15 Offensive Labels To Never Use No Matter What

Words are powerful. Words can heal as much as they can cause harm, and vice versa.

I've always viewed society's labels of people as doing more harm than good because to some extent, they are cloudly rooted in patronization, polarization, and discrimination.

Labels can also bolster a constriction of identity, which we may not realize at first because of how normalized these labels have become in our daily vernacular.

The following examples are various forms of labels I've heard in the past that I myself have been guilty of using in reference to others around me, especially to those who I didn't know well. Each label is followed by an alternative form of word choice that I believe promotes humanization.

I also included a closing explanation for each alternative form that is a reflection of my core belief that we must remember we are all human.

1. The Addict

The person who struggles with an addiction

We are more than our struggles.


2. The Disabled Person

The person who lives with a disability

We are greater than our physical and/or mental conditions.


3. The Republican

The person who supports a majority of Republican ideology

Our political party affiliation and/or disaffiliation doesn't define our identities as a whole.


4. The Schizophrenic

The person who is living and battling with schizophrenia

Mental illness doesn't characterize us.


5. The Transgender Woman

She/her/hers (or whichever pronouns the person prefers to be called)

Our gender isn't a determining factor for how we should choose to live our lives.


6. The Homeless Person

The person experiencing homelessness

We are more than our income, and our socioeconomic status doesn't reveal the content of our character.


7. The Mexican

The person from Mexico (or the person of Mexican descent)

Our race, nationality, and/or ethnic background shouldn't ever be used to degrade one another, nor should it ever be used as an excuse for how we treat each other.


8. The 3.0 Student

The student who has maintained a 3.0 grade point average

We are not our GPAs. Fellow students, I repeat: we are not our GPAs.

9. The Maid

The person who helps with ___________.

We are not defined by our jobs.


10. The Christian

The person who believes, follows, and practices the teachings of Christianity

Religiosity doesn't equate to morality. Our religious affiliation and/or disaffiliation doesn't define our identities.


11. The Sex Offender

The person who committed a sexual offense

We are still more than the worst thing we've ever done. The ability to accept this paves a new path of hope and healing for humanity.


12. The Prisoner

The person serving time in prison

Our punishments are life lessons, not our life's worth.


13. The Down Syndrome Person

The person who is living with Down Syndrome

Developmental disorders don't determine who we are and don't translate to us being limited in all areas of life.


14. The Plus-Size Model

The person who models in plus-size clothing

Every single body is beautiful. Our clothing size and weight shouldn't define our beauty or worth as humans.


15. The Illiterate Individual

The person who continues to learn how to read and write

We as humans are continuously learning every day, and we are not defined by the pace at which we learn new things.


A Final Note:

A simple change in word choice when referring to others allows us to disestablish labels and opens up a safer space for each individual to have more autonomy over creating their own identity.

Please remember that at the end of the day, we are all human. Thank you for reading this piece.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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