Always Read The Label

Stereotypes
Put people in
Neat little packages
Create nice little labels
And tags
So that
When you see someone
You know how to
Adjust your attitude
Make a little mental note
On how to treat that person
Always read the label

If they fit the pigeonhole
You can file them away
In a safe place
Inside your head
Along with all the others
So that the next time
Another one comes along
You know exactly what to expect
It certainly makes life much easier
And less scary
When you know
Who or what you’re dealing with

Until someone comes along
And upsets your apple cart
And turns your Nice Plan
Upside down and inside out
By not conforming to any
Of the rules you’ve set for them
By being completely different
By doing everything contrary
To what you’ve learnt
And to what Society
Has drilled into your head
And now your head is screwed

This is not an abnormality
This is not a blip
Humans are not pigeons
That fit neatly into pigeonholes
For your convenience
Do not adjust the person
But do adjust your attitude
And prejudices against
The very labels you have imposed
Upon others, as
There are others Just Like You
…always read the label

The only labels we need have
For people should be
Good or Bad
But even then the very yardstick
By which we measure them
Is never completely unbiased
Depending instead on everything
You’ve been taught from young
And again, depending on
The very things we would like
To NOT discriminate against
How’s that for irony?

So, one person’s Good
May be another person’s Bad
When viewed through
The highly distorted lenses
Of Race, Religion,
Sexual orientation,
Culture, Gender
Political affiliation,
Even Occupation
And Life Philosophies
One man’s meat
Is another man’s poison

So, what should we do?

Start again, start afresh
Start with a clean slate
Start with our children
Before it’s too late

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