"Devastated by Brexit? Protesting the election of Donald J. Trump? Asking to take down a statue of a racist on your campus? Sexual assault survivors requesting trigger warnings on texts that include graphic rape scenes?"
From my research, there are multiple types of political snowflakes, including:
What I am curious of is not only the history of the word, but also how it has traveled in the last 150 years.
According to Emily Brewster at Merriam-Webster:
"In Missouri in the early 1860s, a "snowflake" was a person who was opposed to the abolition of slavery—the implication of the name being that such people valued white people over black people. The snowflakes hoped slavery would survive the country's civil war, and were contrasted with two other groups. The Claybanks (whose name came from the colorless color of the local terrestrial clay) wanted a gradual transition out of slavery for slaves, with eventual freedom accompanied by compensation to slave owners; the Charcoals—who were also called Brown Radicals—wanted immediate emancipation and for black people to be able to enlist in the armed forces."
In the 1970s, according to Green's Dictionary of Slang, the word appeared to rear its head again. This time, it was used to describe either a white person (regardless of personality) or a black person who imitates a white person.
The earliest documented appearance of the currently used definition that I can find was in the 1996 and 1999 Fight Club (video) films:
"You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world."
Did something cause the word to change focus of meaning from race-centered to personality-centered? Was it really sparked by Fight Club or are the two usages completely unrelated?
(Note: This is not a political discussion so please keep all comments and answers about the word history and usage, not political views. All political posts will be flagged for deletion.)