It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Denouncing others by social labeling, or stereotyping, is ignorant.

page: 1

log in


posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 01:42 AM
Our society practices a method of categorizing others by using labels to define them. Also known as stereotyping, brief summaries that supposedly describe each and all of whom it's applied. We don't hand out these labels after careful consideration and analysis of someones character, rather we hand them out frivolously as if they're harmless. You can be labeled due to your haircut, lifestyle, marital status, or opinion. This social practice creates nothing purposeful and only hinders our progress, yet it's practiced everyday by every man, woman and child? Why do people tolerate the use of these labels? From cradle to grave, every one of us must deal with labels that serve only to categorize, separate and falsely define us. Regardless of the obvious inaccuracy and dysfunction these labels provide, nobody can avoid getting caught up in their use.

Labels like liberal, conservative, truther, anti Semite, democrat, republican, christian, atheist, creationist, evolutionist, etc... on and on they go, can be found in many threads here at ATS. I see this used often here as a means to deflect points made in debates. If you can be labeled by a statement you make that label will be used to deflect any point you try to make. For example, no matter how many valid points you make regarding a subject like WW2, if someone labels you an anti Semite because of one statement you made, all other valid points will no longer be acknowledged, or discussed? This cripples any potential progress, or enlightenment, that may have been made in the debate if not for this method of deflection. I'll read a thread that provides multiple valid points all worthy of discussion, but rather than discuss them all, one of them is used to label the author and discredit the entire list?

This blanketing tactic is used in politics as well. To support the right to bear arms you may be categorized as pro life and against gay marriage. To oppose unnecessary wars could label you as a sympathizer that doesn't support his armed forces. Wanting to investigate the holocaust can bring accusations you're an anti Semite Nazi. It's seen in the intelligent design debate. To belong to ID theory labels you as someone that doesn't believe in evolution. Also, to believe evolution theory can label you atheist. This can be found everywhere and does only harm to our progression.

You need only minimal common sense to realize this method is a hindrance to mankind, at very least. Blanket labeling people into sets of beliefs is also a very foolish act. To be for gun rights and be pro choice is, not only possible, it's probably quite common. Just as there are gay conservatives and Jews that are curious about the holocaust. What if God created a race of aliens that intelligently designed humans to evolve on Earth? Who can say?

So, why do we nurture this destructive behavioral trait? Why has mankind never exposed this tactic for its obvious negatives? Why doesn't debate require that you address all points made in them? Why are people so blind to the things that harm them?

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 01:49 AM
Good post.

One label I kind of like though is "truther."

If someone says "you are a truther" , you should reply "Well at least I am not a liar!"

You just gotta admit whoever called them "truthers" as a derogatory term was a complete idiot. They should have labeled them "Liars" instead.

Way to reveal who is correct subconsciously. Freudian slip to the max.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 01:57 AM
reply to post by Zerbst

I think in many cases stereotypes are helpful and benign and frankly helpful. For example, saying that someone is "East Coast" tells me something about them. They tend to be outspoken, proud of their ethnicity and aggressive. Now they might not be, but if they were not those things, I would not lable them as "East Coast". If a gent was from NJ and mellow and soft-spoken, I would describe him as "that mellow dude from NJ". Stereotypes are not all awful. There are many others "type A personality" is another. That "type A" may be the most insecure and sensitive person in the world who just turns into an animal in the workplace. Again the stereotype serves to enable a rough depiction of a series of traits the person possesses.

Calling someone who is a "Conservative" generally refers to someone who values the role of the individual over the government or collective. Now there maybe individual differences and you certainly need to get to know the individual, but putting them into a group and giving that group a name is not in and of itself a bad thing. If used with decent intentions it makes language less cumbersome

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 02:31 AM
reply to post by dolphinfan

The bad thing is, labels are almost always twisted from a generalized term to be something vicous and demeaning by someone, or groups of people that intend to insult or demean, or to cause harm. It is also used to deflect and obfuscate.

A perfect example of this is the term "tea bagger". It was proclaimed this was an unintentional slip in the beginning, not meant to demean, as the original definition of the term was claimed to be "unknown" by the originator of the term, who then apologized for using it.

Even though this was brought out publically, and denounced, and the people using it were corrected, it is now intentionally used to demean, insult, and inflame to detract from content that may or may not have validity.

This is the most recent and excellent example of how a label can be used for harmful intent, and therefor it supports the OP and their thoughts.

You can use a term innocently, but that would be making an assumption about the general polulace that all people are innocent and don't mean any harm. This would be an incorrect assumption, as evidenced above.

The venom and hate that is spewed every time this term is used against people is direct evidence.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 02:40 AM
reply to post by Libertygal

Thanks for the response, Liberty.

Your example is precisely what I'm talking about. It's no accident these terms are used to harm others.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 02:45 AM
reply to post by Libertygal

I think you are using one example to describe what is really a fundamental component of the modern lexicon. I don't disagree that in many instances there are negative connotations given to words meant to imply a set of negative attributes. That is unfortunate. I would discount those who use these terms in such a fashion in the same manner I discount the other actions of ignorant people.

With the teabagger term, I viewed that in a very positive light. It was certainly meant to be negative and it was taken by the MSM and used as a negative stereo-type. I found it positive because of WHY it was adopted. It was adopted and turned into a negative because the movement made the elite nervous and had no intellectual argument, hence they turned to negative stereo-types. I also think most folks knew what the real deal with the movement was and is and to the extent that folks had their opinions formed by the press' account of the movement, I am not concerned with how the ignorant among us think or are swayed into thinking

I guess to boil it down, I think we can agree that the issue is with negative stereo-types rather than stereo-types generically.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 02:56 AM
reply to post by Zerbst

On the other hand, labels can be quite useful. If they weren't used my girlfriend might smear mayonnaise all over her face tonight rather than moisturizing cream, pour in a cup of highly viscus oil into the muffin mix rather than molasses and wind up smoking all of the oregano rather than...well, you get the picture.

All kidding aside, when labels are used as pejoratives it tends to reveal much more about the person using the label than the one it is intended to demean. While many can fall prey to group think and other forms of mindless bandwagon type behavior, it is rare that someone when confronted with intelligence will continue to act in stupid ways. They may avoid the ones who have confronted them in the future and they may continue to rely upon silly pejoratives and useless labels, but there can also be a noticeable decline in this reliance.

I have seen it in this site. I have watched, in a remarkably short time, members become more civil, considered and compassionate with each post. Sometimes we lash out at some one because we are angry or hurt ourselves and when we are stuck in such lower toned emotions our own inherent wisdom becomes filtered and not so useful to us.

In the end, I think labels can be quite useful. Whether they be used to identify a necessary product or item, or used to describe in clear concise way another person, or even used to attack another person, these labels always work to reveal something. Either about that which has been labeled or those who are labeling.

posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 04:28 AM
You are correct. Partially. Because you conveniently forget about ethnic stereotyping ,labeling and demonizing. Can show you some fine examples.

top topics


log in