Author Topic: LABELS - The Thread!  (Read 33525 times)

Juana

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LABELS - The Thread!
« on: August 16, 2012, 10:42:50 pm »
At the end of the day, "yeah, we're all people and should be treated as such" is what I think. BUT I think that labels also have use.

- Humans like labels because they're short-hand ways of explaining yourself to yourself and to others. And you will inevitably pick them up and assign them to yourself no matter what. "Biped" is a label (a favored one around here, actually) and a perfectly good one at that.

- If someone tells me they're transsexual, I know to ask "what's your name, and which pronouns do you prefer?"

-- They quantify experiences and in order to accept people, you need to accept that they have had different experiences at the hands of society than you have (unless everyone you know is your clone). Which requires that you acknowledge their labels (because those are the ones that matter) because those labels help explain their stories. Saying NO LABELS LABELS ARE BAD is denying them a way to explain their lives, their experiences, their thoughts (no matter how retarded a set of thoughts is, you need to be able to explain it and labels make that easier).

-- If you want to be able to talk about a society, you need to have words to describe groups. "White men" = dominant group in Western society. "Women" = a subordinate group in most, if not all, modern societies, tasked with being the primary caregiver of children (whether or not you are actually fulfilling the expected roles or telling them to fuck off, it tells me what is expected of you and what sort of filters society probably outfitted you with).
--- They give you the ability to talk about power inequalities in a society. Cissexism (you are either a man or a woman and all other identities are unnatural) and racism require the dominant group and the subordinate group have names (in the case of race, specific cultures have sprung up around these as they have become identities). Otherwise you're groping around for an easy, concise way to explain elements of a concept, which isn't very good for a discussion necessarily

- Not teaching your kids about labels is not going to make an egalitarian society. They will assume (because kids are monkeys until you teach them otherwise) that everyone is like they are and that other forms of expression are badwrong (how do you think we got in this situation in the first place?). What you need to do (imo) is teach your kids that labels have their place and you should acknowledge them because they're ways people will tell you about themselves, but that these labels are not the be-all-end-all of who a person is, that people's labels and identity are perpetually in flux, and that you oughtn't judge them based on labels they have no control over (you don't get to pick what race, class, sex, or gender you were born into).

- I think quite a lot of this "ALL LABELS ARE BAD" thing is coming from positions of privilege. How often have you not had a word to explain yourself? Even if not all of you fits into the box that you were assign to, you have a box that explains at least some of your experiences. I can tell you that not having a word to explain vital parts of yourself is unsettling. I spent years trying to figure out why feminine pronouns are so fucking jarring (although less jarring than any others I have found). I kept poking at it and wondering if there was a word for it or how to explain it and then while reading up on gender, I found a word and it was like, "Oh! That's a pretty explanation!"


I don't think an egalitarian society can be labelless. I don't think it's even necessarily a desireable outcome because we need to be able to explain ourselves to ourselves and to others, and to do that we need labels for ideas and identities because no personal identity, no ways to explain yourself, sucks monstrously.
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Anna Mae Bollocks

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 10:45:30 pm »
The problem is that there's too damn many labels already, and people attach too much importance to them.
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Juana

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 10:52:56 pm »
How is "too many" being determined? Are you going to prune them? Which ones will be deemed unacceptable or useless? Why do you get to determine this?

People like explaining themselves and ready-made explanations are the path of the mouthy and lazy. But I don't see why that necessarily means NO LABELS ALL LABELS ARE BAD.
"I dispose of obsolete meat machines.  Not because I hate them (I do) and not because they deserve it (they do), but because they are in the way and those older ones don't meet emissions codes.  They emit too much.  You don't like them and I don't like them, so spare me the hysteria."

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 11:08:07 pm »
I ignore them, for the most part. I don't need "lapsed Jesuit straight CIS caucasian former drug addict professional artist felon american right-handed blah blah blah" when "Joe" will do.

I also see that most of us here who could be considered "CIS" don't LIKE "CIS". So what happened to self-determination? When I use a term, I use the ones people generally WANT to be called. Labels that people don't want to be called are known as "slurs". If a label's going to get hung on ME from somewhere else, of COURSE I'm going to swat it off.
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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 11:11:38 pm »

- I think quite a lot of this "ALL LABELS ARE BAD" thing is coming from positions of privilege.

I'm going to address this one first.

I can't speak for anyone else, just myself, but I find it wrong that my opinion on the subject is automatically assigned as "coming from privilege".  In my case, it's more cold-bloodedness, in a way.  I honestly don't care what someone is with respect to orientation, gender, whatever.  It's not that "I don't see it", because it's kind of hard to miss.  It's that I don't give a shit.  It simply isn't relevant to me.  Not because I am "not conscious of the oppression", because it's a little hard to miss, but because I have my own standards by which I judge or classify people, and the above qualities aren't part of those standards.

Example:  When hiring people, I consider the following questions:

1.  Do they have experience in the trade?
2.  Why did they leave their last position?
3.  Are they physically capable of doing the job?
4.  Are they missing any digits (this is an important indicator in the trades, but is not necessarily a deal-killer.  I want to know where the finger went, though, for reasons that should be obvious)?
5.  Can they get along with people?
6.  Do they have military experience (this is more an indication of whether they can bear up under difficult work and work conditions, and isn't mandatory.  It is a plus, though.)

I am utterly unwilling to think in terms of labels during this process.  Does this make me somehow privileged (I mean, I am, but not for that reason)?  No.  In question #3, I am looking to see if their physical strength will allow them to actually perform the job.  Some men can't, some women can't.  This is mostly important on the mechanical side, which demands a great deal of physical strength.  On the I&E side, I'm more interested in whether or not they are color blind, which can get you killed in this work.

In the end, there is one qualification:  Can the person get the job done?  Attendance, for example, is a qualifier.  Someone's orientation is not.

In my personal life, I am interested in what someone has to say, not what they are.

This doesn't make me some super-progressive modern male, yada yada yada.  It just means I have a different set of priorities than many other people have.  To say that it isn't possible to think that way without it being based in privilege is wrong for two reasons: 

1.  It is factually incorrect, and

2.  It's stating that I am not an individual, that I am a programmed robot of some kind, as I obviously MUST have the same thought processes as you.  I don't.

 
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 11:30:18 pm »
Stupid Microsoft booted me off for an update.

Last bit of that post:

"Saying labels don't matter is coming from privilege" is also an example of "poisoning the well".  You have answered my arguments before I have made them, and have stated that if I disagree, it's only because I'm a privileged White male that can't think.

It is a fallacy.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Juana

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 11:33:45 pm »

- I think quite a lot of this "ALL LABELS ARE BAD" thing is coming from positions of privilege.

I'm going to address this one first.

I can't speak for anyone else, just myself, but I find it wrong that my opinion on the subject is automatically assigned as "coming from privilege".  In my case, it's more cold-bloodedness, in a way.  I honestly don't care what someone is with respect to orientation, gender, whatever.  It's not that "I don't see it", because it's kind of hard to miss.  It's that I don't give a shit.  It simply isn't relevant to me.  Not because I am "not conscious of the oppression", because it's a little hard to miss, but because I have my own standards by which I judge or classify people, and the above qualities aren't part of those standards.

Example:  When hiring people, I consider the following questions:

1.  Do they have experience in the trade?
2.  Why did they leave their last position?
3.  Are they physically capable of doing the job?
4.  Are they missing any digits (this is an important indicator in the trades, but is not necessarily a deal-killer.  I want to know where the finger went, though, for reasons that should be obvious)?
5.  Can they get along with people?
6.  Do they have military experience (this is more an indication of whether they can bear up under difficult work and work conditions, and isn't mandatory.  It is a plus, though.)

I am utterly unwilling to think in terms of labels during this process.  Does this make me somehow privileged (I mean, I am, but not for that reason)?  No.  In question #3, I am looking to see if their physical strength will allow them to actually perform the job.  Some men can't, some women can't.  This is mostly important on the mechanical side, which demands a great deal of physical strength.  On the I&E side, I'm more interested in whether or not they are color blind, which can get you killed in this work.

In the end, there is one qualification:  Can the person get the job done?  Attendance, for example, is a qualifier.  Someone's orientation is not.

In my personal life, I am interested in what someone has to say, not what they are.

This doesn't make me some super-progressive modern male, yada yada yada.  It just means I have a different set of priorities than many other people have.  To say that it isn't possible to think that way without it being based in privilege is wrong for two reasons: 

1.  It is factually incorrect, and

2.  It's stating that I am not an individual, that I am a programmed robot of some kind, as I obviously MUST have the same thought processes as you.  I don't.

 

My argument there has absolutely nothing to do with any of that, or what you look for when you're hiring or whatever. The point is that you HAVE boxes you didn't have to search for years for; they were given to you and that's a privilege some people don't have. You didn't spend years struggling with a vital part your identity in the same way some people, myself among them, did. You can much more easily say "labels suck and are useless" when a word that fits (and don't deny it, you do wear some labels - "asshole" for one, which comes with some ideas and such that you have attached to it) wasn't years of searching and "what the fuck is with this?"

What someone has to say can be explained with a label and qualified through discussion. IE, I lean left (label). But f sucks because of x, y, and z, so I can't get behind it (qualifying).


I also don't think you get that my argument is that labels are HOW we say things and can be used to explain ideas and concepts, or one of the ways, anyway. "X is one of my labels" tells you where some of my opinions came from.

Stupid Microsoft booted me off for an update.

Last bit of that post:

"Saying labels don't matter is coming from privilege" is also an example of "poisoning the well".  You have answered my arguments before I have made them, and have stated that if I disagree, it's only because I'm a privileged White male that can't think.

It is a fallacy.
I disagree. I'm telling you where I think you're idea came from, and you're totally welcome to prove me wrong. I'm not writing you off because the boxes you got at birth work well enough for you.
Also, you've been making those arguments for ages. I was effectively answering what you've been saying for about as long as I've known you.
"I dispose of obsolete meat machines.  Not because I hate them (I do) and not because they deserve it (they do), but because they are in the way and those older ones don't meet emissions codes.  They emit too much.  You don't like them and I don't like them, so spare me the hysteria."

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 11:37:52 pm »
I think the biggest point of contention here is Labels: The Uniform! and Labels: The Nametag!

Who is using what?

Also Garbo, you're coming off as a zealot. Try to realize that people can understand through their own experiences what its like to be the nonpriveleged.

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 11:45:48 pm »
At the end of the day, "yeah, we're all people and should be treated as such" is what I think. BUT I think that labels also have use.

- Humans like labels because they're short-hand ways of explaining yourself to yourself and to others. And you will inevitably pick them up and assign them to yourself no matter what. "Biped" is a label (a favored one around here, actually) and a perfectly good one at that.


Oh, sure.  It's also true that to FORBID labels or refuse their use entirely is as bad or worse than using them too often.

But here's the problem:

Humans love to label, classify, and file things.  Once they've done so, however, they tend to ignore all the other qualities about a person that make them a person. 

Examples:

"Isn't that just like a woman."

"Men are pigs."

"Well, you have to cut him some slack.  You know how Those People are."

"You can't possibly understand, because you're a man."

It eliminates any factors which may change the situation.  I am a straight/cis White male in North America.  Does this mean I am "privileged"?  You're damn right it does.  But what it DOESN'T address is things like my apprenticeship in the trades, where all apprentices are scum for 3 years, with no exceptions.  Compare:

1.  Boss says to his female secretary:  "Do me a favor and pick up something for my wife's birthday on your lunch break."  The implication is obvious:  The boss is abusing his authority by ordering his secretary to perform a demeaning, unpaid task that is not in her job description on her own time, or find another way to feed your kids, woman.  Does she HAVE to do it?  Probably.  Those kids aren't going to feed themselves.

2.  Journeyman says to apprentice, before it's time to clock in:   "Hey, kid...Go get some coffee for me and Joe."  The implication is also obvious:  They are in a privileged position, abusing their authority by ordering the apprentice to perform a demeaning, unpaid task that is not in his job description, on his own time.  Does he HAVE to do it?  Probably.  His family aren't going to feed themselves, and one bad word from the Journeyman to the foreman, and you're history.

So, yeah, there's a whole bunch of life experiences that can show you the difference between having privilege and being subjected to privilege.

Also, I mentioned that I was fired from a job after a period of harrassment that resulted from my boss finding out that I didn't have the same religious views as him.  I am also known at work NOW as being "liberal Roger", who denies "God's plan" by not hating Gays, etc.  In this particular case, I have amassed enough personal power and I am aggressive enough that that shit doesn't have much traction...But I can see how if I was less of a maniac at work, and if I worked in a place with a different overall corporate culture, I'd be out on my ass.

These examples merely state MY experiences.  I'm sure P3nt has his own, I believe he's mentioned at least one, and I am equally sure that Faust has his, I know Cain has his, etc.

" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 11:47:54 pm »
I think the biggest point of contention here is Labels: The Uniform! and Labels: The Nametag!

Who is using what?

Also Garbo, you're coming off as a zealot. Try to realize that people can understand through their own experiences what its like to be the nonpriveleged.

THIS. Everybody isn't "privileged" 24/7 just because they're white guys.

Also, my self-determination thing isn't being addressed. If we don't want to be called "CIS" and we're going to get it hung on us anyway, might as well go back to saying "colored".  :x
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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 11:49:35 pm »

The point is that you HAVE boxes you didn't have to search for years for; they were given to you and that's a privilege some people don't have. You didn't spend years struggling with a vital part your identity in the same way some people, myself among them, did.

No.  Just every single day of my life since 1996.  Doesn't count, I suppose.  :kingmeh:
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2012, 11:49:43 pm »
If you are discussing semantics on a forum chances are you come from privilege, its not a valid argument because this is the definition of armchair philosophy and nothing screams privilege more then that.

We are all privileged, then thousand people die a day of dehydration alone so that we can maintain our standard of living. This corrupts us to our core, layers of privilege between the different class, race and sex divides are merely an after thought on top of that.
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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 11:50:30 pm »
I think the biggest point of contention here is Labels: The Uniform! and Labels: The Nametag!

Who is using what?

Also Garbo, you're coming off as a zealot. Try to realize that people can understand through their own experiences what its like to be the nonpriveleged.

THIS. Everybody isn't "privileged" 24/7 just because they're white guys.

Also, my self-determination thing isn't being addressed. If we don't want to be called "CIS" and we're going to get it hung on us anyway, might as well go back to saying "colored".  :x

I cannot see past privilege because I am a White cis/straight male.

I am an animal.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2012, 11:50:48 pm »
I used to think in labels. In the religion I was raised in labels were all the rage. Labels like "worldly" were applied to everyone NOT a JW and as soon as you said a person was worldly, it brought a whole load of meaning with it. They were untrustworthy. They were directly or indirectly following Satan. They were probably immoral in at least some ways. If you were a girl, you never wanted to be around alone with a worldly guy, or if you were a guy you never wanted to be alone with a worldly girl... they might try to have sex. Worldly also meant that come Armageddon they were going to die.

There were many other labels. Labels for the 'remnant' or 'anointed' ones.. the 3000 or so people in the religion that were gonna go to heaven. AS soon as you met one of them, you assumed that whatever spiritual stuff they said was right, because they were specially directed by the holy spirit. There were the Elders, the Ministerial Servants, the Pioneers, the Bethelites etc etc etc and there were assumptions that went with each.

In the outside world there were labels. Those labels did exactly what you said, they acted as shorthand... but shorthand for a whole set of assumptions and expectations about that person and the interactions with that person.

I didn't even begin to understand this complex mess until I really started reading philosophy, RAW, Korzybski and other stuff that made me think about thinking. The overall message I got was this:

Humans use labels. Labels define the expected experience with that person based on the assumptions related to that label. The reason a woman might clutch her purse when a black man walks by is because of the label and the assumption that is automatically tied to the label in her brain. The same for a woman who gets nervous when she is alone around a guy and her brain says "POSSIBLE RAPE WARNING". The same is true OF any label.

"This is Joe" doesn't tell the brain much and in general the people interacting with Joe for the first time are gonna be a little awkward. "This is Joe, he's a computer programmer" suddenly puts them at ease, because their brain has now categorized Joe and assumes that interactions with Joe will be like interactions with other computer programmers. Joe may also be a musician, a philosopher, a Discordian, a Pagan, homosexual and has an insatiable desire for Chicken Alfredo. However, the brain doesn't really bother with all of that. Joe has been put into the 'Computer Programmer' box.

No two people are the same. No two homosexuals, lesbians, heterosexuals, transgenders or androgynous people are the same. They share one trait... and they may not even share that trait very closely. One might be poly and the other might be monogamous. One might actually be bi, while the other is completely on one side or the other of the sexual preference world. Their history, their experiences... everything that creates their BiP might be different except for this one set of common blocks and bars.

The use of labels creates prejudice, that is pre-judgement for good or bad or neutral.

I mean, look at this argument:
"He is 'cis', he is 'male', he is 'white' therefore his dislike of labels must be because of privilege."

The assumption may be True or False or somewhere in-between, but its still prejudice.

Humans often confuse the Map (the label) with the Territory (the person), the Menu (the label) with the Meal (the person). Promoting labels, even with the best of intention, encourages this behavior.

As Hagbard Celine said in Illuminatus, "Labels are Damnations" they damn 99% of the person based on a description of 1% of who they are.

If people want to choose labels for themselves, that's up to them. I think it will likely bite them in the ass, but it their choice.

I don't want to be called 'cis' or 'straight' and I doubt anyone that knows me would call me 'normal' ;-) I prefer to be called Clyde, or Ratatosk or Squirrel or any of the other nicknames people have for me that know me. I prefer to interact with people without making any assumption about what that interaction will be like and its hard to do. It is difficult to constantly assess your own brain when you meet someone and check the assumptions at the door. Its not impossible... its not foolproof, its never perfect... but I'll be damned if I don't spend the rest of my life striving for it.

If I ever have kids (yeah, I hear all of you cringing at the thought) I will try very hard to teach them that humans are humans, they are all different, they are all unique, they are not all like the child. I will focus on teaching them that the ONLY way to know anything about a person is to actually get to know that person. Maybe that won't work perfectly, but I will do my best to make it work as well as possible.
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Re: LABELS - The Thread!
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 11:51:35 pm »
If you are discussing semantics on a forum chances are you come from privilege, its not a valid argument because this is the definition of armchair philosophy and nothing screams privilege more then that.

We are all privileged, then thousand people die a day of dehydration alone so that we can maintain our standard of living. This corrupts us to our core, layers of privilege between the different class, race and sex divides are merely an after thought on top of that.

The fact that someone has a computer and internet available indicates privilege in and of itself.

" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.