Good Or Bad, Labels Determine Our View Of The World

January 11, 2011
Written by James Patrick Anderson in
Stereotypes & Labels
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What about the labels attached to people who eat at Soup Kitchens?

What’s in a label? “ADHD,” “ADD,” “Tea Party Favorite.” Do you have a label? Do you know what it is? Moreover, how do you feel about your label? Do you only like to wear labels? Labels like, “Polo,” “Izod,” or a host of others we could name. How do these labels make you feel?

Do they make you feel, “sheik,” “sophisticated?” Labels can tip the scales in a positive manner or a negative one. They often influence an outcome, or sway one’s belief. What do you think of when you hear the label, “Cancer Survivor?” Does this label evoke thoughts of triumph, tragedy? Labels bombard us daily; despite the negative ones the instantly come to mind, we must remember that some labels do provoke a positive outcome.

Some labels educate and inspire, and those who proudly wear their labels usually do so for a cause, such as a new way of living like going “green.” After listening to scientists talk about the “Greenhouse Effect,” we need to do more than just go “green,” we must embrace the living “green” lifestyle such as driving hybrid SUVs. Even in the world of communication, many strive to fulfill their need to stay informed, and spend countless time on their “Smartphone.” In a world of 24/7 news cycles, and instant everything, access is all around us… literally. The label “crack berry” pinpoints every Blackberry user, and covers all Smartphone users no matter where they subscribe, and this label accurately describes multimedia addicts of all kinds.

Labels both divide and bring together. For example, the labels most of us instantly recognize is Democrat, Republican… Liberal, Conservative. Or perhaps the universal label that identifies all of us as “Human,” and brings out a sense of belonging, but what about the labels that exclude us, such as Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, or Transgender. What if your label draws recognition for what you do in a larger context, such as being a “CNN Hero,” which has taken on a life of its own. To be “President” of something, impacts a wide and varied community of people who has a wide and varying impact on those who are directly influenced by the “President” of a company or nation.

How do we react and feel about labels that carry a stigma? Do you feel disheartened by these labels? How does it feel to interact with those who wear labels? Do you feel well informed about the world you live in, and how these labels affect the life of another? On the other hand, do you believe that we do not need labels of any kind? The everyday labels that we live with, “Middleclass,” or “Upper Middleclass,” Labels that categorize us…“African-American”…“Anti-social.” So, what’s in a label?

What about labels in general, what makes them good or bad? Will we ever get to a place where we will no longer need labels? Will we get to a place where labels merely describe and not lambaste? Or am I just adding fuel to the fire by labeling the many facets of this topic? What if we just boiled off all of these labels, and merely got along with a label we can all live with…“Fellow Human Being,” “Fellow Life-Traveler.”

Stereotypes & Labels