The Santa Clara
February 22, 2017
As much as I try to avoid Tomi Lahren, host of TheBlaze, sometimes I cannot resist the urge to click on her videos when they pop up on my Facebook feed. Lahren has built her platform on yelling about all the ways she believes liberals are wrong, seemingly opposing everything the left stands for without proposing meaningful alternatives.
In one video called “Final Thoughts,” she discussed how a liberal can know if they are a “snowflake,” an increasingly common political insult utilized by the right. If you believe in free, government-funded college education or recognize the racist practices in border patrol, then you are a snowflake.
This term essentially means liberals are overly sensitive and offended by everything. As I watched Lahren’s video, I was completely confused by her reasoning. She believes acknowledging racism and being fiscally liberal equates to being a snowflake. Lahren conveniently advocates for free speech and freedom of opinion when it is for her own benefit, but those that oppose her views are reduced to snowflakes.
Lahren is simply one of many who have used this insult to perpetuate a false narrative about the left. Turn on Fox News and you will hear reporters commenting on why safe spaces are a result of liberal cry-babies not wanting anyone to oppose their views.
What they fail to understand is that these spaces provide protection to victims of assault, PTSD and violence. Additionally, they are a place for minorities to have open dialogue without the presence of derogatory rhetoric. Safe spaces provide individuals with control and security, something that marginalized folks do not often get.
It has become easier for conservatives to dismiss liberals by insulting them and dismissing their views rather than engaging in true, meaningful dialogue.
But the political situation in this country cannot simply be described by a split between the right and left. It is much more complex than that because there are endless kinds of political views.
Every action or reaction of a liberal person is not representative of the entire group. This can be said for conservatives as well; I do not believe that everyone that leans to the right is the same as Tomi Lahren or Milo Yiannopoulos.
The truth of the matter is that we are living in a country where Donald Trump is our president. The man that many conservatives chose to elect has not only threatened the lives and well-being of marginalized communities, but has actively been working to enact policy that will greatly hurt these communities. For those affected, this is not simply a matter of differing political ideologies.
For all those who claimed that racism ended when Barack Obama became president, this serves as a testament of how wrong they were.
This country was founded on the genocide of indigenous populations and the enslavement of black people. That cannot be ignored or forgotten because it has had a longlasting effect that can still be seen today. Institutionalized oppression is not a phrase coined by “liberal snowflakes” but a description of the harsh realities the disenfranchised face.
The fears of these communities are very much real and legitimate, especially because of who our current president is. Given this, it is impossible and unreasonable to expect strong feelings not to come up when discussing politics. It is not simply hypothetical policy being discussed because it will have real and significant ramifications on the daily lives of many people. Emotions will surface when people’s lives are being threatened.
However, this does not mean that feelings replace logic. The term snowflake implies there is no factual information backing up the experiences of left-leaning individuals. Rather, these lived experiences have pushed individuals to pursue the facts and become more educated on these issues. Emotions and facts are not mutually exclusive and we must recognize this in order to have beneficial dialogue occur between those with opposing views.
In fact, it was out of these emotions that disciplines such as ethnic studies and women and gender studies were created. Women and people of color have been systematically disadvantaged in higher education. These areas of study were created to empower such individuals and are founded on factual information, just as other areas of study. Yet, they are often dismissed as not being legitimate. This dismissal derives from the lack of understanding, or willingness to understand, the experiences of marginalized groups.
These disciplines originated in order to empower minority students and continue to do so. They also provide the opportunity for a non-Eurocentric view on history and contemporary issues while giving students the chance to have dialogue about difficult topics they may otherwise never speak about.
Despite this, these areas of study continue to be denied a space on campuses across the nation. Ethnic Studies was even banned in the state of Arizona. History shows that this type of rejection toward minority identities and experiences is a recurring pattern. The group in power does not wish to acknowledge their own privilege and would rather disregard inconvenient truth. Calling people “snowflakes” for taking a stand against injustice is not productive and it is not logical.
Those that are so adamant in continuing the narrative that liberals are overly sensitive snowflakes should truly reflect on why they are so fearful of opposing beliefs. Becoming open to these alternative perspectives increases the possibility of real change and making the existing power hierarchy more equal. If that threatens you, perhaps you stand to gain from denying the humanity of others.
Veronica Marquez is a sophomore communication and ethnic studies major.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.