Even in this era of “political correctness” it is hard not to label people. I find that I do this as a way to describe people-not to label-but to describe. I might say-“Oh, you know my friend, Fred, you know-my gay friend.” I don’t do this to be disrespectful to him, but this will paint a picture for you that the friend to whom I am referring is my well-dressed, fun to gossip with friend who is one hell of a decorator. Then, you’ll know-oh yes, “that” Fred. Women, especially Southern ones, wear their gay-man friendships like a charm. We all have one. And, every Southern woman thinks the gay man is HER best friend. But, the gay man knows he has so many socialite women friends, because there are only so many gay men friends to go around.
Then, we talk about our friends of color-you know-my African-American friend. Because of this friendship we have great insight into and first-hand knowledge, or so we think, of the Civil Rights Movement. We think we know how it feels to be a single person of color in a sea of homogenous
faces. We tell her-“you go girl!” and we go on and on about how Oprah is our hero! To prove what great friends we are we will invite her to go to a fund-raiser for Barack Obama.
As the holidays approach we pause to remember Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights and sometimes we even send cards with Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends. We make sure we tell them Happy Holidays and that we don’t send them a card with best holiday wishes and reminding them “the reason for the season.” Then, we acknowledge that Hanukkah really isn’t their Christmas and that Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are both more important holidays on the Jewish calendar. We bid them Mazal Tov and Shalom.
In politics everyone wears a label. Hillary is a woman, Mitt is a Morman, Barack is African-American, McCain is a former prisoner of war, Rudy is divorced, Fred Thompson is an actor, Ron Paul is a doctor, Richardson is Hispanic and the list goes on.
My life is enriched because of these labels. It means that I share the world with many different types of people. Labels are just describing words. Labels tell our story. We use them to describe people-not because we are trying to stereotype them because we are just trying to paint a picture. If you need to describe me-you know who I am-the chatty, white, attorney’s wife, mother, junior league volunteer who is a member of a 12-step program. Get the picture?
Thanks for reading,