Outside Labels

AmbiguousRacePics
Courtesy, Psychology Today

Human beings are masters at labeling each other. New York University Assistant Professor of Marketing Adam Alter points out how labeling, based on our first glance can affect a person for years. In his article for Psychology Today, entitled Why It’s Dangerous to Label People, Alter discusses how labeling a person by general color of their skin, rather than the nuanced gradation of colors we all come in, engenders a specific cultural identification on the surface–a surface label that may not describe the person at all.

Alter uses the example of college students who are shown a video of a girl named Hannah, put in either a working class neighborhood or in a middle class suburban neighborhood, and answering questions. The college students, in this famous study by Princeton professors John Darley and Paget Gross, labeled the child an underachiever when she was presented in the working class neighborhood, but when presented with Hannah in the middle class neighborhood, labeled the child to be at least one grade higher than when she was seen in the poorer surroundings.

Such profound labeling can affect all but the most confident or, perhaps, narcissistic of persons.
When we believe the labels put on us, we either rise or lower to that expectation.

We are so very much more than the labels we outwardly project.

via Daily Prompt: Label