The peril of a label

I posted this a couple years ago. The events in Ft. Lauderdale, FL., today got me thinking about the labels applied to men and women who commit such atrocities.

START THINKING, STOP FEELING

Photo: Anthony Moretti Photo: Anthony Moretti

In the overused and tired vernacular of the American media, a Muslim who kills several people is a “terrorist,” while a white American who goes on a shooting spree is “a lone wolf.” But if a black American shoots someone (or more than one person), then that individual is a “thug.” (And don’t get me started with who is a “freedom fighter.”)

Such labels serve no one. But they are the equivalent of a Pavlovian study — ring the bell and watch the dogs come running. We who continue to accept such labels and then use them in our conversations allow this verbal nonsense to persist and to strengthen.

Consider for a moment if the Muslim was called a “thug,” the white American was a “terrorist” and the black American was “a lone wolf.” Such language doesn’t fit the narrative, which has been written by far too many…

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