The Affect of Labels in our Society.
I am an African-American/black, single female/woman, as society has labeled me. Although I am pleased to be an “African American” woman, I feel the way society has labeled me is very burdening and oppressive because of traumatic experiences that I have dealt with because of these labels. As an “African-American”, I have faced many oppressions because of my label such as racism and discrimination. Truth be told, being labeled an “African-American” doesn’t identify who I really am. It does not define who I am as a person. Being labeled an “African American,” I have become victim to many racial slurs such as “go back to Africa where you come from.”
Over the years, there were many labels that has been used when identifying black people. In the article “What’s in a Name? Negro vs Afro-American vs Black by Lerone Bennett Jr.” discussed how many labels were used to identify black people and it touched the emotions of the black community. There were many controversies over properly identifying Americans of “African Descent” (Bennett 46). Americans of “African” descent faced racism and many issues arose in the black communities because of labeling. In the beginning the word “Negro” was used to identify Americans of African descent. Bennett states that “controversy which rages with religious intensity from the street corners of Harlem to the campuses of Southern colleges, has alienated old friends, split national organizations and disrupted national conventions. In addition to many issues surrounding the controversy, many blacks continued to search for their true identities (Bennett).
Another way society has labeled me is being a single woman. I notice when I am feeling out applications such as an auto insurance quote, they will ask if you are single or married. They will even give you a discount on your premium for being married to someone. In my opinion, labeling society based on marital status is burdensome, especially those who desire to become married like myself. The way society portrays this label, women that are married to men are somewhat better than those who are single. Women shouldn’t be placed into categories per their relationship with a man. In the article “Naming Women: The Emergence of “Ms.” as a Liberatory Title by Wendy Atkins-Sayre explains the struggle feminist faced while trying to define their relationship with men (Sayer 1).
Labeling women does more to society other than separating women into categorical groups. Labeling has caused many men to view women in different way per the category society has placed them in. For example, a man is more likely to approach or maybe harass a single woman than a married woman. Although women are more prone to being harassed than men, single women are more likely to become victims of sexual harassment.
The way society has placed us into groups caused people to view other cultures per the groups they are placed in. For example, Since African Americans are placed in one group, it is always said that ALL black people are lazy and refuse to work per other cultures in other "ethnic groups." Society tends to view people per their groups rather than the individual themselves. Make no mistake, all people are not the same. Everyone on this planet are accustomed to their own beliefs and so called traditions. Thus, it is not logical to place people in groups per their marital status, and skin color. Being an African American or a single woman doesn’t define who I am. I am a woman of God, a descendent of the Hebrew Israelites. I AM WHO I AM.
Atkins-Sayer, Wendy. Women and Language, Naming Women: The Emergence of “Ms.” As a Liberatory Title. No. 2, Vol. 28, p 1-9.
Bennett, Lerone Jr. Ebony 23, What's In a Name? Negro vs. Afro-American vs. Black. Nov 1967, p 46-48, 50-52, 54.
© 2017 Chernika Lipscomb