When is a Person like a Soup Can?

 

This might be a little controversial and I’m ready for both positive and negative feed back on it, I want to talk about the labels we’ve put on ourselves and been given from others.

This is something I’ve thought a lot about ever since I was about nine and first realized that as humans we have this need to categorize things into groups. I first noticed it with stereotypes of teenagers I saw online as this was when I first stepped into the world of social media. I saw these people grouped into categories based on appearance and  the things they liked; you had the “emo” kids (later called scene), the goths, the (sigh) pastel goths, the preps, the jocks,the nerds, etc. Not a big deal right? These are just labels put on people based on what these groups were like, it makes sense to have a generalized term to describe the clothing and lifestyle right?

Well as I got older I started noticing that we labeled ourselves in more ways, ways that transcended though all classes, clicks, and ages. We labeled ourselves but race, religion, nationality, and so much more. Again there’s nothing wrong with categorizing large groups, it’d be chaos in a world without labels, but the significance these labels began to take were alarming.

Riddle me this: When is a person like a soup can?

Answer: When they allow their label to dictate everything about them. Soup can labels don’t just tell you what kind of soup you’re getting, they tell you what’s in them and every can has the exact same ingredients. Here’s the problem with people, we aren’t that simple.

Placing things and groups into categories is fine, but it’s when we start to over generalize and change ourselves to fit into those categories that problems occur. I’m going to use race as an example; take two American men and put them behind a curtain. Tell the crowd that one man is gay and one is racist. Drop the curtain and ask the crowd which one is which.

Man #1 is white, has a gun on his hip and wears a cowboy hat and old blue jeans.

Man #2 is black, wears an expensive suit and is well groomed.

 

They  grew up together in the same small town in Texas. One is extremely racist and homophobic and the other is gay.

Who’s gay?  And who’s the racist homophobe? Based solely on the information shown.

The crowd votes mostly this way: Man #1 is racist and #2 is gay. When asked why they reply similarly saying things like “a black man can’t be racist, man #1 is a white southern man making him the racist homophobe.”

By judging based on the stereotypes they’ve been fed they’ve falsely judged both men. The first man, the one they think is racist is a gay man in an interracial relationship. The man they called gay (#2) is racist having been told his whole life that all white people fit the suppressive racist stereotype. The sad thing is they begin to be force fed these stereotypes for themselves and others, slowly beginning to believe them.

This may sound crazy but I didn’t pull these examples from no where, I’ve seen both of these men. As a nation America has been fighting amongst itself, dividing off into groups and forgetting the things that made America great for so long. America was built but the different cultures and people mixing, this is why we’re the melting pot!

I hear foreigners all the time say that America doesn’t have a culture, well they’re wrong. America’s culture is a little bit of everything mixed together, making for a strong and beautiful country… at least it should. Lately it seems that everyone has taken on these labels for their side of the political arguments going on and are refusing to sway from that list of ingredients or see those opposing them as individuals and instead group them as one thing. We aren’t all the same, we don’t share the same beliefs.

Here’s something a lot of people are going to get mad at me for saying, well I’m tired of just siting by quietly and watching everyone tear themselves and each other apart. Here it goes. Not everyone who voted for Trump is a bigoted racist. Not all cops are corrupt but there are some that are, just as their are criminals of all races. Not every Muslim is a terrorist but Islamic countries do have terrorist groups attacking the West. Everyone should have equal rights; gay, straight, etc., man, woman, etc..  Not all white people are racist. You don’t have to be white to be racist, any race can be racist.

You can’t stop free speech because it doesn’t suit your agenda. I have the right to say what I think and feel so long as it doesn’t call for  crimes to be committed or call endanger others (i.e. yelling something to cause a stampede of people or saying what Madonna did at the Woman’s March). I have a right to say these things whether they offend or not. Just as you have the right to call me a bigoted racist, moron who doesn’t know what she’s talking about or whatever you’d like. My feelings are irrelevant where your free speech is concerned. You have the right to offend me by having opinions I strongly disagree with and vise versa.  Censoring ideas and strictly sticking to stereotypes will get us nowhere good as a country and a world.

You can be a straight white man and a republican without hating minorities, you can be a racist black person, you can be an anti-feminist and a woman, you can be a feminist and not hate men, you can be a racist white democrat, etc. I refuse to believe that we can say “this person is this so they believe this, this, and that and that’s just how it is.”

I hate to be talking politics on here, I never wanted to. I wanted to make this blog a lighthearted look at the world through my eyes that might make people happy even for a brief moment. I never wanted to talk about touchy issues like this but if I don’t I’m going to s ream. I can’t take it anymore, I’m tired of being told I think a certain way because I’m this race or gender. No. I don’t think like every woman on this planet, I have my OWN mind thank you. I may fit into the category of one race, gender, and social class, but that doesn’t dictate my opinions. I don’t automatically feel oppressed by men because I was born a woman, I’m not automatically a feminist. I’m for equal rights for EVERYBODY with race, gender, etc. not being a factor.

This is getting far too preachy so I’m stopping here. My whole point is this; stop putting labels on yourself and others that say what you are and how you have to live. People aren’t that easy to categorize. You can’t fit that many people into a stereotype. Stop. Look around you for a moment and forget about those preconceived notions of these groups, you can be more than one thing, you don’t have to agree with everything someone says because you’ve labeled yourself/been labeled a certain way.

The world is beautiful and diverse. Can’t we embrace that? Can’t we be civil towards each other? Can we please stop letting labels like race, gender, political party, etc. dictate our views about everyone? Just because someone doesn’t agree with you in one way or is different from you in one way or another, doesn’t mean they disagree with you on everything. We’re all living here together, if we don’t work together we’ll destroy each other. Please, stop letting yourself fall into the trap of labels, as kids they were just annoying ways of forming cliques, as adults they’re dividing our country.

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