My sigh was loud enough to be heard across a WalMart parking lot on Black Friday. I was sitting in the Eastern Washington University cafeteria with a group from my film classes. We were discussing an important aspect of film making, the sexual orientation of one of our instructors. A particularly annoying classmate smirked around the table at us and claimed self-righteously that she never used labels for people nor did she think it was right to judge others.
It was at that point I suggested that she felt this way because she had the mind of a rutabaga.
This fetched giggles around the table. “No, I’m serious!” I said, finding myself grinning in spite of my attempts not to. “Labeling and judgement has a name, a label as it were. We call it thinking.” I had everyone’s attention now. “Look, we have names, or labels if you will, for everything. Words like happiness and sadness are labels just the same as gay or heterosexual. We would find it impossible to think if it weren’t for the labels we assign and the same is true for making judgements.”
“That’s just semantics.” said Ms. Annoying Classmate.
“That’s a label, you jackass.”
“You just labeled my comments as semantics.”
“See what I mean?” I said. “Rutabaga.”
This caused a round of laughter and the source of annoyance unfurled her dark wings, tucked in her hooves and flew off in a huff. The thing is, we all judge all of the time and we all use labels to do it. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have preferences or opinions or friends or hobbies, …whatever. Judgement is merely weighing the factors we’re familiar with relative to something or other, often weighing them against other somethings. Without judgement we coudn’t make choices. Without labels, we’d never know if something was “right” or “wrong,” nor if something was “preferable” or “repelling.”
That’s the tangle-foot of political correctness. We’re not supposed to judge or label, yet it’s impossible not to. All thinking entities label and judge. Even animals. They label things as fearful or safe, edible or inedible –to state the obvious. Then they make behavior judgements based on the labels, just like we homosapiens. Of course, when people tell you they they’re not judgemental or labeling, they’re usually telling you that you are. In doing so, they assign a you negative label and judge you.
So the next time someone wants to try and elevate themselves at the expense of others and talks about making judgements, keep in mind that they’re a vegetable trying to entice you into a state of drooling mindlessness. Feel free to substitute your own favorite vegetable, but make sure that you let them know they’ve just equated themselves with unintelligent flora.