August 1, 2019 Rainmaker

Confined By Labels

What if we no longer allowed ourselves or others to be confined by labels? What if the boxes of “wealthy” and “poor” and “disadvantaged” and “privileged” fell apart? This is not to suggest that these realities don’t exist; indeed they are a product of an intentionally constructed social order. However, what if we gave up seeing people through the lens of a label and instead looked through the context of relationship? When we use labels to describe people, it can trigger thoughts of deficiencies and diminished value, harming not only those who use the label but also causing those labeled to internalize the projected inferiority. Instead, what if we moved towards the idea that there are no inherently poor people, only those living in economic isolation, disconnected from social connections that provide both relational and resource support. If we confront the reality of economic isolation, it shifts the onus onto the community. How did that person become isolated? What systems have functioned to sever the connections between people? If we believe that the source of all wealth doesn’t live in a government or mansion or corporation somewhere out of reach, but is actually an abundant reality close enough to touch, then why should anyone be cut off? And what can we do to reconcile the isolation all around us and in our own lives?