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The Effects of Labeling In Modern America
The ability to reason is highly valued in modern societies and place of work since it helps solve problems systematically. It becomes even more useful when the diversity of people and ideas is considered during a decision-making process. However, variety tends to bring people or situations that are deemed deviant into limelight resulting in labeling. Labeling is useful primarily in communication since it helps communicate complex cases without doing deep into details. Although labeling help explains complex situations easily, it has detrimental effects such as discrimination and unequal distribution of resources in the US.
In most cases, people who exhibit unusual characteristics or behaviors are given labels that do not display their other features, abilities, or personality. For example, people in my estate often address me as “the Asian guy” due to my Asian background. They, therefore, overlook the facts that I am Bangladeshian, play basketball, and have won several badminton games in our community matches last season. Another situation I witnessed happening is an arrest of a black student. One police knocked him down while the other was cuffing him. When asked why he used such force, the police officer responded, “These criminals are dangerous and need to be held down by all means necessary.” By this statement, the police displayed his subscription to negative stereotyping against black people that they are violent, which is never the truth.

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Many factors contribute to labeling, but the main ones are deviant behavior, unusual characteristic, need for control, and association or belonging to a particular group (Ludwig, 2017). For example, drug users are labeled as addicts, lazy, and violent while the dominant individuals or groups tend to undermine the identity of the minority. The weakness with labeling is that it bars us from seeing other qualities in a person apart from the general status based on their grouping (Shelton & Salisbury, 2014). If you label a person as African, you could be overlooking the fact that he is intelligent, physically healthy, an athlete, and immune to infections. Another weakness is that labeling never provides accurate information about anyone since it omits details that make one unique. For example in my case, addressing me as “the Asian” does not acknowledge that I am from Bangladesh and not India or any other Asian country.
People with deviant behaviors, physical impairments, and belonging to minority groups such as African and Asian are mostly the victims of labeling. In the US, such people are likely to be left to when it comes to job allocation and provision of essential services (Ludwig, 2017). Usually, labeling occurs through media, ads, text, religion, and social or political channels. Media and advertising often spread opinions that are stereotyping a certain group of people. For example, the Dove body wash advert that showed a black woman turning white meant to humiliate black women as “dirty” and needing a wash to become white. Similarly, non-conformity to religious beliefs results in labels such as atheist, antichrist, agnostic, and bright. Finally, people are labeled as Republican or Democrats based on their political views in the US. Some ways to minimize labeling is by treating all people as equal, eliminating racism, and encouraging embracing diversity.
References
Ludwig, T. (2017). Labeling people is too easy: You cannot fix stupid; fix the environment. Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 40.
Shelton, C. & Salisbury, L. (2014, March 01). Why Labels are Dangerous to Thinking. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://mncriticalthinking.com/2013/12/26/why-labels-are-dangerous-thinking/

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