Labels Belong On Soup Cans
As I lay in the dark in the early morning hours just thinking, this question came to mind. “Can you define or describe yourself without using labels that divide us?” This question comes from all the division we have in our country and the world. Certain words are descriptive without division such as “I am a loving person” but some words isolate segments of society and create a greater division between us as we have seen recently. The sad thing is the labels do not define who we are.
By labels, I mean labels such as we see on government documents that we must fill out and other labels that are used to promote division. This does not mean we should not be proud of who we are, it simply means that when we divide ourselves by labels especially in a country that is supposed to be the melting pot, then our unity is not very strong. Being disabled does not define the person I am.
The labels I am talking about are things like race, religious or nonreligious beliefs, sex, sexual preference, size of a person’s body, abilities or disabilities (such as disabled, chronically ill, healthy), Looks (as in beautiful, ugly, etc), marital status, money status, political party, Job, Country (as in saying I am an American, Italian, Australian), etc.We see a lot of division right now in our country with labels even down to labels from the past wars.
Labels belong on food containers to tell us what is in the food. What we believe of ourselves by these labels like above can hold us back from being all we can be for a couple of reasons. One reason is that with labels, someone will always proclaim their label is better, or some will say this label is bad and so the division widens. And some people may believe the label put on them. I saw this with teaching when we got our new kids for the year and there were labels of all sorts in their files. I remember one child who was labeled as “slow” and as I worked with this child, I discovered he was not slow. He simply could not hear.
I tell people all the time that my name is not “Disabled”. I identify myself with the words a quirky, funny, eclectic, happy, compassionate, caring, slow to anger, a hippy, country girl and most of all a God-loving person. I am strong, enduring, hard-working and creative. Can you describe yourself or define yourself without using labels?
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