My Catastrophe With Labels

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Lately, I’ve realized that I let myself be labeled and categorized by others for what feels like my entire life.  Some things that aren’t included in the description of my label is being vulnerable and open with my emotions.  Due to this, it feels like it’s almost impossible to let people in on how I truly feel.  This happens to many of us, but the description of our labels vary.  We tend to think that when others label us we are simply stuck with the label that we’re given.  However, what we quickly forget is that we are in control.

Stop Forcing Your Labels On Me

Often times we might say, “I’m just not [enter attribute here] type of person” or “it’s just the way I am”.  Yet, these statements are not always true. You’re putting yourself or you’re letting other people put you in a category that you think you can’t escape form.  

For example, I am often categorized as a “certain type” of black person, and I despise it.  People have said things like “you’re the type of black person who talks white” and “you’re black, but you’re not black black”.  By saying this, they mean than I don’t fall into the category that they usually put black people in.  It’s time to stop categorizing people on the basis of skin color.  This is one of the many reasons why black people are blamed for crimes they did not commit, yet must suffer the consequences regardless. 

Schemas Are Not An Excuse

According to Verywellmind a schema “is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information”.  In other words, your brain is using shortcuts to help you understand a bunch of information (I’m putting this psychology major to use y’all).  This can be both detrimental and beneficial to our lives and the lives of others.  Beneficial, because we can interpret and understand information quicker.  Detrimental, because if we have a negative experience with the information that we’re learning, we will connect that negative experience with things or people associated with the information.

The real problem, is that when people have this overgeneralized schema in their heads, they pass it on to everyone around them. Hence why black men in hoodies are always considered dangerous, or why black women are always considered to be angry.  Next thing you know, everyone believes a tragic overgeneralized lie, that can put people’s lives at stake.  Be that as it may, a schema is not an excuse for the relentless racism that happens in this country.  It is up to us to do the extra work and fact check our resources (like your racist grandparents), because people’s lives are at stake.

You Are Too Versatile to Fit Into One Category.

Solange said “I can not be a singular expression of myself”, in her song “Can I Hold the Mic”.  She’s right, none of us are just one being, we’re multifaceted.  We only become a singular expression when we allow ourselves and others to label us as such.  We need to accept that it is okay to be made up of multiple factors and attributes.  It’s actually commendable.  

Breaking out of categories that you were forcefully put into can be tuff, especially when no one wants to take you seriously.  Some will only see you in the way that they want to see you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You will unnecessarily exhaust yourself if you are constantly trying to prove what you are not.  We are fluid creatures that are constantly changing.  There is no reason to keep yourself stuffed in a box that was categorized and labeled by someone other than yourself.  You are so much more than that.

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