Politicized labels leave no room for reason

Updated: 2013-09-10 07:19

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Politicized labels leave no room for reasonDo we have a precise word or phrase to describe those who were born after the year 1990?

Is it possible to have a label that can cover the general characteristics of a generation?

I have been obsessed with both questions since a week-long trip I had with a group of university students in July. Most of them were born in 1990 and some even later. My knowledge about them by seeing what they have done, reading what they have written and talking with them has changed my preconceptions about this emerging generation.

Most of them are hardworking, thoughtful and considerate, very different from the impression I had of their generation from descriptions both online and in the print media. The post-90 generation is usually epitomized as being egoistical, oversensitive, rebellious, weak psychologically and pretentious.

Such preconceptions can blind us to the diversified character of a person or essence of a thing. It is dangerous to judge an individual person simply by believing what a general label may suggest about a group of people.

What has alerted me even more is the rising trend I can sense from some stories, which tend to label people with what they have said or written as belonging to liberalism or conservatism or a school with certain ideas.

Many people of my age may still remember that political labels such as landlords, capitalists, rightists, counter-revolutionaries or even historical counter-revolutionaries were stigmas, which put the people who bore these labels in an inferior social position. Political persecution and political bias reduced these people and even their family members to a miserable state in the years before 1978.

Of course, those days have long gone. But the residue of labeling people can still find expression in the way some people always tend to ascribe a kind of trait to a particular group of people. The labels those who were born after 1980 and after 1990 get are a case in point.

The most noteworthy instance is the label henanren, which turns out to be a stigma of dishonesty or shrewdness for people from Central China's Henan province. It is definitely unfair and unjustifiable to stick such an insulting label on people from a particular locality simply because of a number of fraudulent cases involving people from that place.

It is far too common for people to have preconceptions about a group of people just because of the labels on them, and there are indeed instances of people form Henan being denied the chance of doing business or landing a job because of people's preconceived ideas about them.

It is far too natural for good people and bad people to exist in every locality and so it is for able people and good-for-nothings to come from every generation and everywhere.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page