THE BLOG

Snowflakes Unite!

15/02/2017 08:11 GMT | Updated 15/02/2017 08:11 GMT
Jeff Chiu/AP

In the last few years we have seen some rather huge political and cultural shifts.

With Brexit and Trump, May and Cameron, we have seen the rise and fall of UKIP and the BNP and extreme views played out in the media. We have watched our TV get filled with reality TV, fake lives and people either screaming at each other, or having sex on screen.

We have, it appears, crossed a line.

I grew up in a working class household in Newcastle Upon Tyne, with politically aware parents and a dad who was a union man.

I was taught from a very young age to stand up for what was right and look out for those who couldn't defend themselves. I was brought up to believe you treat people well, until they give you cause to change that, regardless of their sex, race, or religion.

As an adult I recognise just how lucky I am to have parents with such an open and inclusive nature, many aren't afforded that luxury.

I remember my dad chasing a man down the street, who shouted racial slurs at a woman wearing a hijab, while she covered her young daughters ears and many a time found myself at a protest, or a march.

At 32 I am now a mum of two daughters (both under 6) and the world feels like it just took a real nasty backwards step.

Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Katie Hopkins, Ann Coulter, these voices of hate being given a platform. These talking heads, professional trolls, with repugnant and monstrous views are here spewing their vitriol all over us.

I am the most positive person you will ever meet and I can find light in the darkest of places, but it feels like a mine field of sludge right now and we have to find a way to protect this new generation of people.

So where do we begin?

Do we attack head on, go toe to toe with these bigots? From my experience this is exactly what they want, so they can play victim and shout more hate.

Do we sit silent and hope they go away?

Well we did that with Trump for a while, laughing off his clownish antics, dismissing his rise and now he's sat with his tiny orange hands on the button.

My only hope is that we can make decency heard and teach our children what is OK and what is definitely not.

I will teach my daughters that it is not OK to discriminate based on your own prejudice.

I will teach my daughters they can be whatever they want to be and to stand strong in the face of any opposition to that.

I will teach my children to be kind and considerate adults, who smile, compliment and focus on the good, rather than the bad.

I will teach my daughters that even though it doesn't feel like it, we can create our own reality and we don't have to get in line and be spoon fed information.

I will teach my children that hate only breeds more hate and we must start to understand others, seeking out our similarities, not our differences.

I will teach my children that everyone and every living thing has a place and a role to play, that they are not better than other people, nor any less.

I will teach my children empathy and warmth.

I will teach my children that it takes nothing to hide faceless behind a computer screen, with a cat for a profile picture, shouting awful hate speech at someone you don't know, but everything to stand up against that.

I will teach my children, what I imagine little Katie Hopkins could have done with learning, that you get back what you put out there and being angry at everything hurts you more than it hurts the outside world.

I will teach my children tolerance.

I am well aware I am going to be called a lefty, liberal snowflake and be sent tweets about how Isis will bomb my family (and yes, I have had that Tweeted to me before!) but it starts with us connecting as human beings and doing what's right.

To those people I say this, I hope you find some calm in your world, I pity your struggle.

To you other snowflakes, be a voice of reason and logic, stand tall and say "not in my name!"

www.iamhollymatthews.com