The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Dangers of Labeling

Sean McDermott

Posted on November 7, 2020 08:58

6 users

Personal experiences of mine highlight a key divisive issue during the last four years under Donald Trump; justification for labeling each other rather than finding common ground.

Labeling individuals can have long term effects. The generalizations they contain can fray society's fabric, particularly when they are uninitiated. Some of us go into life not knowing they fall into any categories until they encounter someone who takes where they are from, what they look like/sound like and compacts them into some title they heard from an angry family member, an angry friend or some other disgruntled inspiration.

I was raised in Hudson County, New Jersey. When I was 14, my parents earned enough to get a house and a yard in the suburbs, so we moved to central New Jersey where the lifestyles were expected to be different.

It was about a year of living there I saw bumper stickers on cars that read "Benny Go Home." I thought nothing of it, but one day I was with a friend and his sister who was talking about local traffic and how it's because of the "friggin' Bennies."

"What's a Benny," I asked.

"Bennie are obnoxious people from New York or North Jersey who come down here and act like they are better than everybody."

I'm from North Jersey. I don't act like I am better than anyone," I said.

"It doesn't matter. You're still a Benny," she said.

I had never done anything obnoxious, but now I felt like I was categorized, and not just by my friend's sister. Years later, I tried buying a girl a drink at a bar, and because she heard my "New York accent" she said she doesn't take drinks from a "Benny."

I can't say my friend's sister nor the girl at the bar were racists, but coincidentally, the same crowds loosely using "Benny" I absolutely heard using words like Nigger, Jew, Spic, Towel Head, and even later, liberal!

Later on, I was dating a girl who was raised in central New Jersey, but had lots of family from Virginia. We were discussing many worldly things, and I had just seen the movie "Enron: The Smartest People in the Room" and it gave me a feeling corporations needed stronger regulations and needed to contribute more wealth to those in need (urban and suburban).

She looked up with a face from the old Bitter Beer-Face commercials and said  "ARE YOU A COMMUNIST?! THAT'S LIBERAL BULL****," almost like she was waiting for the right moment to say it.

Her overreaction left me wondering. She didn't work for a major corporation, but she finds my beliefs insulting even if they might benefit her? I had nothing against her disagreeing, but the hateful reaction seemed deeply rooted.

Don't ask me how we ever got together. Alcohol can make odd couples.

The point is, use of certain terminology feels hateful if there was no specific provocation. I wouldn't know I was "liberal" until my ideas caused someone to clench angry eyebrows, point their finger and call me one.

Seek relations and solutions because seeking and identifying differences is much too easy.

Sean McDermott

Posted on November 7, 2020 08:58

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
THE LATEST THINKING

Webisode

Jerusalem Markets: The Shuk

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest