I’m have ADHD. But I’m also ALFF or Always Looking For Fun. What’s in the word “label” that makes us cringe so?
If someone said you were among the “kindest people” would you be offended? Not likely (unless they were describing the crowd you were hanging out with and suggesting you didn’t belong).
Okay, here’s a better example. Every Saturday morning I go to the local Farmer’s Market to pick up whatever I need, eggs, fish, honey, veggies, bread. I also always get my breakfast there.
The young woman who takes orders is in a situation where she needs to remember who ordered what. So she looks critically at the customer and adds to the bottom of their order a description of the orderer. It could be “pink shirt” or “orange scarf” or “leather purse.” You get the idea. Some of her customers are people she knows by name, that makes the label easy. Some of them are people she knows as customers, but not anywhere else, the regulars.
I’m a regular. We know each other only in this context. But someone has told her that I write a blog. So on the bottom of my order, every Saturday morning, the word “blogger” is written.
I have no problem with that
That’s a label I have no problem living with, obviously. And there are other things besides being recognized by my accomplishments that are okay as well.
On the other hand, if someone said “Pay no attention to him, he’s just a blogger.” then I’d have a double problem with that.
It seems that the label isn’t the problem, it’s the opinion the labeller assigns to the label that is the issue.
What use are labels anyway
I’ve written about the need for labels in the health community, their purpose is to group together individuals who would benefit from a predetermined course of treatment. It’s the point in time when someone uses the label to exclude some individual from the rest of the population that it becomes a negative thing.
Kind of like when I suggest that the normans, the Neuro-typicals and the people suffering from Delusions of Normalcy aren’t really good enough to hang with my crowd.
In my defence, I’ve never actually applied that judgment on anyone, never actually exercised that sanction. But I’ve talked the talk.
So what’s the deal?
So what’s the deal with trying to dissuade people from labelling if there are times when it is quite welcome? I think the deal is that labelling should never be used to judge anyone, only to assist people. Like that age old adage says, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”