When I first got word of a potential walkout, I honestly didn’t think much of it. I don’t think any student did. We all thought that a walk in would make a change happen.

On Wednesday, April 18th, an overwhelming 78% of Arizona Teachers voted yes to walking out of school until demands were met.

And now, on Thursday, April 26th, it begins.

School was canceled. No one knows what will happen. No one knows when everything will go back to normal.

But as a student, I couldn’t be more honored to be taught by so many miraculous people who are making history.

I’ve seen and heard countless reactions to the walkout from different students. Some are worried about Graduation, some are worried about AP Testing, and some really just don’t want to stay longer than the original calendar entails.

But, it’s just one year.

I don’t care if I have to stay an extra day, week, or however long is required. I don’t care if I graduate on Friday instead of Thursday. I don’t care if I don’t receive my actual diploma at my Graduation Ceremony until the missed days are made up.

It’s worth it. Little bumps in the road are nothing compared to the reward this walkout demands.

If nothing changes for teachers and schools in Arizona, then who are we to say that there will even be teachers to come in the long run?

When I was first exploring degree options, one of my first interests was Elementary Education. But that interest was short lived because I knew that the pay I would receive just wouldn’t be enough. Students like me have seen our teachers struggle for so many years, so do you really think anyone who even decides to major in Education will plan to stay in Arizona with the pay teachers receive now? No.

Not only are the teachers in Arizona walking out for themselves, but they’re walking out for the new teachers to follow who deserve better.

Us students are proud, our parents are proud, our friends and co workers are proud. Teachers are not alone. They have a strong force standing right behind them. And we will continue to stand behind them for however long it takes for things to finally change.

Cover Image Credit: Associated Press / YouTube

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