Culture seeks shortcuts.
The oldest shortcut is: “Friend or foe?”
If we know the answer to that, a whole bunch of time gets saved, and fear is reduced as well.
The labeling goes beyond which team, cadre, tribe or village someone is part of. It extends to the ways we demonstrate which box we’ve chosen–fashion, pro sports, even the tech we use or how we speak. The search for safe shortcuts becomes an end to itself.
And then it can get toxic. When we start dividing people by race or identity, by background or caste, we end up losing dignity and nuance for the false shortcut of putting someone into a box.
But in our quest to put everyone in a box, we leave a lot behind. We ignore the chance to interact with someone who can teach us something. We sacrifice the benefit of the doubt in exchange for what feels like security. And we take away the humanity of people who don’t make it easy for us to find a niche for them.
Pigeonholes are best for pigeons.
PS my new LinkedIn course is free this week.