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Removing the labels of identity

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Daulton James Jones

Daulton James Jones

Daulton James Jones, Reporter

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You know what’s really frustrating? Labels! They are so stifling because people literally always only associate you with your label. Whether that label be jock, nerd, prep, stoner, slacker, and the list goes on. They are so irritating.

Recently I had two separate conversations with my sister and some of my friends, and this whole labeling topic came up in both conversations.

Late last week, my sister and I went to dinner, and at dinner we obviously started to talk about our days. My day was fine, you know, the usual college stress, but hers, on the other hand, was not a walk in the park.

She’s in high school, and she basically spoke to me about how she’s tired of being labeled the “Angry Black Girl” not only by students, but teachers as well.

My sister is not one to hold her tongue when it comes to matters of equality among people, and she goes to a very conservative school where many people just don’t share or understand her point of view.

Needless to say, it frustrated her to the point of literal tears at dinner. She was so fed up of people always fighting her on issues, and at the end of the argument they always chalk it up to, “Well, all black women are angry and aggressive, even though they instigate the problem.”

When one of my friends came into town this weekend, we all got together and hung out. We were all having a good time until one of my friends took it upon themselves to start categorizing us as jock, nerd, funny, weird, etc. I’m not sure why, but this conversation bothered me, so I said something. I just calmly told my friend, “Don’t dumb down my existence to one thing so you can put me in a box.” They didn’t take what I said in a good way, so I had to explain it. I got the jock label, which I can understand out of all my close friends as I’m the only one who really ever played sports or works out more than once a month. The thing is I’m more than that. I’m more than just an athlete. That is not my entire existence, and this is not the only label I have ever been given. Growing up I got the weird one because I didn’t fit the mold of whatever stereotype they were trying to apply to me. I was the “church boy” because I went to church and spoke about how fun it was (it didn’t help I would wear a purity ring), and the “black friend.” All of those labels have angered me so much because I feel like I’m being dumbed down just to have other people understand me. When truthfully I don’t care most of the time if you get me or not. I’m more than just a church goer, an athlete, weird, and hell there’s way more to me than the color of my skin. I would love it if, personally, we took this opportunity to journal. Write down some of the labels that have been placed on you, and write how this makes you feel. Do you like them? Are they stunting your development as a person? Doing this will make you less likely to stunt someone’s growth by labeling them.

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Removing the labels of identity