A Better Self

Unfit Titles

Jock. Retard. Crazy. Stupid. Fag. Slut. Freak. 

And those do not even begin to amount to the endless labels, or titles, people hand out to those that surround us. 

As humans, we seem to have this natural drive to add a label on to things. Including people. A tag that allows us to differentiate and organize things. To separate one kind from another. To create an order. 

The issue is that people aren’t things. I know, revolutionary stuff there. Right?!

I find myself doing this as well. We all do. We are all guilty. Which is why we all need to work together to put a stop to it. To refrain from using these terms that are merely personal perceptions. Simply just an empty shell full of our own assumption, rather than facts or actual descriptions. When we mar these people and brand them with these scarlet letters, we tend to narrow our focus on them as human beings. Instead we only see the minimal visible area that our self-placed blinders allow us to distinguish.

The problem with labels is that they lead to stereotypes and stereotypes lead to generalizations and generalizations lead to assumptions and assumptions lead back to stereotypes. It’s a vicious cycle, and after you go around and around a bunch of times you end up believing that all vegans only eat cabbage and all gay people love musicals.” -Ellen DeGeneres

People are like onions, with many layers. We are complex, multideminsional, and just too incredibly dynamic to be placed in a tiny box. Each human is uniquely diverse in their own beautiful way. Even if you meet two individuals who share many similarities, you will also find that they also have many differences. That is because we all have divergent personalities and life experiences. 

How boring would it be if we were all the same?

I, myself, have also been labeled many times. Recently I was labeled as a “liberal” (I realize this is not as severe as many labels are nor others that I have been associated with). Not only does that put me in a box, but it also means that you assume that I (along with many others who are also labeled this way) have only a standard set of beliefs and ideals that we cannot veer from. Not only are people being placed in that box of limitations that the person has formed, but their ideals of what “liberal” means may differ from their neighbor. So who is right? Who is wrong? How is that title (or any other) a fair tag to tape on someone’s back? Instead, I like to think that my ideals of things are different from some.

Just different. 

Not only can labels be unfair, but they can also be hurtful. Labeling someone as “retarded” causes them to feel intellectually inadequate. It is an out of date term used to describe someone with an intellectual disability. It is as inappropriate as calling someone with a mental illness “crazy” or “insane”. Describe the illnesses or syndromes for what they are. Using these derogatory terms do nothing but diminish the self-esteem and realness of the issue the person has. 

While not all terms may seem hateful to our own ear, it is important to consider how others feel. It is important to realize that these labels can have repercussions. To recognize that when we hand out these titles freely, that we are confining them to a box of what we believe the terms translate to. Instead, find out the facts. Try to understand the person or situation. 

I’m sure there is more than meets the eye.😉

-Shawna 

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