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What do you think of identifying people by a single word?
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In general, I do not think that identifying a person by a single word (other than their name, of course) is the best way to go about things. There may be some cases in which it is appropriate, but there are not many.
There are some cases where it is easiest to identify a person with one word. If someone asked me how they would be able to identify me at a reunion of my wife’s extended family, I would say “I’m the brown one.” That would be the quickest way to differentiate me from everyone else.
However, outside of cases like that, this is not a good way to identify people. When we identify people in that way, we deny their individualism. We are implicitly saying that all people of that group are all the same. So, if we say “what kind of person is X” and we get the reply “he’s Asian” we are saying that there is something about all Asians that is distinctive and which can be used to define a person completely. This is not the sort of thinking that is acceptable in most circumstances.
Posted by pohnpei397 on April 27, 2013 at 5:52 AM (Answer #1)
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