Some labels are fairly generic; male and female, for example, but most others are unfair and hurtful. We've probably all called someone stupid, or a jerk, at one time in our life; we've all probably been called a few unsavory names ourselves. as well. It never feels good. Words can be hurtful, even when they're well-intentioned.
Labels, we think, make it easy to pigeon-hole others; we can separate the ones we like from the ones we don't. But when we label others, we often miss some of their more delicate and subtle attributes. I read once where the Inuit can tell the difference between dozens of different kinds of snow. To you and me, we simply see snow; it all looks the same. The Inuits, though, are able to see tiny differences. Why? Because they take the time to look; to really see the snow. They get to know it before they decide what to call it. What if we did that? What do you think would happen? Would we start seeing others as they really are and not as we think they are? I believe we would.
Labels shape our perceptions of all kinds of things; race, financial status, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. The more labels we give a person, the harder it it for us to see them for who they are; they become, in our eyes, either very small and inconsequential, or so large and scary that we begin to see them as dangerous and life-threatening. Sometimes, however, labeling others isn't much of a concern. Those kinds of labels allow us to categorize the tons of information we need to process every day; friendly, harmful, safe, deceitful, tasty...are jut a few that come to mind.
We label out of fear; fear of those who are different from us. We tend to judge others before they judge us. Hurt or get hurt. That's the motto of labelers.
Here are 10 labels that we all need to quit using to describe our fellow beings:
1. Illegal immigrant 2. Slut 3. Retard 4. Socialist 5. Tranny 6. Crazy 7. Plus-size model
8. Homo 9. Addict/Alcoholic 10. Republican/Democrat
I have a few more that I would ad to my list. I'm sure you have a few that you think should be banned forever, too. If we lived in a black and white, right and wrong, and good and bad kind of world, a world where we all looked and thought the same, then labels might be ok. But we don't. Our world is full of color, of grey areas, and many different perspectives of what is right and wrong. In the real world, labeling others serve no useful purpose. Each of us is entitled to our live our life the way we see fit; the way that's right for us.
Labels make me sad. Labels make me angry. My wish for today (and, really, every day) is that each one of us makes a vow to stop using degrogatory labels on one another. And if you hear someone else slinging the mud...walk, or hop, away as quickly as you can. Don't become a part of the problem.
We are all far more alike than we are different. Once we get that, it's much more difficult to call others by disrespectful terms.
Labels are for jars...not for people (or frogs!)
Respect and dignity for all.