The Labeling Game Essay, Research Paper
THE LABELING GAME
This is Jeopardy! Let ’ s take a expression at today ’ s classs, shall we? Blacks in Sports, Italian cookery, Nipponese in Business, celebrated married womans, Judaic Bankers, and eventually, Arab terrorists. Wait a minute. What ’ s incorrect with these classs? If you haven ’ t guessed already each of these classs represents a racial or gender stereotype. This may non be a realistic Jeopardy game, but it ’ s a game we play mundane – it ’ s the game of labeling.
Like Jeopardy, in the Labeling Game we have the replies, or think we do, before we ask the inquiry. In our society we invariably classify people in to wide groups simply by their expressions. The job is non the classs themselves, but the credence of stereotypes, which leads to negative self-images.
We are all cognizant of these stereotyped functions, but what most of us do non recognize is that these stereotypes hurts us the most.
When we stereotype our ain groups, or accept the labels others give us, we create negative self-labels. As psychological science professor Robert Feldman wrote in the book Adjustment, “ The self-image we create in childhood causes us to go on in our grownup lives to suit whatever labels we have accepted. ”
We learn stereotyped functions at a really immature age. We all remember those fairy narratives we read as kids. Snow White cooks and cleans for the seven midget. Even the midget ’ names are stereotypes: Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Happy, Dopey, Bashful and Doc. In Lady and the Tramp, Lady is guiltless, diffident, and delicacy whereas the hobo is bold, confident, and dare.
By the clip we get to high school we have become good accustomed to the labels our equals, our instructors, and the media put on us.
Labels become more of import in junior high when we become cognizant of the labels on our apparels. We want Abercrombie and Fitch shirts, Levis denims, anything Gap and ne’er the uncool imitations. Once we have our apparels merely right, we must take our societal individuality carefully. We want good classs to delight our parents, but we don ’ t want to be swots. We want to do friends, but we want to avoid the druggies and alkies.
Harmonizing to instructors, we ’ rhenium either leaders or followings, over-achievers or under-achievers, frequently riotous, on occasion chatty, and misss, decidedly boy-crazy.
The media plays upon our demand for labels, as we are encouraged to be portion of the “ Pepsi Generation. ” When intelligence studies on young person force, we become the “ lost generation. ” And when a name every bit meaningful as the babyboomers could non be found for us, we were labeled Generation X.
Adolescents, as the most active participants, frequently have the most to lose in the labeling game. When they start to accept and believe the labels, they are playing with the remainder of their lives. A Ph.D. in clinical psychological science, Penelope Russianoff wrote, “ The restricting self-images of grownups developed bit by bit in the procedure of turning up. ” The self-image we accept in our formative old ages stays with us, and affects us as grownups.
Some of you may hold heard this conundrum. A male parent and boy were driving on the main road. The male parent lost control, swerved off the route, and ran into a telephone pole. The male parent died immediately, and his boy was critically injured. An ambulance rushed the male child to a nearby infirmary. When a outstanding sawbones was called to supply immediate intervention, a pant was heard. “ I can ’ t operate on this male child ” the sawbones said, “ He is my son. ” How can that be? The reply – the sawbones was the male child ’ s female parent. One of the countries where labels consequence us are the professions we think work forces and adult females should hold, every bit good as their behaviour. A adult female ’ s function is to be inactive, tactful, assistive, and emotional, whereas work forces are stereotyped as aggressive, tough, independent, and unemotional. In short, adult females are non supposed to be sawboness.
Many adult females are afraid to asseverate themselves believing they will be labeled “ witchy ” , or be labeled “ selfish ” , if they want a calling when their kids are still immature. Womans frequently limit themselves with the negative labels associated with their sex.
As Dr. Pamela E. Butler wrote in the book Self-Assertion for Women, “Negative ego labeling is a major factor in binding adult females to the stereotypic feminine role.”
On the somersault, side a adult male can ’ t demo his emotions or he is labeled soft. If a adult male International Relations and Security Network ’ t aggressive so he ’ s labeled weak. A male child turning up who isn ’ t good at athleticss runs the hazard of being labeled, a pantywaist. The credence of negative labels keeps work forces in their stereotyped functions merely every bit much as it does for adult females.
However, many people have broken out of these bounds. For illustration, California has two female senators. Yet females are still a minority in political relations. For the first clip there are female Supreme Court Justices. Yet out of the Nine supreme tribunal justnesss, merely two are adult females. Men excessively, have broken labels. Now there are male nurses, simple school instructors, and even housewifes, though they excessively are a minority. The breakage of labels has to take topographic point on an single degree in childhood, when we set up our self-image.
Two old ages ago I was working at a summer plan for simple school pupils. There was one male child, Andy, in 3rd class who couldn ’ t read. His older brother and sister had both been gifted and gifted pupils. When Andy didn ’ t measure up for the talented plans, he was even harder to work with. Whenever anyone tried to learn him to read he would shout out stating that he can t read and can t larn anything either. Finally, when I had to work with him, he promised to listen to the narrative every bit long as he didn ’ Ts have to read any of it. So I read to him. After a few pages I came to the peculiarly difficult word of school. Pronouncing it, s-ch-o-o-l, I continued. Andy stopped me, corrected me, stating that it is marked school, instead than s-ch-o-o-l. I started faltering more and more after that, and by the terminal, he was reading the narrative himself. He had ne’er believed that he could read, when I tricked him he read the narrative without recognizing he was making it. After that, Andy started reading more and more, in merely the last four hebdomads of the summer category he got up to his class degree in reading and loved reading the short narratives himself.
What Andy did is state himself that he couldn ’ t read. It wasn ’ t his nature but it was merely a label he accepted. This is discussed by Psychotherapist Sidney Jourard in the book, Healthy Personality. “ When a individual says he is lazy or sincere, it is merely every bit if he is stating ‘ it is my nature to be lazy or sincere ’ . But human existences do non hold fixed natures. Therefore when a individual forms a ego construct he is non so much depicting his nature as he is doing a pledge that he will go on to be the sort of individual he believes he now is. ” Just as Andy limited his capablenesss by accepting labels as his given nature, we accept labels that limit our possible.
When he didn ’ t tantrum into the talented class, he labeled himself as incapable and he remained that manner. We can ’ t set persons into classs. Every person is merely that, an single. We can non accept labels put upon us. We have to recognize that the labeling game is non a game, it ’ s a serious affair. We ’ re playing with our self-image, our ego bounds, our lives. When Andy realized that his self-labeling was false, he was able to win. Since so I ’ ve ever thought of Andy when I think I ’ m non athletic, I ’ m non musical, or I ’ m lazy. Andy can animate us all to halt playing the labeling game.
Whether we label others, label ourselves, or accept the labels put on us, we are playing a unsafe game, and the one most in Jeopardy is ourselves. Alternatively of presuming we have the reply beforehand, we need to inquire the inquiry to happen out our possible. When we do, we all become victors in the most of import game of all ; the game of life.
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