According to Wikipedia: “Generation Snowflake, is a term used to characterize people who became adults in the 2010s as being more prone to taking offence and less resilient than previous generations, or too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own. It is considered derogatory”.
As the above memes imply, the term can be used by either political extreme to get at the other. While typically it is those in their twenties who might be referred to in this way, I can think of many much older where this might apply and might even at times include myself, despite claiming my experience being on the receiving ends of insults is like water of a ducks back. I came across this term recently and have noticed, particularly as I have sensed culture wars hotting up and in the light of Brexit and Trump, more snowflakes and unintended untoward consequences when umbrage is taken.
In the past day or so I have had exchanges with two different folk who I regard as community spirited. One took exception at a meme I posted on Facebook concerning Liberal Fascism. I realize for my friend, true liberalism is about caring for the disadvantaged and fighting to tackle injustices and Fascism is the domain of right wing extremists. My own experience has too often been when offering a view that did not meet the approval of liberal types, I have been castigated. In the other exchange, I mentioned my determination when dealing with a supposed need of one claiming poverty that I felt bound to make an effort to judge between need and greed, truth and deception, while my friend felt a less judgmental approach was needed. In both these instances our views were based a lot on our axioms and experience, but at least we cheerfully agreed to differ.
As I reflect on these matters, I realize a snowflake is a delicate entity and sometimes it is important to be sensitive in what we say and do and at the same time when people (inadvertently or otherwise) offend us, not to get on our high horse and miss a chance for our views to be challenged and may be even refined. I am pretty much convinced that acting like a snowflake does a good deal of harm and stops us doing what we ought to do – having good honest dialogue and trying to find common ground so we can progress. Rather than snowflakes, we need something less fragile, that will resolutely do what needs doing and not to overreact when someone offends you.