Tuesday, June 2, 2009

diversity with labels

Just read an article in the local paper about a guy with three daughters raising them alone. His wife died from cancer a couple of years ago, and he was just talking about the adjustment to single parenting from a male perspective. One of the points he brushed upon was the bias concerning men "mothering" children, and how general opinion assumed he would be incapable of doing the job right. Beginning with the cleaning, cooking, all that household chore stuff generally relegated to the female of the house, then on to the emotional aspect of a man raising three daughters.

I won't get into his story that much, because that's not what really hit me about the tale.

I am fed up with the labeling that is put on everyone in our society.

As a free nation, we struggle with, but purport that we celebrate the diversity of all our inhabitants. This is a fabrication of wishful thinking. Ooh, yes, America, a melting pot of immigrants from all over the globe...came to escape oppression, and feel the thrill, to live and work in the land of the free.

I see more and more, the need to put a name on everything. And everyone. Seems to be, that the list of labels has expanded to include even the smallest deviation from the "norm", whatever that is. Why do we need to know some one's sexual preference, racial heritage, career choice, college or tech school, familial status, eating habits, religion, physical condition...the list goes on.

In a country that should be growing to lower these walls of differences between us, we really seem to be setting up little boxes and sorting everyone out, like a pile of laundry. Maybe this has become our unique heritage, because we are a nation compiled from many. A new group surfaces, and we eye them up and down, put them in the right box...maybe they'll need to be moved around alittle till we get it right, but we are determined to find the right box. And, to top it off, we must be very sensitive to what the label may be and that we use it correctly, or be accused of not being "politically correct". A term that originated to indicate religion or race, but is now all inclusive.

This has become so ingrained in our society, that we fumble for the right words to label even ourselves. Struggle with what might sound more impressive, or less one-sided, so as not to exclude inclusion into any one group. We want broad appeal. This is where the Celebrate our Diversity trick comes in. Slap it all together, put it on a poster in Third Grade, and that is sure to have us all holding hands in no time. Ha.


quicksand said...


Dave King said...

I agree absolutely with your thoughts here.