Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Once everyone accepts everyone else as equal will the group names disappear?

Asked by JLeslie (59213points) July 3rd, 2018 from iPhone

White, black, Italian, gay, Hispanic, United Negro Fund, LGBT, Jewish Federation, the list goes on.

I’m mostly thinking about this in terms of the US, but it can apply to other countries too.

I’m assuming we will always have groups we identify with in some level, but will we need organizations that group us together if economically and regarding civil rights we are all equal?

“White” people in America used to be more divided. The Irish were discriminated against, and Italians were seen as having different customers, the Polish had bad stereotypes about them, and now I think pretty much that has all disappeared. Yes, people still acknowledge those national backgrounds, but it has faded in a large way.

When you are in a place that is very diverse, very international, everyone is different and the same all at once. The idea of differences actually fades the more varied the group in my experience.

Does using labels and groups actually work against this melding of people? Some have argued the United Negro Fund when it was created should have been based on economic need, not race. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of the poor; his movement was not solely about racism.

Groups that don’t want to be separated, do they hurt themselves by creating separate groups?

I’ve wondered about this my whole life. I don’t have a clear opinion on it.

What’s your opinion?

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11 Answers

rebbel's avatar

I think it has also much to do with upbringing, how diverse your neighborhood in your formative years were, and personal traits.
In my personal communications with friends, colleagues, or people I meet for the first time, I never use the term you (guys from Brazil/girls that like girls/women with two skin tones darker than I).
When I grew up (pre-teen, in the Netherlands, 70’s) there, obviously, were already labels.
One of the guys from the block was gay, but nobody gave a damn, it was never a thing.
We had children from “gastarbeiders”, people from Marocco, Turkey, and Spain, who came in the sixties, to do the jobs Dutch didn’t want to do.
They were friends, not foreign, not different.
Sure, they ate different food, had different customs, but so did we, to them.
And in the football club (that’s soccer) there was also a big variety of children that originated from everywhere on earth.
We played all the same game.
Not going to say nothing was ever being said to one another, but what I personally took from that time, is that we are all the same.

janbb's avatar

I don’t see that happening in the States any time soon; I can’t even speculate that it might.

zenvelo's avatar

We are ideally a melting pot.

What makes the pot work well is when different strengths and flavors contribute to the whole.

What makes the pot not work well is when one group stratifies the mixture.

The groups you describe are there to help fight the oppressive power structure. Until that ends, those not in power need to group together to survive.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Once everyone accepts everyone else as equal, are you going to give up your first and last names? Of course not. People being equal doesn’t stop them from being distinct. It just changes the way we treat those distinctions.

@zenvelo The melting pot metaphor is not very popular anymore because it implies that people have to give up their pasts and their cultures in order to become generic members of some new group. Integration does not necessarily require homogenization, however, which is why metaphors like the patchwork quilt, the salad bowl, or the cultural mosaic are more common these days.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You SHOULD wonder about this one. You should also realize that the United Negro College Fund was named specifically because no white organization dedicated to providing access to college would risk its funding through including negroes in its recipients! As the civil rights struggle drug on, King came to understand that racial barriers are erected and enforced to disguise and perpetuate class divisions. Notice as you did that each succeeding wave of immigrants, as you said was villified and harassed, with those most violently opposed to the newcomers always the folks from the previous wave, and closest to themselves in economic status. How come? Your question actually translates into: Why is it that people suffering the same fate economically, and therefore natural allies, turn on each other in preference to uniting to confront those exploiting their poverty? YOU have to understand that racism is a very handy tool when it comes to perpetuating the maxim of wealth flowing to the top. This is a hidden reason why unions must be villified. It’s a lot easier to funnel gold to the mansions if those at the bottom fail to notice because they are so busy fighting one another for scraps.

tinyfaery's avatar

It’s a human trait to put things into categories and give them labels. This will never end.

janbb's avatar

^^ “They have Stars upon Thars.”

JLeslie's avatar


I have to understand? WTH?

ragingloli's avatar

Humans will never overcome tribalism, unless they undergo complete genetic reengineering.

seawulf575's avatar

I think that there will always be some separation of people based on looks. For example, you see three people in a restaurant and you see one do something funny. You turn to the person with you and ask…“Did you see that guy?” “Which one?” The description of the person might come into play…“The white guy in that group” or “the hispanic looking guy”. It isn’t a slam or a separation…it is a description. You could just as easily say “They guy in blue” or “the blonde”. But those, too, are descriptors, not separators.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb And none upon thars.

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