UGH so i just had a very frustrating discussion with my friend about 'labellling' and how that apparently creates more 'separation'. examples used were 'african-american' (inherently racist?) and 'gay'. her argument was that by labelling yourself as one of those terms or something similar, you are implicitly supporting systems of oppression such as racism and homophobia. could you pls tell me how to respond to that clearly and succinctly? cuz i tried but i think i did a shit job.
I’ve held onto this message for a while because this argument is such bullshit I can’t … I can’t even manage to wrap my head around it.
Labels are powerful for oppressed people to gather under, meet others like them, feel acceptance and create safe spaces. They are also vital for stirring action in the form of protests and social revolution.
"Ignoring labels" only serves to completely ignore the imbalance of power which STILL EXISTS between oppressors and the oppressed, which, of course, only benefits the oppressors and changes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Tell your friend to imagine going to a doctor. She feels horrible, is really worried about her health. The doctor runs some tests and comes back.
"What’s my diagnosis?" She asks.
"Eh," the doctor says. "I don’t like to put labels on things."
The people who don’t see the need for labels are usually the ones who don’t need them. That doesn’t mean they’re useless or problematic just because they make other people distinct from the majority. Everyone needs to have words for who they are, especially when they feel, or are made to feel, different from the majority/privileged groups. Else they feel abnormal, outcasts and broken.
If you are, as an individual, refusing to apply labels to yourself, that’s perfectly fine. It’s your own definition and you’re 100% in charge of it. But so are others with their own.
taylor swift is like that aunt that tries to be “hip” with the young’ns and “with the times” and then asks you what does bae stand for and after you tell her she starts calling everything bae even the lamp next to the couch
HEY YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAMP NEXT TO MY COUCH AND I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT IT IS, IN FACT, VERY MUCH BAE.