We are fortunate to live in a world where a growing amount of people believe that everyone should be treated equally. Personally,I am lucky to be surrounded by wonderful individuals who wish for a world without prejudice, whether that be based on gender, race, sexuality, disability or otherwise. However, amongst this belief, I find a growing trend of people accidentally mistaking equality, for everyone being the same; a concept I find to be hugely problematic.
I recently watched a video entitled 'I am NOT black, you are NOT white', in which a talented poet 'Prince Ea' eloquently expresses his desire for us to do away with labels and see each other as simply 'humans'. Don't get me wrong, I understood his message, his passion for equality, but I couldn't escape the feeling that this was not the way to go about it. Do we really all have to consider ourselves the same in order to consider ourselves equal? I say: no.
We should be striving to embrace our unique qualities and celebrate our diversities. We should be trying to own our identities and honour our differences. For me? I'm proud to be bisexual, I'm proud to be a girl and I'm proud of my heritage. Sure, they might be labels, but they're a part of me. No one has the right to take that away. No one has the right to strip me of that pride.
Further, if we are to be rid of 'black' as a label, what would become of #BlackLivesMatter and #Blackout? If we eliminate 'women', what would become of #InternationalWomensDay? To recognise a label and empower oneself based upon it is a strong social tool. By looking at each community, minority and culture we can recognise the individual struggles they face and try to tackle these head-on. To take away a label is to rob a minority or marginalised group of their identity, to ignore the unique hardships they face and blend them in with the rest. It is both counter-productive and ignorant to assume that simply stripping labels away would instantly create or help the cause of equality.
I indeed hope for a world where one day labels are not used against anyone, but I believe the impact of disregarding labels altogether would be to create a one-size-fits-all, 'cookie cutter human' society; dull, expressionless and without character. I say lets embrace our individuality, recognise and eventually end the struggles of the oppressed and create a multicultural, multi-faith, interesting, colourful, diverse world to live in.
To be equal, does not mean we have to be the same.