Remove the labels

Pick a label, any label, applied to a person.

Pigeonhole them with it. Make certain they fall into the expected results.

“If A is present then also C and F must be present. If B is present then also C and D must be present. C can not exist without A or B; there is no D with A or E with C.”

We know what that’s called: it’s called “wrong”.

Humans are individuals. Each is literally unique. This demand to categorize each and every one (and drop the outliers) is a result of the industrial age of standardization. We didn’t used to do it beyond the simple bounds of the obvious. After World War II it became a set of education: make sure everyone conformed, because all good soldiers are alike. In reality that only applies to toy soldiers, but people had become objects.

There was a backlash against this conformity processing in the 1960s and 1970s. Then marketing analysis began and we were all dumped into our set categories again, because that’s how you sell things. The need for subservient soldiers was replaced by a need for consistent consumers.

Today the practice rages on, albeit sometimes with aspects of hilarity. For example Facebook’s analysis metric assuming you are identical to everyone on your ‘friends’ list in every way. Sometimes the aspects are not so hilarious, though. As in recognizing Autism as a spectrum disorder and then insisting every autistic individual is the same as all the others in every respect. Both of these represent an unacceptable lack of understanding of individuality. The former is at worst frustrating, the latter is at worst damaging.

Maybe it’s time we stopped labeling people as anything other than people. Give up the racial tags, the religious descriptions, the financial demographic, and the social casting. We are not things to be placed in a limited number of available categories. We are over 7 billion different shades of human being. And we each of us change in so many subtle ways depending on how life is hitting us at the moment.

After all in a democracy every citizen is supposed to be treated equally. Let us try for that as-yet-unachieved goal.

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