Labels.

You know what I would love? A world without labels. I was thinking about this the other day after another depressing lecture in a Sociology class (I really do love my major, I promise), and I decided that Sociology would be a whole lot less depressing without labels. Because that’s honestly where all the problems begin. That’s where discrimination and oppression start. That’s where the Holocaust began. It’s where violence and hatred and war stem from.

It all starts with labels. Labels quite literally tear us apart.

What if race had never been socially constructed. What if we didn’t call another person fat or ugly. What if we didn’t label someone based on their crime or sin.  What if we didn’t identify ourselves and others by gender, sexual orientation, religion, country, etc. What if we were all just humans. We are all just people. What if we all identified each other based on God’s image and that’s it. What if we forgave. What would happen if beauty didn’t have only one specific look?

Can you imagine? Sociologists would be studying all kinds of wonderful things instead of terrible ones.

Question: why can’t I just say that I love Jesus instead of calling myself a Christian? I mean I can, but if I said that I loved Jesus I would automatically be labeled a Christian in the head of the person I said it to. It’s automatic. This is only one example, but it makes it so obvious how necessary labels are in our world. Do they have to be necessary though?

Labels come with so many stereotypes and baggage. If you are black, you’re supposed to act one way. If you are a woman, you’re supposed to be another way. Then if you’re a black woman, you’re supposed to be something entirely different. But why can’t we all just be human beings? Seriously. Why.

I read a piece by Derrick Bell the other day where he claimed that racism is never going to go away. It’s so true and dark and can be said about sexism, ableism, ageism, whatever else. But racism (and all other “isms”) won’t go away because we’ve created race. I will always see those who look different than me, differently, maybe negatively because race exists. We created racism when we created race. And don’t tell me that race isn’t socially constructed. Yes we look different, but we made it to where skin color is the first thing we notice about someone. We made definitions out of skin color.

I just (disclaimer: this is going to be crazy radical)… I just want to live in a world where there’s no continents, no countries, no races, no labels. Where we are all one unified people. Where we don’t build walls between countries for fear of each other. Where we don’t tell others to leave our home because they don’t belong. Where we don’t tell others that they aren’t welcome. Where we aren’t afraid to be immersed in a different culture because they’re different. Where black people aren’t shot because they’re black. Where I am not commanded to be a certain way because I am a woman. I just want us to be us. Whatever that may be.

Unique but united.

I’ve given up on the fact that this will ever occur unless we can go back in time and change everything. Where’s the Doctor at? Peter Capaldi, could you come pick me up in your Tardis? Let’s go change the world.

But anyway, I look forward to… in fact, I long for the day when I arrive in Heaven where this will be reality. We won’t notice any labels about each other… we’ll just be rejoicing together. Unified. But until then, I will try my best to love everyone and treat everyone like they are human. Like they are me even when they are different than me. Knowing that God loves them just as much as He loves me. Loving them with crucifixion love instead of reciprocal love not expecting anything in return… sacrificing something. Just loving despite of the labels. Loving even though I’ve been socialized to see labels. Choosing to love anyways.

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