Labels: Words and Their Meanings Matter

I’m a black and white person and a linear thinker.  I’ve been told that I’m direct and blunt.  My mother has been described as no nonsense and no frills so I supposed some of it may come from my upbringing.  I’m fairly well organized and I like things to be in order.  I like to have a clear understanding of things.  Labels help us to have an understanding.

I’ve noticed that labels are becoming taboo in 2019.  People don’t want to be labeled.  They say they want to be free.  But what do they want to be free from exactly.  Once something is labeled there are expectations that go along with it.  If you label a container as salt and you put sugar in it you’re pulling a prank.  But if you never label the container the onus is on the person using the container.  The person that filled the container has bypassed their responsibilty for what’s in it.  And they were able to fool you with their prank.

Modern society is removing labels from things such as relationships between men and women, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender and race.  I honestly think that people are disregarding labels because responsibility, expectations and history come with labels.  I think people that don’t like labels are trying to remove themselves from those responsibilities, expectations and history.  They often want to reap the benefits of the good and take no accountability for the bad.

Take the word whore for example.  I’m not one to judge people on their sexuality.  I just don’t see it as a big part of a person’s identity.  It’s just a descriptive word to describe how much a person gets around.  A whore might be a smart, nice person.  I have friends and beloved relatives that can be described  that way.  There have been times when I could be considered one.

However, relabeling whore to “sexually liberated” is a b.s. move.  It’s still the same thing and it still gets you the same penalties or rewards.  Don’t try to sell that behavior as something other than what it is.  A person that gets around is a person that gets around.  If a person doesn’t like the stigma then they need to change the behavior.

I watched a You Tube video recently where a person said that they are not affiliated with any organized religion but they believed in God.  That’s called Agnostic and she didn’t use that word because for some there are negative connotations that go along with that for some people

This woman probably wouldn’t get very far with the people she is trying to share her message with if she presented herself that way.  She then goes on to say that she reads the Bible and she used a lot of language that most would recognize as spiritual or even specifically Christian.  She never called her beliefs anything and she went on to talk about having a relationship with her creator.

All of that is fine but she said that she and her husband had a ministry channel on You Tube.  What are they ministering exactly?  What should we expect from their ministry?  If she and her husbands are leaders of this ministry what can and should we expect from them?  We don’t know because whatever she calls her beliefs is a secret yet she wants us to follow her.  She’s not asking us to follow a religious text that we can read for ourselves and accept or reject or a religion that we can research and choose to be a part of or not before deciding to get involved.

This woman’s ministry is working in shadows.  In fact she didn’t even show her face on her You Tube channel which wasn’t her ministry channel.  Never go to a second location.  The introduction is made in one location to make you feel comfortable.  Second locations are always where the damage takes place.

People are reluctant to label their romantic relationships in modern times. Sugar and salt look alike at first glance.  You probably have to get very close to it to know which is which.  This is the case for many modern relationships.  They look like traditional marriages from a distance.

There may be affection, a mortgage, children and other family ties but it’s still not a marriage.  Those types of relationships don’t have the same kind of responsibility that a marriage has.  There is always a backdoor and a lack of responsibility.  Indeed there is a backdoor in a marriage as well but marriage comes with expectations so if a boundary is crossed someone needs to take responsibility for their choices.  Not labeling a relationship takes away responsibilities and leaves doors open.

As far as sexuality is concerned I’ve seen high profile celebrities legally marry people of the opposite sex and refer to themselves as queer.  This is along the same lines as cultural appropriation.  A White performer wants to give themselves and edge and there is a time limit on how long a White performer can imitate urban fashion and dialect and get away with it if that is not genuinely who they are.

I like Miley a lot.  I think her lovely personality is enough to further her career.  But since her Disney days her career has been based on shock value and selling the public a rebellious image.  She’s a child of privilege, that became wealthy as a child star.  What’s wrong with that?  I think that’s more interesting than vulgarity or her sexuality.  I guess being a rich White girl isn’t street enough for Miley.

miley

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/02/224981/miley-cyrus-queer-relationship-liam-hemsworth

Femininity and Masculinity can be fluid.  Your sex is not.  Sex is a biological fact.  People can go through medical procedures to change their anatomy which would make them a different gender.  I’ve been hearing about sex change operations for decades so that is nothing new.  But I’m so perplexed at people that want to change the definition of what a man and woman is.  I really don’t see how you can.

There are some women that are masculine and there are men that are feminine.  There are men that are attracted to men and women that have romantic love for women.  That doesn’t change any biological fact about their gender.  If society grows to accept the vague definition of gender women are going to suffer.

Race and ethnicity is a vague category.  I’m sure that if we all took a DNA test none of us would be %100 anything.  But I’m seeing a real push in the USA to try and get what is commonly known as Black people to call themselves something other than Black or African American.  Meanwhile other people that are mixed race and or from other countries want to be considered Black, when it’s convenient of course.

I am a descendant of African slaves and my family has been in the United States for at least four generations.  In 2019 those people are commonly called Black or African American.  That works for me because I have no problem being Black.  I think that people that want us to call ourselves something different are ashamed to be Black.  I also think that at some point the government may start to take the demand for reparations seriously for the descendants of slaves.  What’s going to happen to all of these folks that have dropped the label of Black or African American then?  If I’m still alive to cash that check my Black self is going to have a hearty laugh at them.

People that want Black Americans to call themselves Egyptians or Israelites often speak to us as if we are downtrodden, ignorant people.  Yes, Black people have a lot of problems but we have been given a lot of problems for centuries so what exactly is to be expected.  The only thing that will change if American Blacks decide to stop calling themselves Black or African American is that we will lose our rich and fascinating history.  We will lose our influence on American and global culture.  There is nothing to gain by giving ourselves a new label.

The times we live in remind me of an episode of “Twilight Zone” that I saw long ago called “Wordplay”.  A man finds himself within a world where all of the words have a different meaning to his understanding and it causes confusion and frustration.

 

There is nothing wrong with labels.  The problem comes from people and their judgements and attitude towards what is being labeled.  Judgemental behavior won’t change by calling something by a different name.  I can go to City Hall in my town and have my name changed from Shannon to Susie.  I’m still the same person and any opinion that you had of me before is the same.  You’re just calling it by a different name.  Ron Artest and Metta World Peace are the same man.  The only thing that changed were the letters (and number) on the back of his jersey.

 

 

 

I question people that are sensitive about labels without making and meaningful changes.  People are trying to say that things that are the same are different and things that are different are the same.  The relabeling always seems to be for the benefit of one group and the deficit of another.  I think these modern word games are just a smokescreen for manipulation and deception.

The Legacy of Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King is being honored today across the US.  MLK is a trending topic on social media, news outlets are rehashing stories about the Civil Rights movement and publicizing community events to honor the fallen leader.  Martin Luther King’s story is amazing and absolutely heroic.  But I feel like his legacy is being tarnished and Whitewashed.

Martin Luther King was a man that was beaten and imprisoned because of his protests against a tyrannical White supremacist government.  He was a Black man that fought for the rights of Black people and was surely motivated by concerns about the future of his own Black family.  He put everything on the line and died for his people. His movement was successful and created real and positive changes for Black Americans.

But we in America still live in a White supremacist, European centered culture.  Everything has to be not only accessible to Whites but centered around them.  That is made very clear by the historical retelling of MLK’s life.  He is said to be a man that wanted to bring the races together and bring about harmony in America.  He is also portrayed as a Confucius like figure.  I think that narrative is a lie to get White Americans to buy into his legacy.

First of all when you talk about race relations in America you need to think of hammers and nails.  Whites are the hammers.  Blacks are the nails.  The hammers like to act as though there is an ongoing disagreement between two parties on equal footing.  That has not been the case.  Blacks have been getting hammered since the origins of this country and the Civil Rights movement just asked to give Blacks a break.  Give them a shot at the chance to pursue happiness.

When mainstream media talks the accomplishments and goals of Dr. King they act as if he simply wanted Black and White people to hold hands and sing kumbaya together.  He was not the simpleton that history and the mainstream media make him out to be.  He was a freedom fighter for Black American people that had suffered centuries of oppression in the US.

He fought for displaced people that did not truly have a country of their own.  He fought for descendants of African slaves that were prisoners of this country.  Dr. King did not fight and die simply so Blacks could have White friends or land a date with a non Black person which is the story that is being sold across the world today through the American media and American public schools.

The same thing has happened to Nelson Mandela.  He was a brave freedom fighter that fought for Black people in South Africa and won basic rights.  Mandela is also being marketed as a Black man that dreamed of a rainbow nation and wanted to bring about so called racial reconciliation.  This version of history is a lot easier for White people to digest because they are not confronted with their own past.

Since Donald Trump was elected as president in the US I have observed that the media sympathizes with racist notions that affirm White supremacy.  The media typically portrays Whites as heroes or victims.  The stories of the Civil Rights movement can not be accurately told and still portray Whites as heroes or victims.  So the truth is being rewritten.

This disingenuous retelling of history is damaging to all Americans.  There is no way that White supremacist ideas will ever change if they are not confronted.  White Americans refuse to do the soul searching necessary to bring about the cultural changes necessary to bring about the racial reconciliation that they pay lip service to every year.

It’s also dangerous to Black people because it gives them the message that your prosperity lies in other communities.  Most African Americans do not really want to be independent from White tyranny and they don’t believe that Black communities can be self sufficient.  The bogus retelling of history reinforces the notion that Black people need other communities, especially Whites to survive.

I’m very unsure of what is being taught in American schools today.  But I urge everyone to seek out information on the American Civil Rights movement.  Remember to focus your attention of the Black community because those are primarily the people that stood up to American authoritarianism and made modest gains in order to improve their lives, communities and the futures of their children.  As a Black American woman I am grateful for their struggle.