We focus on categories a bit too much in our society. I could be known as an “Introvert” and yet I’m not sure I fit in that neatly created, tiny box with a red bow wrapped on top. Labels are an easy way of reducing people to abstract ideas and concepts, stripping them of their humanity. A fellow trivia player at my favorite bar once told me that the African Americans he met hated that title. When I asked him what they preferred to be called he told me “Americans.”
Perhaps I am not against labels per say as I am wary of their ability to make it easy to hate people. Say that an entire group is a “Terrorist organization” and you make it easier for people to hate them. Call a bunch of people “Rabble rousing anarchists” and you inspire others to think of them as a murderous collective out to destroy everything. Now if the title fits sure then use it, however there is a sad easy rush to judgment, largely inspired by the media in this country.
Words carry power, funny enough, and I guess the old kids taunt of “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” isn’t true. We should remember this quote:
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or evil.”Siddhartha Gotoma or Buddha (563-483 B.C.)
And take it to heart.