Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Snowflake Identity Crisis in Education

Monday, July 3, 2017, 19:45
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by the Rev. Dr. Joe Renfro

We are witnessing a major identity crisis in education.  There are blizzards falling or hazards rising and piling up all over our nation as “SNOWFLAKES” are protesting at various colleges across our nation.  Particularly this is so, as the more conservative voices seem to be taking the lead instead of dragging behind in in the socio/political realms in our nation at the present time. 

Progressive snowflakes, who are the grandchildren of the civil right activists of the 1960s, now feel it is their time to set things right by affirming what they call “minority rights.”  Much of this is without regard for what we Christians call “righteousness” or what more conservative minds feel are right and wise in the long run. Much of this is a repudiation of Western Culture. We are witnessing attacks by the Islamic radicals, the atheists and the secularists who want to erase Christianity from the public marketplace very much at work, as they wage their cultural jihad not with bombs – but with lawsuits, college demonstrations, and other types of protests!.

The Bible teaches that God created each of us to have unique characteristics and purposes. He designed us to have a commonality of contentment within our lives through conformity to his will, so much so there is a vacuum within the human soul until we are able to realize this identity.  “Who am I?” is an imperative question, especially to the Christian young person.

There is the fact, however, that particularly over the preceding half century our educational establishment has definitely been central to the promotion of the confusion that has created this identity crisis.  A basic influence to this has been often the college campuses. Especially the identity crisis is evident in the group called the snowflakes in this respect!

There is the question of identity! In this respect we must consider the whole area of coming to know how we are and who we are. Who are we?  Who is the real person inside of me? How do I handle the conflicts in my personage?  All these types of questions confront people as they seek to realize identity.

Theorist Erik Erikson (1902-1994) coined the term “identity crisis,” and believed that it was one of the most important conflicts people face in development. According to Erikson, an identity crisis is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself. In Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, the emergence of an identity crisis basically occurs during the teenage years in which people struggle between feelings of identity versus role confusion.

Proverbs 4:20-23 gives God’s message to the young men, saying: “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” This is important, not only to grasp the guidance of parents, but especially that of our Heavenly, whom we can come to know through  the relationship with Christ.

A new best-selling book called No Campus for White Men shines a revealing light on the growing obsession with diversity, obsession victimization and identity politics on today’s college campuses, and it shows how this is creating an intensely hostile and fearful atmosphere that can only lead, ultimately, to ever greater polarization in American society. Across the country, ugly campus protests over speakers with dissenting viewpoints, as well as a preoccupation with micro-aggressions, “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” and brand-new “gender identities,” make it obvious that something has gone terribly wrong with higher education. For years, colleges have pursued policies favoring students based not on their merit, but on their race, gender, and sexual orientation, rather than academic ability and commitment. The disturbingly negative effects of this culture are now impossible to deny. I think this well illustrates our shift in America from the respect of righteousness, moral disciplined learning and behavior to the pursuit of civil rights, into whatever category the rights’ battle might relate!

Eric Williams wrote in an article “Do You Know a Liberal Snowflake Who’s Still In the Closet?” that: “Do you have a special someone in your life who is a full-blown liberal snowflake, but they’re still in denial about it? It’s a very sad situation in our society today, but not that uncommon. There are so many snowflakes on American college campuses these days that blizzard warnings are in effect all year round. So, what exactly is a snowflake? Basically, a snowflake starts as someone who is convinced they are better than you.”

It has been noted that:  “Many of the students or at least many who identify with that group called that is called “Snowflakes” often tend to exhibit many of the following characteristics: Zero accountability, Habitual whiners, Devoid of reason, Easily suffers meltdowns, Will protest any perceived injustice, Glories–In self-loathing, low self-esteem, labeling other people, and socialism, Loves – Playing the victim, and Hates – America, patriotism, work. (Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, March 5, 2017). There are more, but this is a picture!

Ashe Schow in an article in the Washington Examiner, back on July 4, 2016 brought out that colleges and universities have been places of some of the most embarrassing displays of student and faculty behavior ever witnessed in modern history.

She observed that “Bolstered by a grievance culture that promotes victimhood, campus protesters demanded “safe spaces” from ideas they disagreed with and “trigger warnings” on readings that might make them uncomfortable. They accused those whose comments might seem slightly insensitive of committing “micro-aggressions.” They commanded their college administrations to change the names of buildings by judging past actions by today’s standards. They protested speakers who they found controversial and they labeled as “hate speech” anything they found objectionable.

At Lebanon Valley College, students wanted to change the name of the “Lynch Memorial Building” because of the word “lynch.” It didn’t matter that “Lynch” obviously referred to the name of a person—these special snowflakes couldn’t handle seeing the word without his first name attached.  At Columbia, students requested a trigger warning to accompany Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” because it contained a passage alluding to the rape of the Greek goddess Persephone…In the University of California system, professors were warned to not use common phrases like “America is the land of opportunity” or “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” because even these clichés could be considered micro-aggressions…Micro-aggressions are words or phrases that a person doesn’t mean as offensive, but that can be deemed offensive by an especially sensitive person — or by someone looking for attention by making themselves into a victim.

Daniel Greenfield observed our colleges are falling in standards. There is the move away from objective rational education to feelings based ideology heavy indoctrination makes it much easier to get good grades.  Greenfield bring out that “Until the Vietnam War, ‘C’ was the most common grade on college campuses,” but that is no longer the case. (Snowflake Nation: 45% of College Students Now Receive A’s” –by Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, March 29, 2016)  I know back when I taught Psychology in college a few years ago many students were shocked to see the grades fit into a perfect bell curse instead of one being lop-sided on the “A” side.

Greenfield also observed in the same article in respect to the “Special Snowflake Students” that all the millennials are not entitled monsters.  This is a generational stereotype!. But there are plenty of narcissistic squeaky wheels on campus. He asks, “Do you think your average cry-bully is going to settle for a B or accept a C? That’s racist, sexist, something phobic, etc.; don’t you just know the toll that this is taking on them, where’s the safe space and the counselling?” Without question, there are vocal students on campuses who are much more interesting in seeking to change our culture, than learning about what is the knowledge basic to our culture and how it is has worked an evolved into the Judeo-Christian value basic to all Western Democracies.

Schow noted that Donald Down, a professor of political science, law, and journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had said in another Washington Examiner article that among other things that there is, “a feeling of “self-righteousness” has taken hold at college across the country.  (Schow, July 4, 2016) It is a self-righteousness of the right issues!

She wrote that: “The universities think: ‘We’re so virtuous, you know, because we do the academic thing and we care about the world and we tend to be very one-sided politically; that we’re the progressive beacon for America,'” Schow referenced Downs that, “And that kind of self-righteousness, I think, contributes to our insular behavior because we’re less willing to learn from others and our critics.” Self-righteousness is coming, not from the right, but from the left!

University of Michigan researcher Daniel Eisenberg estimated that the average public university spends about $1 million per year on mental health services.  “According to a survey by the American College Health Association, 17 percent of students nationwide were diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the past year, and 13.9 percent were diagnosed with or treated for depression. And a 2012 survey of college counseling center directors found that 75 percent of respondents thought that the number of students with major mental health problems had increased over the prior year… full-time student spends just 19 hours per week on schoolwork and 29 hours per week socializing.” (The “Snowflake” Generation: Real or Imagined? – John William Pope Center, December 19, 2016)

Downs also added it is recounted that, as colleges and universities have become more expensive, students have come to feel more entitled — believing they “feel like it’s their right to be protected from upsetting things, whereas dealing with upsetting things is part of maturation.”

Joseph Farah in an article, “Help show America what’s wrong on campuses” in the June 18, 2017 WND publication observed that a “terribly evil culture’ spreading at U.S. colleges”. And he brought out how what we once called academic freedom in American schooling is “a thing of the distant past.”  He poses a real important question from the article, as he writes: “Imagine when the first snowflake justice reaches the Supreme Court and rules that certain parts of the town you live in must be designated as a ‘safe space’ and that people like you must stay away. Or what about that city planner or government official who decides that your church is offensive and the state must seize it because of the anti-whatever comments that are being made inside?”

However, the message of Christ goes out, and it effectively gives those who come to realize it a positive worldview, a moral understanding, and an openness to Christ as the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  Here is the way to overcome the terribly evil culture developing in our midst.

This relationship with God through Christ enables Christians to have an identity of being one with Christ, as I Corinthians 6:17 says: “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”  Here is the affirmation of true identity!  I Corinthians 6:17 says: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.” Here is connected the route to overcoming all prejudice!  Romans 15:7 also harmonizes in here, as it says: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Here is a focus that overcomes most all to which the snowflakes protest!

Colossian 3:1-3 sets a pattern to learn and practice what edifies in learning and overcomes the destructive knowledge, the destructive behaviors, which much of the so called Snowflakes promote under their self-righteous banners with much of it very immoral.  The great call to the most complete identity is as it says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Identifying with Christ can truly melt snowflakes!


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