A Catch in Classification | Teen Ink

A Catch in Classification

July 8, 2015
By mindmischiefs BRONZE, Weston, Florida
mindmischiefs BRONZE, Weston, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The best way out is always through." -Robert Frost

One of my favorite pastimes involves pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in order to learn new things. Afterward, I integrate these lessons back in my secluded, safe routines. I find that, through these ventures, I learn a great deal about myself and the world around me.  I find myself primarily interested in the human tapestry and the way that relationships operate. 

Whether it be race, religion, sexual orientation, or personal appearance, I've found that people love to use labels. We allow labels to define people.  This practice is not new.  In fact, Aristotle used to classify organisms into either plants or animals, and his discoveries led to the precise system of classification that makes science today possible.  The key fact is that the most precise division Aristotle used was either plant or animal.  However, people today believe that they can categorize and dismiss people by delving into labels such as "bossy," "fat," "anorexic," etc.

While these labels are fairly specific, people are still more complex than petty labels.  People have feelings, thoughts, opinions, and hearts.  People are not as simple and one-dimensional as these labels and stereotypes suggest.

Labeling others is easy.  It allows us to sort things out mentally and view people exactly the way we want to see them, though that view often tends to be far from the truth.  Evidently, our modern methods of labeling people stems from the same reason Aristotle began to classify plants and animals- a desire to understand our surroundings by "compartmentalizing" them.  While this system is very efficient, it is not effective.  The fact is, we are human beings.  We are so much more than our race, our religion, our socioeconomic backgrounds, and almost any other criteria that can be used to judge us upon. 

As I have mentioned, labeling is easy. Labeling is helpful.  It helps us cope and get by in life. Our dating system revolves largely around labels.  We deem possible partners as either our type, not our type, in our league, out of our league, etc.  We use these labels to decide with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives (or at least the foreseeable future).  Labels are everywhere.  Some are beneficial, such as "poison" labels on products that should not be ingested. Some are harmful, such as "ugly," "poor," and "stupid."  The most detrimental label is the infamous "one size fits all" label.  Such labels are always wrong.  I can guarantee that for every stereotype that seems to always ring true, everyone label that seems to fit perfectly, there is an exception.  There is an outlier to the data group.  Before we label other human beings, let's try to actually get to know people for the complex and ever-changing people they are.  It may require more effort, but I believe the effort will be worth it.

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