a mother of adopted children
Yes, I am "that" too... but I'm SO MUCH MORE, that none of those words can even begin to describe who I AM, not even those who depict the most important parts of ME. No word could ever do that. Not one million words. Not in one million languages. Not in one million years. Not me, not any living being.
Every time we describe ourselves with one adjective, or we accept that someone else does, we should make sure that the label we are putting on ourselves at that moment does not exclude all the rest we ARE.
Labels might be useful in certain situations, they allow us to communicate what part of us we bring forward at a specific moment. But they are far from being the whole picture, and should really not be accepted as such. Not by the society, not by the people who are around us, but mainly not BY OURSELVES.
When we start believing that the labels we -or society, family, faith, etc- put on ourself ARE US (and it could be a thousand labels, with the ILLUSION that they COULD describe who we really are) we start automatically believing that labels on everybody else ARE THEM. This is when "us" and "the others" is born into existence.
When I say that specieism is absurd -since the concept of "species" has been invented by us, imperfect beings (hence it's an imperfect concept), and manipulated by us throughout the ages so that it fits our interests, separating living beings according to certain characteristics to which we bestow more importance, in detriment to others that we opt to deem "inconsequential"- again most people don't understand.
"Species" is one of the most deep-rooted labels in our conscious mind. And it is, as all labels, a divisory breach that separates "us" from "them", allowing unspeakable horrors to happen. And most people don't even realize that the concept "species" IS a label. A separation created by us, modified through time by us, used by us BY CHOICE, albeit usually a never-questioned one.
Swedish botanist Karl von Linné published, in 1735, a book called Systema Naturae in which he, for the first time, proposed the classification of living beings according to their physical appearance and method of reproduction. The concept of "species" was born, and has been accepted without questioning until today.
He decided, because it was convenient for his work, that aspect and reproduction are sufficient characteristics to separate us in this or that group that he called "species". And WE KEEP ON DOING IT. Even if we are not botanists, biologists, zoologists, even when that separation, based on those criteria, is of NO USE TO US! The funny thing is that, if he had decided to base the concept "species" on different criteria, maybe less useful ones... we might not even know the word "species"! And we might live in a very different world!
Of course, the concept "species" as based on the actual criteria is something very handy for categorizing living beings according to... well, aspect and reproduction methods. But we decide to use that classification even though we are not botanists, biologists, zoologists, researchers... We keep all beings neatly separated in those groups, even though we -who according to the concept "species" belong in one "group"- feel more affinity with a dog, a bird, a fish, a cat, a cetacean -who are in other "groups"- than with certain humans, although we belong to our same "group"...
Why? Why do we decide to give more importance to physical appearance and reproduction methods than for instance the natural emotional attachment between two beings? The criteria that define "species" are as important as we decide them to be. If we give more importance to other criteria... "species" becomes inconsequential.
A dog and a cat who grew together are family, they KNOW they are. A tiger and a bear too. Nobody told them that they don't belong to the same... "species". What does that ever mean??? That two beings don't look the same and can't procreate? Why should physical traits and the ability to procreate define WHO WE ARE???
The cats who share and have shared my life are MY FAMILY, so much more so than a hunter, a bullfighter, a women abuser, a child molester. No matter what the science we call "Biology" says.
What does "species" matter, when in reality we are all INDIVIDUALS who can't be described by mere words?
Who decides that belonging to a same group, be it "species", "gender", "faith", "caste", "age group", "race", should be more important than whan what we really are, than what we really feel?
I am copying below the text of this modern poem with the hope that it will help us all question all labels.
A video goes with it. It couldn' be otherwise, after all it's modern poetry. Watch it, it's beautiful.
Paraphrasing Prince AE...
Isn't it funny how no baby is born "human"?
Yet, every baby cares for others, be it another human, or a duck, or a dog, or a fish.
by Prince EA
I mean, that’s what the world calls me, but it’s not... me
I didn't come out of my mother's womb saying, “Hey everybody, I'm... Black.”
No, I was taught to be black
And you were taught to call me that
Along with whatever you call yourself
It’s just a.... label
See, from birth the world force feeds us these.... labels
And eventually we all swallow them
We digest and accept the labels, never ever doubting them
But there's one problem:
Labels are not you and labels are not me
Labels are just ...labels
But who we truly are is not... skin... deep
See, when I drive my car, no one would ever confuse the car for.... me
Well, when I drive my ....body, why do you confuse me for my... body?
It's.... my ....body....get it? Not me
Let me break it down
See, our bodies are just cars that we operate and drive around
The dealership will call society decided to label mine the "black edition,"
Yours the "Irish" or "White edition"
And with no money down, 0% APR, and no test drive
We were forced to own these cars for the rest of our lives
Forgive me, but I fail to see the logic or pride
In defining myself or judging another by the cars we drive
Because who we truly are is found inside
Listen, I’m not here to tell you how science has concluded that genetically we’re all mixed
And race in the human species doesn't exist
Or how every historian knows that race was invented in the 15th century
To divide people from each other and it has worked perfectly...
No.... I'm not here to lecture
I just want to ask one question
Who would you be if the world never gave you a label?
Never gave you a box to check
Would you be White? Black? Mexican?
Asian? Native American? Middle Eastern? Indian?
No. We would be one; we would be together
No longer living in the error
Of calling human beings Black people or White people
These labels that will forever blind us from seeing a person for who they are
But instead seeing them through the judgmental, prejudicial, artificial filters of who we THINK they are
And when you let an artificial label define yourself
Then, my friend, you have chosen smallness over greatness and minimized your.... self
Confined and divided your .....self from others
And it is an undeniable fact that
When there is division, there will be conflict
And conflict starts wars
There-fore every war has started over labels
It's always us... versus them
So the answer to war, racism, sexism, and every other -ism
Is so simple that every politician has missed it
It’s the labels...
We must rip them off
Isn't it funny how no baby is born racist
Yet, every baby cries when they hear the cries of another
No matter the gender, culture or color
Proving that deep down, we were meant to connect and care for each other
That is our mission, and that it's not my opinion
That is the truth in a world that has sold us fiction
Please listen, labels only distort our vision
Which is why half of those watching this will dismiss it
Or feel resistance and conflicted
But, just remember...
So did the cater-pillar
Before it broke through its shell and became the magnificent butterfly
Well, these labels are our shells and we must do the same thing
So we can finally spread our wings
Human beings were not meant to be slapped with labels like groceries at supermarkets
DNA cannot be regulated by the FDA
We were meant to be free
And only until you remove them all
And stop living and thinking so small
Will we be free to see ourselves and each other for who we....TRULY.... are