On my way into London this morning I watched a YouTube video about the ‘labels’ that society applies to everyone around us, and how they impact the way in which we interact with each other as a result.
Clearly, we don’t assign a label to ourselves at birth. Our first conscious thought isn’t “Wow! I’m a black (other colours are available) person” More likely than not, that first thought is the same the world over – “I’m hungry!”.
As we grow, we get assigned labels by others. Colour; size; energy; (dis)ability etc. But ‘we’ individually, are not THAT label. For one, my colour label isn’t even accurate. I’m not ‘white’ If I paint a self-portrait, I possibly wouldn’t even use the colour white. I can go to an art shop and buy a tube of paint that the manufacturer has labelled ‘flesh’, but looking at my fellow commuters this morning, a significant proportion of them wouldn’t be able to paint their self-portraits with it. So, ‘labels’ seem to be very imprecise and… misleading.
More importantly, the label doesn’t describe our ‘inner person’. Just our outer shell.
Think for a moment back to the last car that you bought. What if… you hadn’t been given a choice of its colour… or size… or age!
Would you, as the driver, de a different ‘person’ if you drove around in a white car, or a black car, or a… neon pink car?
OK, I accept that you might be slightly embarrassed if you had to drive around in a neon pink car. But then again maybe ‘you’ wouldn’t!
The point being made in the video was that whatever the colour of the car, the ‘driver’ was the person on the inside. We don’t tend to judge the driver by the colour of their car. We judge the driver by their actions.
So why don’t we do the same with people? If we have to ‘judge’ them, let’s judge them for who they are, a ‘driver’ within the ‘outer skin’ of a body, which they had no choice over when given to them.
Ignore the outer shell. Ignore the ‘label’. Just search for the person beneath.