call, characterize, designate, name, style, tag, term . . . label

When I was in SF, I had a conversation with Scott at the Big K. (Hi Scott!!! ;)) Part of the convo had to do with how we, as humans, are almost instinctually bound to label and categorize not only things but also people. Hmmmm . . . Same vein: I used to teach high school (insert sympathy here, please) and do still work at ITT Tech. In my classes, I talk about this same subject. Labeling, compartmentalizing, and categorizing. I’m not sure why we do it, but I am pretty sure it is what happens. Now – here is the irony. Are you ready for this?

Humans are idiots.

We have a propensity to do what is bad for us. It didn’t start out that way – it has just turned into that over the millennia. We started eating what we needed to survive, that turned into eating for comfort, now we eat obsessively. We started eating natural, season specific foods, then went to agriculture, so as to eat what we want when we want, now we eat foods that are so processed they are killing us from the inside out. For example.

With regard to labels – we do that now, too. We labeled time for survival – wet v. dry season, migration periods, etc. We labeled people and animals and plants for survival – friend v. foe, edible v. inedible, hunter v. hunted. Now – holy shit, we label everything. By doing so, we cause more problems than benefits.

I have a friend. Well, I have a few friends, but one friend in particular is (was) stuck on labels. I hope the emphasis is now more on was and not is. We used to discuss things like politics and sexuality and the conversations would get pretty heated on occasion. I disagree with having to label people. (Things too, but to a different degree.) When we label people, we emphasize what is DIFFERENT about them. This does not seem the healthiest way to do things. I really wish we did not need to qualify people. These are my examples:

“Is the United States ready for a woman or black person to be President?”
“Are you homosexual or heterosexual?”

I don’t get this. Why does it matter? That is my question to the universe. If the best candidate is a woman or black, then who cares? It should not matter. Don’t throw out arbitrary shit just to make your life a little simpler.

Sexuality – Am I gay or straight? Ummmm, neither. I am Seizui. That’s all. I have a child. I am married to a woman. The majority of my past relations have been with women. Does that make me straight? Not at all. I find many men attractive. I have intimate feelings for some men. Does that make me gay? Again, nope. So – what am I? I must be bisexual. Lame. Everyone is bisexual. I have not studied Alfred Kinsey too meticulously, but I think we agree on a lot. I have an hypothesis regarding spectra of beliefs. Apparently, there is a “Kinsey Scale” that does the same thing. Way to go, Al. Using a spectrum, I am neither straight, nor gay, nor bi (purely). Everyone falls somewhere on that spectrum. Make sense? So – there you have it.

If Barack Obama is most qualified to be the leader of this country, then his father being African does not matter that . If I have feelings of love for a man, my specific sexuality does not matter.

Rule 3: Accept that which is different. Don’t vilify it.

~ by shinshige on 30 April 2008.

12 Responses to “Labeling.”

  1. So would you conside yourself a ‘labeler’ or a ‘non-labeler’?
    He he he
    Great post. My contrarian side says that even though many people label to find fault, many other people label to find similarities and common ground. Example, what’s the first thing asked when you go to Utah? “Are you LDS?” This isn’t, IMO, a way to vilify, but an attempt to find common ground. Plus, when they speak all “Mormon-y” they need to know they’re being understood.

    And I am bi. Got a problem with my label? LOL I’m only 47% straight. I should get a t-shirt….


  2. I like you, JulieAnn. HA. I need one of those t-shirts. I think the use of labels to justify, either good or bad, is still unfortunate. I would rather people not say, “Oh you’re from Utah. Are you Mormon?” “No.” “Do you ski?” “No.” “Then why do you live in Utah?” Labels. Bleh. :P

  3. Amen. Labeling is a drag. I think one of the reasons I like Obama is because he is of an age where I could have gone to high school with him, and he strikes me as being one of the cool guys who’d drink a little at parties – I had lots of popular boy friends, (though not “boyfriends”. He reminds me of those guys, grown up, smart and nice, but a lot of fun to hang around with.

  4. Labels, that happenstance of inclusion or exclusion, which is the whole point. Transcending labels – I’m not sure what that would look like since most humans operate dualistically: right/wrong, left/right, gay/straight, male/female, positive/negative, up/down, top/bottom, etc. Labels can be matters of convenience, they can be safeguards, and they can be obstacles (self-imposed or not). Contrary to popular opinion – I’m human.

    I’ll publicly admit that you and I have gone the rounds (for years) with labels. I’ll leave my apology (and discussion) until the next time I see you.

  5. lostinutah: I love Barack Obama. He will be the Democratic nominee and I have small doubt he will be the next president. A black president. he he he (Named Hussein).

    sideon – I love you. When, exactly, will be the next time I see you?

  6. I wanted to be in Utah this weekend for JA’s art show, but no can do.

    Love, too, you.

  7. Labels – I’m with Sideon on this one. Labeling is a way of thinking that’s hard to escape. If you say you don’t label you are in the non-labelers camp. Otherwise you’re a labeler. It’s the duality that traps.

    In the “Big Mind” process, you take a duality and examine it from three positions. You find the “voice” of one side – The Labeler – and speak from that point of view. Then you find the voice of the Non-Labeler and speak from there. These two positions make the base of a triangle. The third voice is the Aspect. From this voice, you speak from the point of view that incorporates and totally accepts both sides. It’s so cool to be in a session where it works. You begin to see that both are necessary and irrelevant at the same time. And that it’s okay. More duality? Stay tuned.

    As for sex: some are uno, some are bi. What about “try?” Heh heh. Not much action for a while. Let’s face it sex is biology and feels good when it’s good, no matter . . .

    I have to get back to work now before someone discovers that I’m writing for pleasure rather than for my paycheck on company time. It’s my break.

    There’s an Art Show? I wanna go!


  8. Excellent post…Really enjoyed your thoughts. xox

  9. Excellent post, I’m thinking in some places I’m a labeler, but in others I rebel against labeling, especially when I see it as derogatory. It is definate food for thought, but maybe in the grand scheme of things how you label is of two origins
    1) A button hole on the inner you
    2) Inbred

    Just a thought, now I will go hmmmm on this for a while.

  10. […] Thanks to Seizui for the labels post and […]

  11. Ummm… I don’t know… isn’t writing by its very nature labeling? As in trying to understand the world around us, etc. etc. So yea, I label. :-)

    And with any power, labeling can be used for positive or negative ends.

    BTW I am 98% straight. I did have a good friend that rescued me from my suicidal tendencies when I was in my early twenties. (Thankfully I am way pass that phase). Anway, she happened to be a woman and I loved her with all my heart. I still think fondly of her. But, 98% of the time I love the way men think, walk, talk, relate… And, I have worked with men most of my working adult life.


  12. Lynnski – I do agree: “Labeling is a way of thinking that’s hard to escape.” Thank you for describing the “Big Mind” process. It’s very dialectic of you. ;) AND – start your blog already.

    Shaney – Thank you. I quite enjoy your blog, as well. . .

    Cele – hmmmm away. I do it ALL THE TIME! I will argue most labeling is inbred, it’s cultural; systemic.

    Cyn – I think I may have semantic discussions with a lot of people around these here parts. ;) Oh, and I much prefer the company of women. I have a difficult time understanding men sometimes. hmmmm . . .

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