The Danger of LABELING

Words have power specially when spoken to those who have already been beaten down, the impact could be immeasurable. When someone describes themselves or another as a “felon”,“criminal” “ex-con” or “ex-felon” what they see is a person who is about to commit a crime, who is up to no good. These labels often create barriers for many returning citizens who are attempting to reconnect with friends, family and society as a whole. At Rise-N-Step.org, we do not use such labels to describe anyone. We believe our returning citizens are “justice-involved”citizens who are mothers, father, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts and friends.

Social psychologist Jennifer Ebherhardt of Stanford University conducted a study on the power of labels. In her study she showed a group of white college students a picture of a man who was racially ambiguous. The man could have plausibly fallen into the “white” category or the “black”category. To half the students, the face was described as belonging to a white man, and for the other half it was described as belonging to a black man. In one task, the experimenter asked the students to spend four minutes drawing the face as it sat on the screen in front of them. Although all the students were looking at the same face, those who tended to believe that race is an entrenched human characteristic drew faces that matched the stereotype associated with the label. The racial labels formed a lens through which the students saw the man, and they were incapable of perceiving him independently of the label. The labels we put on self and others not only shape our perception, but they can change how we perceive each other.The words that go through one’s head about one’s self must be positive affirmation of what makes a person unique, describing their uniqueness that separate them from others.

It is easy for someone to see themselves as a failure, but failure is part of growth. We fail by not trying, we must try to do better and learn from our mistakes without internalizing them. We are not our mistakes, for this reason we seek to Rise-N-Step daily to live a 10/90 life.

I am Rise-N-Step

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Yolanda Cadet
Yolanda Cadet

Ms. Yolanda Cadet is a Master Level Social worker with certification in multi- disciplinary practice. Her approach & skills come from a range of modalities, from modern psychology, to life coaching, NLP, CBT and counseling. Her background is very diverse.

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