The Central Trend

The harmful use of incorrect labels

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From birth, we’re programmed. Whether or not you’d like to admit it, we are, but not in the way that you would expect. We’re programmed from the biases, lies, and preconceived notions the news, our family, and our communities force upon us. Of course, it’s impossible to be completely unbiased to any topic we tackle. The issue, however, is how quickly we take our bias and apply it to real life in the form of labels.

Humans are so quick to jump to conclusions. We see one glimpse of a person, a five-second video, or a picture, and automatically, we believe we know everything about the situation, the person, and the event that transpired. However, our instant thoughts hurt everyone. We never take a second to consider we’re wrong, and we don’t know everything. We take our original first impression and never reconsider. Once we believe we’re right. We’re right. That’s it. End of story.

Our programmed bias puts everyone in a box. We see people who meet our image of a threat, and we label them as a “gangster,” a “hoodlum,” or a “terrorist.” We make false associations about people due to their color, appearance, or religious affiliation. These labels damage and hurt others beyond our own comprehension. Our real threats don’t follow the stereotypes we look at and never appear as we assume them to. We are so used to our false stereotypes, we don’t realize how incorrect they are. We take a glance and label a man as a threat just from his race. We don’t realize, however, that the man down the street who looks just like us is the real threat.

We sell ourselves short due to our preconceived notions. ”

The bias we carry day to day limits our own experiences. As we interact with others, we sell ourselves short due to our preconceived notions. The creation of unfair treatment, judgment, and cruelty stems from what we think we know. Limits are set for ourselves, and we choose to not interact with potential friends due to something as simple as an appearance.

In the press, these labels are at work every day. People are villainized daily in the media when we don’t know the whole story. If you don’t know the whole story or background of someone, it’s simple. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t falsely label someone. Just don’t. Their race, size, religious affiliation, or appearance dictates nothing about their character as a person. The media needs to learn a lesson and start to accurately label people for what they are, not what they look to be.

Everyone needs to learn to go against their individual programming to find the truth. We need to search for the good, bad, and ugly in others. Most of all, we need to remember that the truth and true character about individuals lie underneath the surface. We need to fight the urge to label, stereotype, and jump to conclusions.

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About the Writer
Sarah Obermeyer, Managing Editor of Photography

Sarah is a senior entering her second year writing on staff for The Central Trend. Sarah thinks her enthusiasm for writing sprouted from her love for reading...

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The harmful use of incorrect labels