…because passive aggressive Facebook posts were so yesterday…
Happy Monday, Everyone! If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I usually take some time each Monday to discuss something that’s been bothering me (either seriously or sarcastically). If you’re new here, you can find some of my old posts here:
Today I want to talk about something that’s been bothering me for years: Labels.
Generalizations | Labels | Stereotypes
Some labels are okay; like the one that tells you that your favorite beverage contains “100% Juice” or the one that helps you better understand how to care for that 97% cotton, 3% spandex article of clothing. Those labels are great. They’re beneficial and they’re necessary. Nutrition and product labels are the only ones that matter. Society could stand to do without the rest of them, don’t you think?! I’ve talked before about that feeling of never being good enough (Never Enough) but labels are something that other people give us that are beyond our control.
Muslims Are Terrorists | Overweight People Are Lazy | People With Disabilities Aren’t Intelligent
I think one of the most dangerous things about labeling a person is that it is a shortcut. It creates a false sense of understanding, without having to put in the requisite time and effort to truly comprehend the nature of that which is being labeled, be it an individual, organization, or an entire society. Labeling something suggests that it can be defined by that one thing, but nothing is ever so black and white. People are complicated, as are countries, religions, and anything else that one may be tempted to define in a bumper sticker sized sentence. True understanding requires that we first recognize and then cast aside our preconceived notions.
Last night I listened to a TED talk that summed my feelings towards religion and doubt more eloquently than I ever could. Though the speaker did not specifically talk about labeling people, I think the need to cast doubt upon our own understanding can be applied to our understanding of individuals as well as the broader subject of religion and faith. Belief without introspective questioning and doubt is shallow and incomplete. It is the same kind of intellectual dishonesty as labeling an individual. Both are the easy path, but the easy path is usually not the best one.
I encourage you all to not take the easy path. Don’t label someone, because you would not want to be labeled. You are not that easily defined and neither is anyone else.
You may not be able to prevent others from labeling you but you can set the example by not labeling others.
When you have the chance, take the time to watch Lesley Hazleton’s TED Talk. I promise, it’ll inspire you.
My friend and new blogger Aimee over at Here Comes Baby B asked me if I was going to offer a link up this week. So I said, “Sure, why not?!” If you’re interested in sharing your own “Mad About It Monday” post, you can do so here: