Ugly. Beautiful. Fat. Skinny. Stupid. Genius. Loser. Winner.
Black. White. Rich. Poor. Young. Old.
In honor of No Name-Calling Week, I want to take time aside to talk about something that burns me to the bone…. labels.
They exist all around us, in every person we see, there are labels that society puts on them. Society teaches us to “fit in”- Stick to the status quo, as it says in High School Musical. To do what is expected of us.
And if we don’t? Then we’re stamped a label and shoved to the side.
From birth, we’re taught to judge. To put things in categories – that the things that are “same” belong together, and the ones that are different, they go somewhere else. I’m not criticizing the essential units of organization and teaching kids the difference between red and blue, but when this principle is put in a social context, it can cause some issues.
When we get to school, we feel like we are part of a group, and this develops when we grow and go to high school, and later on college. There are so many different groups that are put together: the geeks, band, jocks, thespians, skaters, outsiders, hipsters, preps, nerds, mean girls, emo kids, rockers, and the list goes on.
I find this way of thinking wrong. We don’t belong in perfectly sized cubbyholes, we are individuals. We have different personalities – and adding to that, it’s wrong to set ourselves apart from others because of our economic status, race, gender, or height.
Also, the above list of social groups/cliques is wrong in the fact that someone can belong to many of the groups at the same time… it’s useless to simply place someone somewhere.
Being different is good. It’s what makes this world so colorful, unique, advanced in technology, science, math, medicine, and industry. Without differences, the world would never evolve, and never change.
I love this quote by Steve Jobs that expresses my thoughts exactly:
“Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.“
I judge people, a lot. I remind myself that I have been labeled. I felt alone, depressed, and misunderstood. You never truly know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their perspective.
I urge you to label less, and love more. I challenge you to extend the hand of friendship and have courage. You can do it!