We asked Alex Jackson what his interactions with labels has been, here is his story:
Basically I’d say that labels make me feel divided in day to day life. Being labeled black is one thing and there are so many people that associate the color of my skin with negative stereotypes because they don’t actually understand what it means to be black.
They are quick to make generalizations after only hearing stuff they are told about black people from those in their little bubble of life, and from the information they gather they formulate negative opinions and bias about an entire race of people.
When I was in 6th grade I was in a crowded thrift store that was packed with primarily Latino families because of the part of town we were in. My brother and I were horsing around waiting on our Dad to finish up shopping and it’s not like we’re the only kids in there that are horsing around either, we only started doing it because all the other kids were doing the same. After like 10 minutes the white store owner comes up to my brother and me and tells us to leave the store and also threatens to call the cops for playing around when there were dozens of other kids doing the same thing right in front of him.
That was one of the first times I think the label of my race actually almost got me in real trouble and I’m still somewhat traumatized by it.
It was humiliating and when no adults spoke out against the injustice they just watched, it kinda furthered my realization that races only look out for each other most of the time.
Being a black male is also an entirely different struggle as well because as I said before, labels divide people. When I was younger, I’d had instances where black [womxn] didn’t see me as a black male because I didn’t have use slang when I talked or because I would dress “white.”
So its always just kind of an uphill climb to not conform to labels and see things in perspectives that are unbiased to a certain degree.