Labels: A Danger to Society and Democracy


It’s the 21st century. The 13th amendment passed long ago, and Brown v. Board of Education occurred more than 57 years ago. So, why are there still so many race- related issues and why does so much racial tension still exist? Labels. Labels are poison to the lifeblood of a democracy, and they endanger society because of the problems they create.

The dangers of labels in high school and beyond

Students are given labels of ‘nerds’, ‘jocks’, or ‘outcasts’. Sometimes, they aren’t even meant as insults. They may be given by friends or created by strangers to categorize the many faces they see. The problem is that students end up feeling pressure to fit in to one of the labels. When this doesn’t happen, there is a feeling of being lost, like they don’t belong. They may feel they lack a sense of identity, becoming uncomfortable with who they think they are. These labels also give rise to the infamous high school cliques and contribute to non- forced segregation between races.

Yes, segregation does still exist

It’s plain to see in high schools and beyond. People of the same race often cluster together, spending little time with people of other races. It’s a sad truth but a truth nonetheless. Labels are where voluntary segregation begins. Even the words ‘Black,’ ‘White,’ ‘Asian,’ or ‘Latino’ can be harmful labels. Instead of these divisive terms, we ought to just use the word ‘human’.

From Donald Trump’s election to the Black Lives Matter movement, there are a myriad of race- related issues today.

Preconceived notions are the root of these issues. Whether he is one or not, Trump’s use of labels in discussing illegal aliens and radical Islamist terrorists has led many to call him a racist. This was the main reason behind the divisiveness of the 2016 election and the issues related to it such as violence and protests.

The Black Lives Matter movement has gathered much support but also much opposition. This movement has created divide between people who are behind the cause and demanding change and people who think the cause is filled with hyperbole and misinformation. The movement may gain more support if it were renamed the more inclusive title “All Lives Matter”. Many agree that other minorities experience unjust  treatment from the police. But the title as it stands excludes them from the conversation.

The point of this article is that we need to stop focusing on what makes us different and focus instead on what we have in common. Instead of segregating ourselves with labels or cliques, we need to come together and encourage inclusiveness for all people. When we stop using labels to describe people and to categorize ourselves, we will see a more unified world …taking a major step toward solving many of the divisive issues of today’s world.

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