Thursday, September 06, 2007

Label Sensitivity

Awhile back, I realized how label happy I was. When telling a story, I felt it necessary to describe the people in the story – the Black woman, the Asian man, the Jewish family, etc.... Now, I try really hard not to describe people unless it is necessary to the story. After Virginia Tech, I was pretty concerned by the fact that the media felt it necessary to constantly preface that Cho was from South Korea and I worried about the repercussions.

I’m not writing this post as a slap to those people who use labels as a way to divide people. I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself that I have to take a step back. The other day, I took my son to one of those big indoor play areas. He immediately started playing with a little girl his age. The father was on the phone with his wife and I heard him say, “She’s having a lot of fun. She’s playing with a little boy.”

There was absolutely nothing wrong with anything that he was saying, so why was I tense? I was waiting for him to tell his wife that his daughter was playing with “the little Asian boy.” Of course, he didn’t, but I was prepared to call my husband and complain about the evils of labeling. It is easy to fall into this negative world (both adoptees and parents of adoptees) where you automatically expect the worst.

So, this is a reminder to me - relax, think positive, and smile.


The Byrd Family said... hit a nerve! I am also label sensitive. I can't even relax in public with my two girls....just waiting for someone to make an ignorant statement! One is from China and one is from South Korea but the are both two. A common question, and I can accept this one is, are they twins? No, I nicely answer but they are only a month apart in age. Where are they from? China and South Korea. Then this statement comes..."Oh, so they're not really sisters." Ugh!

Roozbeh said...

This post was really amazing.
Now my question is that: Didn't this labeling get better during the last years?

so yung wilson said...

I had to laugh out loud at the end - waiting tensely, phone ready just in case a call to the hubby was needed.

Was reading another post where a mother moved their family to be at another school, church, community so that her son wouldn't have to "the black boy" and just be a boy.

Like your this post.

To They Byrd Family - whenever I got this response about my sister or brother or parents not really being my family, I immediately corrected their erroneous thoughts. It's a service, really.