That’s what negative labels produce.
They’re intended to ostracize and belittle
those the speaker thinks of less use.
They may bind one to another, with the intimacy of a cause,
but one hand clapping another’s is a suspect form of applause.

The great frustration I feel
when I hear a label applied
is due to what I perceive
as the thunderous sickening sound of the closing of a mind.
They are words intended to separate instead of bringing together.
They’re intended to convey our differences instead of ways we’re similar.
If we believe we are:
and right,
then we need to stop and think
before acting like taggers in the night.
It takes effort to discover more than what a book’s cover shows.
But if I care to chance being wrong,
it’s worth being exposed to the light.

© Joel Tipple


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