Friday, July 18, 2008

The Little Chinese Lady

A vendor made a delivery to my office the other day and handed it to my co-worker. “Make sure this gets to the little Chinese lady,” he said. “I didn’t correct him,” she said. “I didn’t think it was worth it.” It probably wasn’t. Never mind that I’m not Chinese and don’t understand why the “little” comment was necessary in the first place.

However, the comment served to remind me how many times I use unnecessary labels when talking about someone. Looking at my own habits, most of the time that I use a label (Black, White, short, skinny, over weight, etc…) it adds no real meaning to the story. If I’m retelling the above story, would it have really mattered if I had said that it was a balding, Black man who made the comment? It wasn’t by the way…that was just an example.

I challenge everyone to really listen to what you say and what other people say. How many times do you add a label to a story or comment that doesn’t really need to be there? How often do the people around you do the same thing? Labels are often divisive, even when the person who is using it doesn’t mean to be divisive. I’m stepping off my soap box now and moving on…


Third Mom said...

It was a good soap box to be on - we all do this, whether we realize it or not. And we all need to stop. Thanks for the good reminder!!

Kerri said...

I just found your blog today and I can't say enough how much I identify with you. I'm also a Korean adoptee who is adopting our first child, also from Korea. I'm worried that the Korean Adoptive community will scorn me for not being obsessed with my adoption or Korean heritage. It's interesting, but I also have been raised with Polish and Italian culture. I'm going to make sure my child learns about those as well.