Halloween costumes often provoke this question in people and I wonder why. We seem to have a strong need to label or categorize people. We even want to do this on festive occasions when the whole point is to have fun!
Do you do this?
How does this habit play out in your business relationships? You work in a richly diverse environment and you have respect for human rights. Yet, you still want to know where everybody fits in.
Do you find yourself wanting to ask people, “What are you dressed up as?”
I am curious if you think it is negative or positive to categorize others. Maybe it’s important to know if a person feels, on the inside, the same way they appear on the outside.
What do you think?
- Responding to a human rights complaint - September 5, 2012
- Ontario policy on competing human rights - August 8, 2012
- What does the case of Trayvon Martin tell us about racism in Canada? - April 4, 2012
Andrew Lawson says
Great points, Melissa! I agree with you that it is a natural instinct to categorize people and problems arise only when we use these classifications for harmful purposes. I think about what the world would be like if we made these decisions after learning a great deal about people rather than basing them on a person’s “costume.”
I do this on a daily basis, not just with halloween costumes. I think it is a natural human instinct to want to categorize people.
I think that problems arise when people use these categories to make themselves feel or seem better than another ‘category’ of people.
It’s harmless to want to make sense of the people and the world around us, so long as we do this benevolently, and not for personal or selfish gain.