Name calling. It’s something you’re told not to do as a kid because it’s not nice and it’s not how you make friends. But you did it because you lacked the proper words or argument techniques to constructively make a point about something you disagreed with. But today, it’s becoming something normal and nearly expected in the politically tensed society we live in–even after we learn how to play nice.
An iconic line from the 1990s book and movie, Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk, comes from the book’s antagonist, Tyler Durden, who is in the process of mentally breaking down the individuality in his Project Mayhem gang members. The line is making fun of people who appear to be too sensitive in general, telling them that they “are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” It is also the arguably the revival of the term “snowflake,” which shames the millennial generation and other non-conservative people for possessing this delicate attitude.
Like a bad snow storm, you can often see “snowflake” thrown around in comment sections of today’s hard news and non-niche publication stories that cover someone who is labeled as a non-conservative who appears to be overdramatic.
The term “snowflake” has a really dark history, actually. According to the Merriam-Webster, in the 1970s, “snowflake” was related to cocaine or used to shame black men “who was seen as acting white” And even before that, in the 1860s, it was a nickname for those who were anti-abolitionists.
So it’s interesting how the term has involved from shaming White America to shaming people who want to change White America. Either way, “snowflake” blatantly shames a group with stronger opinions.
The Facebook users who over- and misuse the word most often are nearly all white and usually have very passionate religious beliefs–ranging from following moral rules by the book to believing the man upstairs is actually just an empty attic. They tend to condemn anyone who isn’t a die-hard conservative the most, no matter where else others fall on the political spectrum.
And non-conservatives do resort to name-calling too, let’s not deny that. But it seems to be used as a defense, counteracting the shameful content aimed towards them. Either way, it doesn’t solve a conflict peacefully.
(Note too that oftentimes, the higher the education, the more likely people use reasoning and these argument tactics as an offense.)
Frankly, name-calling is a tacky cop-out for these trolling users to not properly voice reason to their age and political opposites.
Regardless of political belief, people have the opportunity and the ability to craft a great argument about why they agree or disagree with someone over anything. Though it feels like it helps, a higher education isn’t required. A good dedication to be a better and nicer person would be.
Our society is very divided, often for very unnecessary reasons. We need to relearn and teach others how to argue with dignity and respectfully. It’s only going to make our society stronger and more honorable for overall success.