Labels This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Everyone assumes things about events and situations. But if you look really closely, you'll notice that assumptions about people are the ones most people make, especially among us teen-agers.

We've built up these superficial standards about people, and we use them everyday. We judge people on what they're wearing, or what they look like, and if we don't look like what we see, we hold it against them, when the real blame should be on ourselves.

There are so many "categories" of people that we've created. For instance, if we see someone dressed in jeans, a Champion sweatshirt, a Champion turtleneck, and sneakers, we consider them a "prep." Someone with long hair, ripped jeans, a jean jacket with patches all over it, unlaced work-boots or dirty sneakers, and an Anthrax tee-shirt is considered to be a "hick" or a "headbanger." Someone with their hair dyed an eccentric color, wearing combat boots, and dressed all in black is considered "weird." Another person dressed in a black leather iacket, or a GOOSE jacket, with a dressy outfit (by that I mean an expensive outfit someone would wear to a dance or nightclub, ie. patterned or polka-dotted outfits, etc.), and black, shiny shoes with big laces and silver metal on the toes and heels are seen as "rappers." Some have even gone so far as to consider them gang members.

I have not even begun to mention all the groups that we label people. I'm ashamed to say that I too judge people on appearance. Why do we do it? Why can't we get rid of these labels and look at someone as a person, instead of a "hick" or a "prep"?

Most of us think that we are not prejudiced. But if you see a "rapper" or a "prep," do you look the other way, or treat them differently than other people? If you do, then you are prejudiced against certain people because of their appearance. So the next time you're at the mall with your friends, and you see a "hick" or a "prep," or anyone else we label, try not to look down upon them. They're just a person expressing themselves through their appearance. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 4:37 pm
i love this so much!
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