How to Not Be An Offended Snowflake
It’s here people. The time when people are more offended by individual words, than by what is actually being said. That’s right, we’ve entered…
The snowflake era. The time when suddenly everyone became offended by everything.
This is worse than the politically correct era, much worse. Being PC is understandable. I’m all for not calling mentally challenged people retarded. I’m all for wishing happy holidays so it’s inclusive and considerate of everyone’s seasonal celebrations. But the snowflake era is like…don’t call them blind, it’s optically darker. They aren’t dead, they’re living impaired. It’s getting ridiculous.
We live in a time where labels are sprouting like fucking daisies and you’re bound to offend someone with the simplest phrase, even when it’s supportive. That is no way to live. And I’m going to try to give you some tips so that you’re not easily offended, traveling or at home.
Let’s look at my most recent example, something that happened this morning. Someone asked something on Facebook along the lines of “Are same-sex couples as good of parents?” or something like that. My response: “No more different than normal parents. I agree with everyone else – love is love! They might actually be better since they don’t have their priorities and mentalities stuck in the 50’s like so many do. They’re forward thinking, accepting, which means they’ll likely be fantastic, accepting parents.”
Supportive of gay parents? Check! Promoting they be parents? Check! Spreading love and acceptance? Fucking check!
But what happened? I got lynched. Why? Because I made the fucking mistake of using the term “normal.” My message meant nothing because of it. Sigh. I didn’t use the term normal to imply same-sex couples were bad, were mentally ill, were weird, or anything. I used it correctly, as the term is defined. Normal means following the standard, conforming, typical. And in 2017, same-sex couples aren’t the norm yet. This is fact. This is not me calling them abnormal. Fuck, the opposite of normal could be extraordinary! But my loving, supportive comment wasn’t accepted. Instead the focus was on a word that they chose to take offense to.
And that’s where we’re at in 2017. You can’t even say something supportive unless you look at each and every word you use and ask if it could offend somebody. Because sadly that’s what people focus on. Aren’t we being a bit too nit-picky? Aren’t we missing the point? Isn’t the point to gather support, not change the dictionary? Wouldn’t the term “normal” move out on it’s own the more widely it (whatever it may be) is accepted? Couldn’t we let time be the word scrapper instead of us? Do they realize they’ve lost site of the goal?
This would be like me taking offense when someone says “Dads are the greatest!” Would I jump down their throat? Would I say that’s not cool to say because not everyone has a father? Or what if my father was a shitbag? He’s generalizing! And what about lesbian couples? Is he insinuating mothers aren’t as good? See how far I could take that? See the offense I could take if I really wanted to?
Even after I’d said that wasn’t what I meant and they’re missing the point of my comment, the lynching continued. I was beaten over the head with one word. Now if I’d said “That’s fucking crazy! Only normal people should have kids!” Okay, beat me over the head with the word because then I’m really implying that same-sex aren’t normal. Instead the whole focus was on the word, instead of how I used it, instead of the message I was saying.
SIGH. Alright, now that you understand my rage, let’s talk. It won’t just be during your travels that you might be offended. Like those people, (and to be PC, let’s specify, by “those” I meant the commenters on FB that tore me to shreds), it doesn’t take much to offend people.
Let’s go over some tips so you aren’t one of the lynch mob attacking someone un-needfully or crying in a corner for unnecessary offense taken. (Said with an air of humor, relax guys, you know I love you.)
Listen to the message
“You’re white skin is beautiful!” Yes, you’ll be complimented abroad, sometimes on your skin, no matter the color. In Asia, pale skin is valued as a beauty aspect. They even have products for it. This is a compliment, not a reason to be offended because she mentioned the whiteness of your skin. She isn’t saying non-white skin isn’t beautiful. Don’t look for what she didn’t say, hoping to find offense.
Was the offensive term intentional?
Keeping on with the Asia theme, there are lots of terms for foreigners or “white people.” Farang (Thailand), Laowai (China), Gwai Lo (Hong Kong). You’ll hear them, often. You’ll also have staring, maybe even pointing. But are they using those terms, staring, and pointing with the hopes of offending you? Hell no. But you’re unique, you’re rare, and this is natural for them. Most terms aren’t intended to cause offense, but focus on any word long enough and you’ll be offended. Don’t. It’s wasted effort. If they didn’t say it with anger in their voice or thumping you in the chest, odds are it wasn’t intentional.
Was the speaker intentionally ignorant?
If you travel to Asia, your picture will be taken. Sometimes without even your permission. You may wonder why. It’s because you aren’t normal. Don’t take offense, it’s just what it is. Don’t think of yourself as abnormal, instead, think of yourself as special, unique, unexpected. Smile, pose, move on with your life. Not everyone shares your views, your values, your PC terms or behaviors. But unless you detect intent, blow it off.
Question why you’re offended
If you’re practicing another language, slip-ups will happen. Some people may laugh. Don’t take offense. You don’t use the language the same as them, and that’s okay. You’re learning. Laugh with them. If you become offended, stop and ask yourself why you’re so offended. Was it just a word? Was it how they said it? Or are you actually being a little too sensitive? It’s okay if you were, just realize it, and move on.
Anyway, this post was partly venting, partly sarcasm, and partly truth. My point is that if you want, you can take offense at everything. The labels are coming out faster than I can keep track of, the PC terms are piling up, and it seems most everything can be taken out of context by someone. There is a reason many people are calling my generation snowflakes.
Let me reiterate, I don’t think the opposite of normal is abnormal. Cleared up? Good. Normal to me is the norm, conforming to the set standard. I support all walks of life, trans, gay, bi, queer, color, female, I’m sure I’ve left many out, but we’re all awesome. Since when did being in the minority become so disastrous? It’s okay to be in the minority without shoving your preferred terms down people’s throats, especially people who support you. When did “normal” become the end-all be-all goal? Who the fuck cares if they’re normal?
I don’t get offended if someone calls me abnormal for being childfree. I’m given the term childless, which implies I’m missing something. I could take offense, but I don’t. Why? Because it isn’t the norm. People can call it whatever they want. I don’t invent a term to identify those who do have children so I don’t feel bad for having a label, then beat people over the head with it. I’m still in the minority, which means only I need the label. I’m fine with it, I don’t take offense. You could call me a few things and I don’t give a fuck. Because the people that support me, no matter the terms, support me. That’s all that matters.
So this is my plea. Please, especially if you’re going to travel, develop thicker skin than what others around you have. Listen to the message, not the words. Don’t be offended by labels. Let us close with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” You choose to be offended or feel inferior, and it’s easy to do. Instead, choose to not be offended. If you don’t want to be called a snowflake, don’t be one.
***Now this is unnecessary, but to further illustrate my point, it’s going to end up necessary. I will state I am NOT saying do away with all PC terms. Calling someone the N-word, or other hurtful terms, but in a supportive way, isn’t okay. I didn’t cover every label and every term, so obviously they are all different and some are required, some shouldn’t be. And the term “normal” isn’t a harsh, insulting, derogatory term like many out there. Because pretty soon we won’t be able to use “normal” for anything. I’m talking about taking basic words and finding offense by taking them way out of context and digging too deep, looking for any possible offense, not derogatory slang. Sadly, I had to clear that up before someone hit the comments, hair on fire.***
If you’ve been lynched because someone heard the trigger terms instead of the message, tell me about it!