Today in class we did a free writing activity where Ashley wrote a question on the board to the effect of “when we label/categorize things, does it change our perception of them? why?” Immediately, I thought “Yes!”, but it took me a minute to think of why. I think it’s because we have certain definitions for categories and when we place something in that category then it suddenly takes on all those definitions.
An example I thought of was a potato. Yes. A potato. When I think of a potato, I categorize it as a vegetable full of vitamins that are good for me. I also categorize it as a starch, which is also good for me. Overall, a potato is good for me. Next I changed this potato to French fries. All of a sudden this wonderful, healthy potato has been changed into something horrible. Delicious, yes, but horrible because it is deep fried in grease which makes its fat content skyrocket and can destroy some sensitive vitamins. I realized though that French fries are still technically a vegetable (the most consumed vegetable in America, actually). Thinking about French fries as a vegetable makes me not hate them so much. I mean, I love them, but hate that they’re so unhealthy yet so prevalent.
A lot of people in class mentioned examples about people, but I could only think of weight related things (because we discussed childhood obesity in a different class yesterday). There have been studies done where all sorts of people will be lined up: fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, whatever and then other people have to guess what each of the people in the line’s profession is. The fat people are never guessed to be a lawyer or doctor or something successful!! We always perceive skinny and beautiful people as the successful doctor or lawyer or businessman. I think that studies like these are very interesting.
I wonder how people in McLeod Ganj will categorize me because I’m an American.