Happy Motivational Monday everyone!
Recently I presented a speech to my high school about the dangers of labels and stereotypes. This speech really got me thinking about how harmful a label can be.
As most of you know, I spent this year applying for college and figuring out what it is that I want to do with the rest of my life. It was during this time that I saw how we as people are automatically defined by a label.
Our society as a whole seems to be driven by classifying people into groups. When applying for college you check off your race: White, Black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander or Other. When attending school we find our crowd: Geeks, Jocks, Cheerleader, Drama Nerds, Losers, Band Geeks and so much more. If you don’t fit into any of these stereotypical groups you are drafted into the sub-group, Outcasts, which is another stereotype.
Why are we so quick to stamp a label on everyone’s forehead and sit in judgement of them? Do we need people to fit into simple categories in order to understand them? When we know we’ve been labeled or misjudged by others it can have a profound impact on our self-esteem. How can we break this cycle?
One potential solution – don’t be so quick to judge others. Instead of casting an opinion prompted by a stereotype, get to know the person so that you can form a deeper appreciation for their uniqueness. Try not to judge others based merely on their exterior. Learn about them, their interests, their fears, likes, dislikes, what makes them happy or sad, what makes them laugh or cry. We have to stop letting a label define us. We must always remember that there is much more than what meets the eye.