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In the Media

The Labeling Thing

What are you labeled as? Does it matter?
As a high school student, I have been around a diverse group of people. Among these people, we have given them tags and labeled them. There are these preps, jocks, Goths, emos, posers, freaks, loners, rejects, and for my part of the country the ESL kids (the immigrants from Mexico whose English are slim to none.)
I myself don’t like to put labels on things. If I see someone dressed in all black, I’m not going to assume “Oh he is probably a punk and listens to that death metal.” Instead, I observe his overall attitude. Who is he as a person?
People use labels because it’s easier to identify another person. It’s a way around actually getting to know the person and determining who they really are. We don’t have time to get to know everyone.
As teenagers, we tend to be naïve and idealistic. We want to make the world a better place, or we want to make our lives better. But not everyone thinks this way. In fact, most people have completely different views about things you might have thought they were into. Assume you were “prep”, prancing through the halls and you bumped into a “goth”, sulking alone. First, you would assume he or she listens to heavy metal or that he or she is gay or into the satanic trip. Their impression of you is probably pink and frilly. Neither of you have given each other the opportunity to see who the other person really is. The “goth” is probably someone who just likes to where black and listens to hip hop and likes to be a modern kind of person. The “prep” could be someone who likes to listen to rock and jam out at friend’s houses and would probably be comfortable in a “goth” setting. But neither would know because they have already labeled one another and are now in their own individual cliques.
Why do people pick on each other? You’ve gone through the trouble of labeling them and having a secret hatred or liking of them. The only thing you’re doing at that point is setting yourself up. You’re preparing yourself in case you confront this person. Another example of what I’m talking about is imagine yourself being this “goth” person, and because you listen to heavy metal and because you wear all black and because you hang out with people of the same ritual, you assume you would never be in the same crowd with a prep, jock, etc. You don’t hang out with them, and you don’t associate yourself with them, yet you go out of your way to yell obscene things at them and cause trouble. Why? Because they do the same thing. Their groups are no different from yours. They all hang out and have the same interests, and when they are threatened they will defend themselves. It’s really not a matter of jealously or who’s better. It’s a combination of a lot of things. Most of it is mixed emotions. You don’t know how to feel when you see a “prep” walking by, minding their own business knowing earlier they had said something about you or had done something you weren’t sure about it. So instead of confronting them in a rationally manner, you fight fire with fire.
People are put under so much pressure in school. You have to be quick to find your place among people or you will be left behind. For some, they get lucky and they gain a lot of interesting friends. For others who get left behind, it can be a long and lonely road. But you have to keep our spirits up. If you want to be a fun and outgoing person, you’re going to have to let your personality shine. If you want friends and don’t think nobody likes you, then you haven’t looked hard enough. As a human race it is important we stick together and help others regardless of their status or “label.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping people. From holding door opens, carrying something for a lady friend or even someone you don’t know or don’t like, or even just reaching out and lending a hand. People seem to think since they hate them or since that person has talked smack about them that they shouldn’t have to do anything for them. People who let rumors and reputations ruin them are foolish to think that what other people really play a part in their lives. People will talk, no matter where you go, and nobody can love everybody. But just finding any kind of way to co-exist will both of you happier.
Try something new and do something you normally wouldn’t do. Talk to someone and get to know someone opposite what you’ve been “labeled.” Start a new clique and be someone you want to be rather than what people around you want you to be
article:145068:1::0
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