You hear a lot of people calling others “snowflakes” and needing a “safe space.” Snowflake is a derisive term used against people who are perceived as being too easily offended and emotionally vulnerable and unable to take on life’s challenges. Safe Space is a term used for a place where people who feel marginalized can come together and discuss these feelings of marginalization. These terms are most often used in an antagonistic way to diminish and shame others.
In reality the vast majority of us are snowflakes as compared to our ancestors. We move into houses somebody else built, eat fruits and vegetables somebody else picked, and eat meat somebody else killed. Unless you are off the grid our ancestors would call you a snowflake. But that is evolution. We strive to make things better for ourselves so that we may have a more fulfilling existence. Our parents did this for us and their parents did it for them. And so on and so on. Just think about your grandfather’s story of having to walk to school 5 miles, uphill both ways, in a blinding snow storm. He would look at your existence and would call you a snowflake. By calling somebody else a snowflake do you automatically get street cred as some type of tough guy? Maybe in our very soft reality of air conditioning and indoor plumbing but historically you and I are snowflakes. Unless you are homeless you are a snow flake. The term is often bandied about but fellow snowflakes that have first world problems. Do you really wonder where your next meal is coming from? Do you really worry that a mosquito is going to give you some incurable illness. Do you really worry that you will freeze to death from the cold of night? Do you snowflake? Of course not. You are soft. I am soft. The people you call soft have the same concerns as you. Sure they sometimes get upset by trivial things but you getting upset at them for trivial things is just as trivial. You have faux outrage at their faux outrage. You are a snowflake filled with just as much self-righteousness as the person you are flake shaming.
Now on to safe space. Not everybody gets heard. Turn on your tv and you will see it is always the loudest voices. We like to watch the loons with spittle on their face. We like the freak show. We like a circus…unless it has elephants and tigers in it. It is easy to get drowned out by the insanity. Think how many times you see somebody spouting off insanely on social media. You begin to respond and then you stop yourself and think why bother. You do not want to put yourself out there to be attacked. You know what you say will whiz right by ears and will be greeted with an incoming barrage of insults. Wouldn’t it be nice to discuss things where you are not being attacked? Where you could have an exchange of ideas? Dare I say a safe space? Granted our ancestors did not care nearly as much about the hurtful word as they did about real danger. Their safe space was a fortified house or a fort. Still both have in common a feeling of comfort. Our ancestors also showed the average person in their life much more respect than we show each other. Now we size em up to tear em down. It would be nice if as a society ideas could be exchanged in an environment where everybody was valued and heard. That is not our current society. Instead it is a rush to label and make somebody feel lesser than. The need for a safe space is a reflection of a society that is long on abrasiveness and short on civility.
When you find society is no longer open to different you tend to gravitate toward the same. That is the antithesis on what our country was founded on. It was built with constant immigration and exchanging of ideas and culture. We call the sameness bubbles. Many of us gravitate towards one. If your social media page is filled with people agreeing with you then you have created your own little safe space or bubble. You may not call it that but your ideas are not marginalized and you are valued.
If we did less name calling, more listening, experienced more things, challenged our beliefs more we would not need safe spaces. Society would be a safe space.
I see these words for what they are. An attempt to make others feel less and you more. A chance to end the conversation before it even starts. That is fine. You are too much like a snow flake to engage in an exchange of ideas with me based on merit. To do so would bring you out of your safe space where everybody agrees with you and into the light where there are some competing ideas. But it is ok, I won’t let your name calling discourage me. I see you are scared. I see you are lashing out. You feel marginalized. You need not. I will let you speak your mind and all that I ask in return is you let me speak mine.