Sunday night I watched the Broadway Tony award show because I love the diversity that is New York theater. The first time I saw Camelot, Guinevere was played by a black woman. And this was in the 70s. Nobody cared. Five minutes into the play no one even noticed. I was thinking about that when I was reading about an outrage that a black woman who was cast to play Nina Simone in a movie was not black enough. Not black enough? I don’t even know what that means. And that is the difference between Hollywood and Broadway. Broadway just doesn’t seem to notice the labels. Good acting transcends the color, the sexuality, or the ethnicity of the actor. Just look at the cast of Hamilton.
But today it's not enough just to have a personal opinion. People feel compelled to share their opinions with anyone and everyone on the internet. Oy. Some people enjoy going on social media and calling the labels names. “Those Republicans are a bunch of assholes”. Some people just outright discriminate against some labels. “I will not bake a cake for a gay person”. Some labels give the person immunity from equal punishment of crimes. And some people massacre other people of a certain label, be they Christians or gays or westerners or whatever label they hate today. I knew someone who argued that we need labels for survival. I would argue that labels are threatening our very survival.
What bothers me most is that these reactions are rarely against an individual, they are mostly against only the label. Not a person, but an adjective. And not really the label itself but their OPINION about the label. So much violence because of an opinion about a label. I can only shake my head.
“Maybe there’s a lesson from all this, a lesson in tolerance. We need to support each other’s differences and worry less about our own opinions.” Jimmy Fallon
I couldn’t agree more. I don’t want to live in a world of labels. I want to live in a world of individuals. Just like in my own home. In my own family. In my own community. All of us. Together.