COLUMN: Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are all a bunch of snowflakes — get over it
In 1983, Central Michigan’s football team beat Western 32-14 and a six pack of beer cost $4.05.
That same year, the biggest comedian in America started his standup comedy special by announcing “Fa**ots aren’t allowed to look at my ass while I’m on stage” to an enthusiastic audience.
Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” probably played in every dorm, apartment and Greek house in Mount Pleasant. Today, I doubt if Murphy, or any comedian, would make that joke in 2017.
Some alumni and other non-students reading this might be tempted to say “That’s because your generation is a bunch of snowflakes!” or “That’s because Millennials need safe spaces now.”
Sadly, they’ve confused “sensitivity” with civility.
Civility, and recognizing human dignity, is sometimes seen today as a horrible thing. It is to be degraded and criticized by calling anyone embracing these ideals a “snowflake.” This favored term has come to define anyone who “can’t handle” their opinions being challenged, people who are offended by any differing opinion and who want to live in an echo chamber where they experience only messages they agree with.
After Central Michigan Life published my column, “It’s 2017, why are you still wearing an offensive costume?” many social media commenters chided me for asking people to reconsider wearing culturally inappropriate costumes.
It was then I realized something.
Millennials aren’t snowflakes – Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are.
My column asked people to be mindful of what they wear. I didn’t tell anyone their daughter couldn’t dress up as a Pocahontas. I said that wearing a headdress and making war calls were once tolerated by the majority though it was always insensitive and wrong. I said we shouldn’t do that anymore.
But week after week when someone suggests an idea like this – tolerance, civility, to seek a greater understanding of the world around you – older generations of alumni and other readers take to their keyboards to whine and complain on Facebook.
Their responses display every quality of a “snowflake.”
You can’t challenge their established opinions. They lash out at me, and other commenters who are CMU students, like a bunch of little children.
You can easily offend them – apparently my opinion that we should be more thoughtful when choosing Halloween costumes is so terrible, it offends them to the core. My opinion triggered them. They won’t accept that society has moved forward while they remain in the past.
We’re not stuck in the CMU they left 30 years ago. Beer isn’t still $4.05 for a six pack. Murphy isn’t telling the same jokes he told in 1983.
Society changes. But each day these people prove they can’t, and won’t, change with society.
I’m sure the same people who said, “I’ll wear whatever I want. It’s Halloween,” are the same people who used to tell women to “cover up” when they go out. Or certain clothing makes it look like women are “asking for it.” We’ve evolved beyond this caveman mentality.
I’ve listened to older men talk about how they used to order women drinks at bars so they would get drunk and go home with them. The meaning of consent has changed. By today’s standards — that’s rape.
Is this because “snowflakes” can’t handle degrading, sexist and misogynistic behavior? No. It’s because society has evolved.
The older generation’s perception of society, and life on campus today, is far removed from reality. If your impression of CMU is professors offering “trigger warnings” or students wanting “safe spaces” it’s because your misconceptions reinforce the social echo chamber you choose to live in.
It seems odd that the people calling my generation snowflakes are so ignorant, they can’t see they’re snowflakes, too.
If I’m a “snowflake” for asking you to not be culturally insensitive on Halloween, then you’re every bit of a “snowflake” too for wanting to perpetuate behavior that flies in the face of common sense, decency and respect for other people.
Generations over take their predecessors in our ever continuing culture war.
There’s no doubt Baby Boomers shaped our culture. Gen X followed and reshaped pop culture and social norms.
Society never stops changing and very soon my generation will be in the position to change culture to our beliefs.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t want change. It’s happening snowflake — get over it.