Maya Ford

There’s a particular brand of t-shirts that advertises itself as “tagless”. The company has done away with those annoyingly itchy size tags at the back of the neck and replaced them with a simple identifying stamp. You can put that t-shirt on and immediately tell the difference. No more discomfort, no more irritation. You no longer have to think about that hanging label worrying you because the very act of eliminating the tag made you much more comfortable.

The point of all of this illustrates just what my generation does better than anyone else. It is a very simple thing, and yet, it has the power to transform the world. My generation lives without labels better than any other generation before us. Just like those t-shirts that have had the labels removed for comfort, my generation has done away with the need to look at people based on particular characteristics and attributes so that all may be comfortable being who they are. My generation does not categorize according to color, religion, socioeconomic status, or gender because that’s obsolete to our way of thinking. We look at people for what they bring to our lives, and we accept them as they are. In doing so, they can feel free to be their authentic selves with us. We instinctively believe what is on the inside supersedes what is on the outside. 

My generation understands the value of not being forced to live weighted down by words designed to be hurtful and demeaning. That’s a heavy burden to bear, being relegated to a less than equal status due to negative stereotypes and opinions. Narrow-minded people whose life’s mission is assigning roles to others are only shortchanging themselves. They miss out on the unique range of experiences people who are different from us bring to our lives. Steve Maraboli, a noted motivational speaker, author, and behavior scientist sums it up this way: “Your labels don’t limit me…they limit your experience of me. Don’t confuse the two.”

Because my generation lives label-free, we are better equipped to look beyond the obvious and connect with the heart and soul of others. Superficial differences mean nothing to us. Our label-free outlook on life leads us to want to build better bridges to understanding differences, rather than building better barriers to understanding differences. Our label-free outlook on life instills in us the belief that we are all running the same race—the human race—and that societal progress is only possible when everyone is made to feel included, valued, and essential to the process.

Just imagine how much better the world would be if we did more collaborating and less categorizing? More acceptance and less denial? The possibilities are indeed endless. It is my hope that as society pays attention to the benefits of living label-free, the need to label people will go away completely.