Lanterns: It’s Winter in America and the “Snowflakes” are Melting!

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It’s Winter in America and the “Snowflakes” are Melting!

 

America is full of victims.  

We have victims of discrimination, racism, sexism, domestic abuse, workplace inequality, and circumstance. After watching our younger generation throw what my family calls a wing-dinger of a fit.  

Warning: Graphic Language.

Little Snowflakes

Its Snowflake Saturday! Time to show some snowflakes. #snowflake #snowflakesaturday #snowflakenation #generationsnowflake

Posted by Snowflake Nation on Saturday, January 28, 2017

I started really thinking about the real problem.  The reality is that you do not have to be a victim of anything.  You can choose to be proactive, or reactive. Let me give you an example.

My son has started driving.  God help me! I’m going to need Prozac.  This morning he had to get off the side of the road just enough for the bus to pass.  Our county road is two way, but one lane.  He saw a branch sticking out from the side of the road and had two choices. Stop and break it off or drive on and suffer the consequences.  Despite my authoritative command to “STOP!” He drove on and then did not like the consequences-- the truck was scratched, and I flipped out.  

Instantly, he became a “victim.”

“...but Mom! It’s not my fault. Don’t yell at me.  What could I have done?  I didn’t put the branch there.”  And his whining went on.  

At that point, I looked at him and said what I want to say to our “snowflakes--”  “STOP IT!  If you are proactive, then you won’t need to be reactive, but, whichever way you choose,  you will not be a victim.”

I have had many things happen in my life that have shaped me.  Some have been done to me, and some I have done to myself.  But very rarely, have I allowed myself to be a victim.  My mom did not allow us to act like victims.  She was a “shut up and get back on the horse kind of girl.”  Literally.  I would fall or get bucked off my horse, and it was, suck it up, and GET BACK ON THE HORSE!  She did not accept excuses, and she required us to “own our crap.”

My family, my brothers, and I have suffered discrimination.  My brother was adopted from Korea when he was 11 months old.  I lost a friend when I was 14 because her dad had very strong negative feelings towards my family for our diversity.  When I was 16, a man looked at me while I was holding my Korean brother and said, “You whore! Wasn’t a white man good enough for you?”  My mom heard him, and her response was, “NO, in our family we like variety. “  She was offended for me.  She was furious, but my mom showed me that I did not have to be a victim.  I did not have to react, but I could have the last word.  

My brother understands discrimination.  He is Korean and only has one hand. He was born with a clubfoot, and talks with a southern twang.  He is a true minority in Midwest America.  He also was not raised to be a victim.  He is very proud and self-reliant.  In fact, he refused to accept a scholarship for an “outstanding youth of color.” Why?  Because he wants to be valued for what he is, an American.

In college, he wrote a paper about reverse racism. (I know, there’s no such thing because racism is racism).  His professor hated it. She gave him an F and tried to get him kicked out of school because she felt that SHE had been victimized.  She was African American, and in her limited understanding,  he could not possibly have experienced discrimination by black people because that just doesn’t happen.  

That was ten years ago, and the problem of denial has only become worse.

When I was in college, I experienced sexism at its finest.  I had an adjunct professor inform a linear algebra class of twelve women and one man that the females in the class could not be good at math because we were 'genetically inferior."   It's not like you could get to that class if you were not good at math already.  OH, I was mad-- fuming really. But, I did not feel inferior. He did not make me a victim.  We proved him wrong.  We learned the material, and all of us EARNED A’s and B’s.  We did not run to the media, videotape his comments, or ruin his career, because for us to have done so would have proven him right.  I hope we changed his mind.  I learned to not listen to small-minded individuals and to stand up for myself in a positive manner.

Let’s talk about the workplace.  It’s the same everywhere.  There are good days and bad.  Times you get lucky and have the good boss, and times you don’t.  

I had one of those bad bosses.  Horrible!  (Ironically, the worst bosses I have ever had were women.) She never made it out of middle school emotionally.  My horrible boss and I had known each other from high school.  She had not been my friend, but she was not someone I disliked either.  To be honest, she had not even really made my radar, but I had made hers.  It was a love-hate relationship. She loved hating me!

The day after I got a haircut, and she said to me, “Wow! I see you got your hair hacked off.”  She even made the comment once that life had been easy for me up until this point, but that was going to change.

She did every little thing she could think of to make me miserable. So, I went job hunting.  When potential employers called to confirm employment, she made sure that they would not hire me.Then, she did not renew my contract.  Ironically, this was one day after I prayed for God to give me a job where I was needed and wanted.  I was called into a meeting, given no reason, no warning, and fired.

I was devastated. It did not matter that I was unhappy at my job, I could not see the upside.  I didn’t know what to do.  I felt like a victim, and I acted like one too.  I cried. I complained. I could not understand how this could happen to me. I applied for every job in the area.  Every door was closed to me.  I then found out why.  I was told this by a sympathetic secretary that she had bad mouthed me to every place that called her for employment history(not a reference).

My mom put up with my behavior for awhile, and then she got real. She gave me the truth, and it was hard to hear.  Her words--  Get up! Shut up! Get over it, and get on with it!  Life is too short to waste on small people, and we are tired of listening to you complain.  If you don’t like where life is taking you, Rae, then do something about it!  I had my wake up call.  I changed careers for a short time, and let God lead me to where I needed to be.

The point to all of this is simple.  

YOU will experience discrimination, sexism, racism, and many other things that can and will make you feel like a victim in your life.  You can change how you react, not how others behave.  I find that I tend to be pretty forgiving.  In some ways, I owe these people thanks, but mostly my mom.  She truly is a strong woman, and hopefully, my children will say the same thing about me someday.

SO...

You can be a snowflake and meltdown, or you can look for ways to make a positive difference. We don’t have to all agree, all of the time.  We can’t, not in a country that has so many different people, opinions, and ideas.  But if you are so weak that you are a victim in everything, then you are too weak to contribute.  You can’t rationalize with a two-year-old, and you can’t work with an adult that acts like one.

It's time to grow up!

 

Written by Rae Ashcraft

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