Only the human mind invents categories (William S. Meyer).  It really isn’t necessary or helpful to label people.  We do tend to place people in boxes mentally. We use adjectives that become the definition of people.  It’s a type of judgement and can be stereotypes.  Working in the field of human services we change what we are told to call our customers.  I remember it was “clients”, “consumers”, “individuals”, “service users”, and other forms of labeling.  It was an effort to convey respect through the use of one label over another.  The same is true for other “categories” of people.  In reality, true respect cannot be replaced with a label or category.  If any word to describe someone is experienced as disrespectful it is only because the person using the term does not respect.  If a person does not respect another person then any category or label is disrespectful.  Why can’t we just call people by their name?  It is us, as individuals, who make it disrespectful.  I can call someone Prince, Mister, Sir, Your honor, or any other title of respect.  However, if I truly do not respect the person then it will be a disrespectful title.  Respect comes from the heart.  No amount of political correctness will replace the disrespect in people’s hearts.


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