When we label a person or group, no matter how aptly we’ve concluded the label fits, we oversimplify and limit our understanding of their world view. When we use names meant to minimize or demonize others, names like “RACIST”, “THUG”, “NAZI”, “WHITE SUPREMACIST”, “KNOW-NOTHING”, “SEXIST”, we are communicating that they are unworthy of being considered further and that their concerns are invalid.
Beware of what happens when you choose to oversimplify others with labels. When you label, you’ve decided you know all you need to know about the person and are no longer willing to engage or understand.
Since when is a human’s world-view so easily summarized? It’s not, and labeling reduces the other to soundbites, defensiveness, and further division. It kills the possibility of understanding.
Understanding doesn’t mean agreeing or condoning, it means listening with the attempt to acknowledge a different perspective, even one you disagree with.
I often remind my clients that personal and career growth come from a place of being exposed to new, different, and often conflicting ways of thinking.
- There is no transformation without discomfort.
- There is no transformation without new ideas.
- There is no transformation without expanding beyond the thoughts you’ve already thought.
Expanding the limits of your knowledge and understanding are at the very core of your personal and professional growth. The longer you assume racism, sexism, and every other -ism is an affliction of others vs of self, you’ve killed the opportunity to grow beyond your current understanding.
If you want to continue to grow and learn, professionally and personally, stop jumping to foregone conclusions and stop labeling others. The simple act of approaching new ideas with curiosity vs fear will open you up to a world of infinite growth.