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Old 05-03-2012, 06:32 PM
Gaba Cornwall Gaba is offline
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Arrow Labels

What if we lived in a world without labels?

"He's attracted to men, so what?"

The color of your skin doesn't matter much. Religion only matters to the individual. Whether someone is trans or not has very little effect on you for the most part.

So, should labels stay or go? Why?

For me, it would be less terminology and promote a more accepting atmosphere.

EDIT: Talking about social labels.
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Last Edited by Gaba; 05-04-2012 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:51 PM
Fire Streak Fire Streak is a male United States Fire Streak is offline
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Re: Labels

Labels have become a form of classification. They're implemented to throw certain people into a group that describes what they are. I see no harm in this unless slander or contemptuousness comes from it. For example, a person may take offense for being "classified", because to them it's stereotyping.

People are people, not some thing that should be stuck under a particular term. Too much separation has resulted from stereotyping and the like.

Therefore, I'm also in agreement that taking labels away would advocate a greater amount of acceptance. Removing the need to categorize also removes the ensuing feeling of insult. I'm all for that.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:04 PM
Envy Envy is a female United States Envy is offline
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Re: Labels

I've never understood this strong opposition to labels. When people label themselves something and become that label and not themselves, that's a problem. However, labels like "gay", "lesbian", and "straight" exist for a reason. The reason those labels exist is not because people are making too big of a deal out of sexuality, they exist because they are different concepts. Obviously, somebody who is homosexual wants to know when others are homosexual, because that means they have a chance of being attracted to each other.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:11 PM
Double A Double A is a male New Zealand Double A is offline
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Re: Labels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Streak View Post
Therefore, I'm also in agreement that taking labels away would advocate a greater amount of acceptance. Removing the need to categorize also removes the ensuing feeling of insult. I'm all for that.
This is the problem though. The "need to categorize" arguably comes from the existence of categories, which won't go away if you stop using the words.
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Last Edited by Double A; 05-03-2012 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:16 PM
Fire Streak Fire Streak is a male United States Fire Streak is offline
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Re: Labels

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Originally Posted by Double A View Post
This is the problem though. The "need to categorize" arguably comes from the existence of categories, which won't go away if you stop using the words.
I'm saying that oftentimes categorizing like such offend and drive people deeper into an isolated view. It doesn't help them become accepting of every other person's diversity and, by extension, individuality. Not making a generalization there; just a statement.

But I agree with you... Perhaps "act of categorizing" would've been better suited than the need of it.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:56 PM
mattj mattj is offline
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Re: Labels

Mother. Father. Grandpa. Grandma. Doctor. President. Why do we need these labels? Shouldn't we all just be people? Why should I have to seek out a doctor when I'm hurt? Why can't I go see my teacher?
Last Edited by mattj; 05-03-2012 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:05 AM
Great White North Great White North is a male Prussia Great White North is offline
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Re: Labels

Probably because the doctor is a trained medical professional and your teacher is not.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:24 PM
Jaime Lannister Sweden Jaime Lannister is offline
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Re: Labels

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattj View Post
Mother. Father. Grandpa. Grandma. Doctor. President. Why do we need these labels? Shouldn't we all just be people? Why should I have to seek out a doctor when I'm hurt? Why can't I go see my teacher?
Call it a hunch, but I feel Erika might have meant labels as in things like Straightedge kids, stoners, jocks, nerds, sluts, christian, homosexual, etc., and the negative stigma that comes from labeling. Label someone a jock and you think they're buff, work out a lot, probably don't do well in school, only care about sports, etc. Label someone a homosexual and one's mind may imagine a flamboyant man who speaks with a lisp and has impeccable tastes for fashion.

Of course these are social labels. If the OP meant labels in general then I'd have to agree with mattj. These kinds of labels are pretty useful and should be kept.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:05 PM
Luna Tique Luna Tique is a female United Kingdom Luna Tique is offline
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Re: Labels

I think "labels" should still exist but people just shouldn't judge people based on them. After all, it would be really boring if everyone was considered the same.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:08 PM
Gaba Cornwall Gaba is offline
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Re: Labels

Alright, I wasn't super clear in the OP so its been edited. That is in fact what I'm talking about, Chris. Social labels. Not professional ones.

Sorry about the confusion guys. :/
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:31 PM
mattj mattj is offline
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Re: Labels

I don't know. I kind of think labels and even stereotypes can be a good thing. I'm a gamer. I've had people, who I never really talk to at work, hear that from another person "Oh. Yeah. That Matt's a gamer." They'll come down the line and talk to me about whatever game it is they play. I like that very much. They do too. I'm a Punk too (music). People hear that, or see that (the shirts I wear, etc) about me, and if they're into it, they come along and say "Hey, have you listened to the new XXXXX CD? Its great man!" And we start up a conversation. I'm also an avid fisherman. People who I rarely, if ever talk to hear that from another person. And when I just happen to be walking by, they stop me and say "Hey man! How's the fishing been? I caught (insert lie) last weekend man and it was (insert lie) big!"

Labels don't have to be a bad thing. They can just describe who you are, and they can be helpful for letting other people know things about you. If the label carries such a negative connotation as to ruin your life, or for whatever reason you're not comfortable with people knowing your hobbies, either find new friends who don't care or change.
Last Edited by mattj; 05-04-2012 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:41 PM
LegendofLex LegendofLex is a male LegendofLex is offline
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Re: Labels

My opinion on labels is complicated.

As Double A says, categories do exist and are arguably more helpful than harmful. People do have skin colors, sexual preferences, etc. and identifying and expressing these using language is only natural.

It's when categorization subconsciously (or consciously) results in the partial or total dehumanization of others that it becomes an issue. When I say "dehumanization" I'm talking about when we make a value judgment about someone based on his or her category. "Because he/she is _(such-and-such category)_, therefore _(some preemptive judgment)_."

Essentially, we put people in a box, defining them as people based on their categories...and not based on them as people, as unique individual wholes that are greater than the sum of those categories.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:14 PM
Double A Double A is a male New Zealand Double A is offline
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Re: Labels

How is that weird? It goes without saying that one's skin color is easier to notice than their eye color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lex
It's when categorization subconsciously (or consciously) results in the partial or total dehumanization of others that it becomes an issue. When I say "dehumanization" I'm talking about when we make a value judgment about someone based on his or her category. "Because he/she is _(such-and-such category)_, therefore _(some preemptive judgment)_."

Essentially, we put people in a box, defining them as people based on their categories...and not based on them as people, as unique individual wholes that are greater than the sum of those categories.
Small mostly-unrelated nitpick (for the sake of fleshing out the discussion beyond the unanimously-agreed-upon "WELL IT'S WRONG TO MOCK PEOPLE BASED ON WHAT CATEGORIES THEY FIT INTO"), but I don't see how the two are the same. I agree with you that the first paragraph is basically saying what the problem is, but I can't see how it relates to the second paragraph.

One's identity is the sum of all the categories they fit into (there is literally no way to describe any aspect of a person beyond saying "that person is..."). "Putting people in a box and defining them... based on their categories" (i.e. acknowledging that they aren't greater than their categories) is what we do whenever we describe people, and I can't see how that necessarily leads to dehumanizaton and the kind of pre-emptive judgment that hurts others (which is what you implied when you said "X, so essentially Y").
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Last Edited by Double A; 05-07-2012 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:13 AM
LegendofLex LegendofLex is a male LegendofLex is offline
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Re: Labels

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Originally Posted by Double A View Post
Small mostly-unrelated nitpick (for the sake of fleshing out the discussion beyond the unanimously-agreed-upon "WELL IT'S WRONG TO MOCK PEOPLE BASED ON WHAT CATEGORIES THEY FIT INTO"), but I don't see how the two are the same. I agree with you that the first paragraph is basically saying what the problem is, but I can't see how it relates to the second paragraph.
I do not believe that our reactions to other human beings can be summed up as a form of "description," which is tied to language. Language is connected to the way we think, yes, but the points of view themselves and particularly reactive responses are more complex than the language we use to express them.

At the same time, I think categorization does take place in a reactionary way. It has to go through the head of someone who is racist that someone is of a race that he or she does not approve of before he or she can react to that person negatively. That recognition is a prerequisite for discrimination.

But I'm not so sure that when someone engages someone else as an equal that this kind of process occurs; social/racial categories are basically ignored (as long as they are not made somehow relevant) and the interest is in the particular person, what he/she has to say, etc. Here a person is not conceived of based on his/her categories but simply as the person on the receiving end of a conversation (which yes I realize is itself a category, but I think we'd agree it's not quite equivalent to the kinds of categories that are the subject of this discussion).

Quote:
One's identity is the sum of all the categories they fit into (there is literally no way to describe any aspect of a person beyond saying "that person is...").
At the same time, there's the colloquialism "that's just how so-and-so is," which implies that while perhaps that person might belong to some category (easily annoyed, for example), there is something about that quality that uniquely and characteristically belongs to that person. That quality as it is perceived in that particular individual is in that way a kind of category unto itself, no - even if an imaginary one (all categories are basically imaginary though, in the same way that all language is abstract).

It's kind of like how when you first get to know someone the process of recognizing them (based on the way they look, way their voice sounds, etc.) may start off slow going, but after a certain point you just recognize them naturally. Is this categorization? Maybe, but I think it's distinct from the reaction of the racist from my previous example.

If people saw categories objectively there'd be no need to worry about false generalizations; if people could perceive all there is to know about a person, then our judgments about them obviously wouldn't be based on (probably) insufficient knowledge.

I realize that not living in a perfect world doesn't change the fact that we often see things in categories out of necessity, but there are enough snapshots of ways in which we seem to defy or ignore categories in favor of the people they describe (all of which seem to be positive and as far as I'm concerned seem to be among the most humanizing moments of our species) that I think we can and should try to move towards them.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:47 AM
Gaba Cornwall Gaba is offline
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Re: Labels

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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Why, though? I look at people's eyes all the time.
Well, skin color can be seen from a distance. You gotta be all up in someone's grylls to see their eye color.
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