Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Power of Labels

Labeling things tends to be in human nature.  We label and classify everything.

Humanity dehumanizes each other using this power on one side of it.  We assume facts based on no evidence other than the word itself used to label.  We label slut, prude, drinker, lush, stoner, smoker, atheist, spiritualist, religious, idealist, realist, optimist, pessimist, gay, straight, bi, trans-sexual, cross dresser, normal, weird(My weirdness is my best quality too! Err, sometimes.),  employed, unemployed, fat, skinny, poor, rich, civilian, soldier, betters, worthwhile, and non.  We label things because it lets us judge them in global statements that never quite fit everyone we are speaking of because of how they include all with no concern of the individual.  Some labels allow us to dehumanize fellow man so we can carry on to demonize the differences for no other reason than it's different than ourselves.  It artificially gives us means to think we are better than others when we're not.  Many words can demoralize and separate allowing global statements to classify people into groups that often times allow us to forget the simplest truth about them.  They are still people.  They still have lives, loves, passions, and people they care for.  We are all the same.  We all have the same biology inside of us.  We are all human.  We make mistakes.  We have great joys. We have great sorrows.  We all laugh and love.  We can all dare to dream big.

There are also labels though that empower by their very nature.  Family, partner, friend, best friend, cousin, brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, son, girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, husband, and wife are all labels that can give comfort and reassurance.  They help define how connected we are to others and our relationships to them.  Even without blood relations we can still consider those near and dear to us as family.  There are comforts in these labels as for many they come with connotations of faith in a person from what those words mean.  They give comfort in defining what others mean to us, and us to them.  They have a power unto them all their own.

Words are a tricky thing.
There are words that forewarn us of people and their natures.  Often juries are the ones that give them this title.  Though there are those that never get prosecuted for their crimes and should still have those titles; there are also those that are acquitted and still branded with a title they should not have.  It's a hard line to understand that can make anyone scratch their head in frustration.

Labels allow us to put people and things onto pedestals, as well as to knock them off of them.  We turn around and forget again they are still people.  Someone who is as human as you or I making their way through the world their way as best they can as we all are.  Everyone is constantly learning and growing.  We all are evolving into ourselves with all that life brings and the choices we make.  We should never use labels to disparage others from their dreams, but we also should remember to be respectful of others as well.

Labels have a power unto themselves that should be used responsibly and not something to play school yard bullies with to belittle all that is different from ourselves.  We all must be cautious of how we use them.  Words and labels may only have as much power as we let them, but they still leave foot prints in the snow that can take time to fill back up.  Even once filled again, they still leave curvatures on the landscapes of our lives.  Be ever mindful of what you speak and how you treat others.  Everyone is someone's grandmother, grandfather, son, daughter, mother, father, brother, or sister.  How would you feel seeing the things you spoke about others if they were said about those that mean the most to you?  That's a question you should always ask yourself, but also be mindful that people cannot know the dangers of others if you do not speak up as well.

Essentially.  Don't be a creep, but don't let injustice prevail either by being silent.
Respect can be given freely or can often take years to build, but it only takes seconds to break by how we mistreat others.  Respect once broken can be twice or even thrice as hard to rebuild and often that trust will never be the same again.  So treat others well.  For how you treat those you do not know speaks more about you than how you treat those you want to impress.

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