Generation Z. Our generation’s reputation precedes us as young individuals looking to make the world a better place through improving ourselves and those around us. Yet, when teens are quick to call out their peers’ dark humor comments, inappropriate slurs, they are labeled as “snowflake” or “soft”. A snowflake is defined as someone who is extremely sensitive or someone who is easily hurt or offended when statements made by others disagree with their own. The types of comments might look like: “this generation is too soft”, “here before the snowflakes comment”, and “❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ “. These types of comments have gained traction as a go-to on posts that use racial slurs, dark humor, and bullying as the punchline.
The term snowflake originates from the 19th century as a term used to describe those for slavery and valued white lives over black lives during the civil war (Meriam-Webster). Since then, the term has evolved into a political insult, lumping liberals under one common term. Political figures such as Ben Garrison and Tomi Lahren, have coined the term in the portrayal of their political enemies. In their debates, it’s been used as an ad hominem attack. Your argument is invalid because you take it too seriously, that your feelings are involved, or that “it’s not that deep”.
The insult might be regarded as just a word, but the term dismisses feelings and fits all issues into one box – that it’s just a joke. In this generation and time of change, people are still dismissing voices and shaming those who choose to speak out. Sure, there are certain topics that are over exaggerated, but a majority aren’t. In regards to mental illness and speaking out against micro-aggressions, the stigma surrounding these topics only increases, excusing racism, homophobia, amongst other actions as dark humor. The myth that we are a snowflake and weak generation completely dismisses the successes that our can-do youth have achieved. The association between the term and our generation reflects poorly, and is an inaccurate representation. GEN Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, more likely to be enrolled in college, and sees societal change as a good thing. We view change and acceptance as a step in the right direction towards building a stronger future society.
It’s easy to call someone a snowflake behind a screen. You can describe our generation as soft, easy to get offended, and unable to appreciate your sense of “dark humor”. However, unknown to these commenters, GEN Z isn’t soft. The clear and simple truth is that we’re tired of the jokes and reality of racism, sexism, homophobia, cultural appropriation, and minority oppression that we’ve grown accustomed to. When these “jokes” that clearly aren’t just dark humor are posted, calling them out is the right thing to do. If we continue to label these types of jokes as acceptable, we’re desensitizing ourselves to so many worldwide issues that need to be talked about. Generation Z isn’t the snowflake generation, we’re the generation of change, advancement, activism, and we’re so much tougher than you might think.
Pew Research Center
Feature Image: Ronn Torossian