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Welcome to my life in the United States in 2018. I'm a liberal lesbian and free-thinker seeking equal rights for the LGBTQ community, criminal justice reform, civil liberties and civil rights for immigrants, and much more.
Also, I'm a part of the "snowflake generation."
Collins English Dictionary refers to this classification as an “informal, derogatory” expression, defined as “the generation of people who became adults in the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations.”
If you told me you've never seen it in Facebook posts and comments, floating around on Twitter, and spoken from the mouths of our elders, referring to the sensitive nature of a young adult or group of young adults, I wouldn't believe you.
The term is plaguing social media as people from all over the world are chastising a generation for feeling, for thinking deeply about situations that make them uncomfortable, and for speaking up about their beliefs. I ask that we stop and take a look at how these intensely emotional, deep thinking, intelligently opinionated human beings could make a positive imprint on our world.
The "snowflake generation" has immense potential. Maybe our generation is more sensitive than those that came before us, but with that heightened sensitivity a generation has risen that is also more accepting, more caring, more willing to fight for the difference between right and wrong, more empathetic, more sympathetic, more open minded, more realistic, and yet all the while still more optimistic. Those calling my generation by this term did not grow up with my generation. We were exposed to different lives than you, different traumas than you, different school curriculums than you. We grew up in a progressive society where the blurred line between right and wrong became clearer. We've established a generation of people who are not afraid to feel, who are not afraid to think, who are not afraid to speak. We are the generation that has the potential to further change the world, the generation that can use our intense emotion to help others better, to help the environment in new ways, to teach our children to be kinder, to stomp out the invisible lines that divide us when we should be standing together. We are the generation who has become aware that things once considered acceptable are anything but. Maybe it is not us who need to change. Maybe we have brought something new, something needed, something powerful, to the table.
Before you call a Millennial a "snowflake," remember that we are your children, your grandchildren, that you are insulting each time you utter the word. Remember that we are a generation of young people who are fighting for your rights along with ours. Remember that we are fighting to protect your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, from a society full of hatred and division. Remember that we are fighting to save an environment destroyed by our own people, that you also live in. Remember that we are fighting to make your world a better place, our world a better place, and the world of future generations a better place. Remember that when a young person is offended by something, it is because they are redefining the actions and statements that were once considered right as wrong in order to make our society inclusive, caring, and united. You can call us weak “snowflakes” until you run out of breath, until your faces turn blue, until the term fades out when we grow to your age. In the meantime, we will be here, making the world a better place for all.