An Unworthy Invetion | Teen Ink

An Unworthy Invetion

December 6, 2009
By Ryder Naymik BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
Ryder Naymik BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

All throughout history mankind has been struggling to create new processes, or invent new products that can help make our lives safer, easier and more enjoyable. Cars, cell phones and computers are all recent examples of these inventions designed to improve our lives. Although they can have a positive impact on our lives, they can also cause harm to us, others, and the environment around us. Cars create large amounts of toxic exhaust and the batteries used in electronics are hazardous to produce and wasteful. We can talk about all of these material inventions in our world and weigh the costs and benefits, but to me, nothing is more important than considering the costs of the inventions of our minds.

The most destructive invention of the mind is the use of labels when describing another person, or group of people. As history has shown, the use of labels caused a feeling of superiority in one group of people over another. A once extremely common form of this was racism. Many horrible acts were committed in the past because one race or nationality of people was labeled unfairly by another. In America, “white supremacy” was prevalent from the day our country was founded, until quite recently when the civil rights movement ended. Early Americans were, many times, cruel to the Native Americans because they were “uncivilized” or not of the Christian faith. One of the darkest points in America’s history was during the times of slave trading. Africans were taken from their home, shipped to another continent, and treated extremely poorly because of the color of their skin. They were labeled unfit for society because of a simple difference in skin color.

Another extreme example of the negative repercussions of labeling people was the holocaust. It’s hard to believe that an entire race of people could be labeled and targeted because of a difference in physical appearance and difference of religion. Hitler believed that if somebody was not of the race he favored, they were unfit for society and impure. His use of labeling caused great amounts of suffering in the past, some of which still lingers today. Ironically, as Americans fought to liberate those labeled, imprisoned and tortured by Hitler’s wrath, there was a similar battle going on at home.

Women have also been the target of labeling in the past. Although many women did feel it was their duty to take care of the children and the home while the father worked, some resisted the paternal society and labels placed on women. During the American civil rights movement, many women fought to change these ideals and become independent. Of course, we have all seen and discovered that women are just as capable as men and that there is no need for the unfair labels that were attached to them in the past.

After all of history’s mistakes one would think that it would be no issue to abandon this awful invention of the mind. However, labeling still exists today in many forms and places. I see and hear discriminations on a daily basis as a high school student. Even if people are only joking around with the negative comments they make about another race of people or of someone who is disabled, it is still making use of the labels we have invented. Although not as prevalent as before, there are still feelings of superiority floating around that we must learn to stop. Labeling is not a healthy invention for our society to make use of. We are all people. We are all made of the same matter. We can all help each other.

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