People need titles. Whether you're discussing historically or presently, people need labels to place on others. They need a quick way to define you in order to categorize the information in their brain. Every person develops templates in their mind about what each label represents and who fits into the category. No one escapes scrutiny. Everyone is judged. For better or for worse.
In the case of historically, one clear example is 19th century Cesare Lombroso's atavisms. He believed that criminals were born criminals and they were throwbacks to an earlier stage of human development, hence morally inferior. From his ideas sprung physical stigmata one could possess that would determine if they were a criminal. How convenient! He perpetuated social darwinism through his ridiculous ideas. Unfortunately his ideas were popular and to this day some of the physical stigmata remains. For instance, an excessive amount of tattoos. It's true that tattoos have become mainstream but whenever you see someone with tattoos everywhere, you're questioning their morality.
Labels sadly become other ghastly things like stereotypes which in turn end up causing undue prejudice and animosity. While it's true that stereotypes may exist, it's also true that they represent a minority. People are more alike across boundaries than they are different just as more differences exist within boundaries. Did you know there are more genetic differences (although subtle) between African tribes than between Africans and the rest of the world?
While it's true that people are programmed to develop templates to easily understand the world, that ability also limits our understanding. By automatically filing people into neat little categories, we're missing details about that person that make them unique and at the same time, similar to you. That's why it's important to think before you judge, or at least spend some time thinking after you make your snap judgement.
You've been labeled. You've been called names you don't appreciate. Labels carry with them negative connotations. Whether it's a racial slur or a social one, they can hurt. When it happens it's important to remember something, they don't define you, you do. You define yourself. You don't have to become that label. You are who you want to be.
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