Elizabeth Hess/Left is Right: We're living in a 'Sneetches' society

Elizabeth Hess/Left is Right: We're living in a 'Sneetches' society


The first time I heard the politically-charged term "snowflake" was when state Sen. Chapin Rose called me one during our "WDWS Morning Show" interview. He said it with a laugh, and I knew he was joking — but I knew from the context what he meant.

I spent some time researching the history of this word that has been hurled at me a lot — but don't see it as an insult. I feel that snowflakes are beautiful, unique and gentle. However, there are many unflattering definitions of a snowflake, including "a person who is seen as overly sensitive and fragile."

In Missouri in the early 1860s, a "snowflake" was a person who was opposed to the abolition of slavery. "Snowflakes" hoped slavery would survive the country's civil war. Fortunately, this use of the word never moved beyond the borders of Missouri or the era.

Since the election of Donald Trump, there was a movement of the left to embrace the term and throw it back at the right. For example, Trump was labeled a snowflake when he was upset Mike Pence got booed during a performance of Hamilton.

How about Chief Illiniwek? (for the record, this will be the only time I ever invoke the Chief's name in a column. Ever.) The symbol is hurtful and offensive to many Native Americans, and, as we know, was ultimately banned.

Those who love the Chief were greatly offended when their symbol was removed. People who were offended by the Chief couldn't comprehend why people wanted to revere an offensive symbol. Both sides were each referred to as "snowflakes" — for just BEING offended.

One of my favorite books happens to be a children's book — Dr. Seuss' "Sneetches." He wrote it to teach children that race and ethnicity shouldn't divide our society.

It is about a group of yellow bird-like creatures called Sneetches, some of whom have a green star on their bellies. At the beginning, Sneetches with stars discriminate against those without.

A businessman offers the Sneetches without stars the chance to get them, for a fee. The treatment is suddenly popular, which upsets the original star-bellied Sneetches, as they are in danger of losing their "special status." The businessman charges them to have their stars removed, so they can stay special.

Ultimately, the Sneetches learn that neither plain-belly nor star-belly Sneetches are superior. According to the official Dr. Seuss website, this story provides the message that "we can coexist peacefully, regardless of our external differences."

This 64-year-old message is still relevant today. Just because you think a certain way, your way is NOT better than your neighbor/friend who feels differently. We have become a "Sneetches" society, because we think certain attributes makes someone better than another. It's not enough for us to feel one way — we need for everyone to feel/look/act the same way as we do.

If an image isn't offensive to you, it doesn't mean it isn't offensive.

I am nauseated at the sight of a Confederate flag — because I know the oppressive message that symbol displayed. But I'm not black. I can't even imagine the depths of hatred a black person feels when they see that symbol — not in a history book, but in modern America!

Before you decide a symbol isn't offensive to you, think about something from your heritage or ethnicity that if mocked might offend you. Then picture what type of snowflake you would be if that was suddenly mocked. I'm only asking you to think about it. Change takes time.

Elizabeth Hess is co-host of "The DWS Morning Show" on NewsTalk 1400 WDWS, a News-Gazette Media radio station. Her email is ehess@wdws.com.

Sections (2):Columns, Opinion

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787 wrote on January 28, 2018 at 5:01 pm

It is too much to ask for Hess to write about topics that aren't already several months old? 

Another oldie that she wrote about was the policy on Target's bathrooms.  This is real exciting stuff for your subscribers.   Is this the best that a self-described liberal can come up with?

jparks wrote on January 28, 2018 at 11:01 pm

The show following Dave and Elizabeth allows phone calls, e-mails, and texts.  From anyone.  About anything.  Even confrontation.  Disagreement too.  The show Elizabeth is on doesn't allow anyone to question their ideas, thoughts, or beliefs.  Why?  They have no answers.  They throw it up there to see what sticks but cower when anyone has a question.  Cowards.

GLG wrote on January 29, 2018 at 9:01 am

"How about Chief Illiniwek? (for the record, this will be the only time I ever invoke the Chief's name in a column. Ever.)"  Promise?

Why is it  your little radio "Gab Fest" does not take any phone calls or questions from the few listeners that are actualy listening to you? Dave Gentry reading the phone book to Dave Loane would be more entertaining than you. 

I realy enjoy you taking Rep. Rodney to the woodshed, but you refuse to ask any tough questions of Sen. Dick Durbin, People don't realize the questions asked of Durbin are submited a week in advance and are approved by Durbin as not to make him look foolish by not being able to answer them.

Loader wrote on January 31, 2018 at 6:01 am

Is it possible to just read the comments and not add to page views? I don’t want to add to the Hess’s overly inflated head. 

CallSaul wrote on January 31, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Gee...I can't imagine why they wouldn't want to have the local rightwing reactionary braintrust --- as represented in this comment section --- braying and shrieking like banshees throughout the show...

...it sure is a mystery...

...yeppers...truly, one for the ages...