Forego Labels. Focus On The Individual.

December 26th, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized

Nate Silver, predictor of the 2012 presidential election is gay. I’m not outing him. I’m mentioning it. Mostly I am mentioning it because I want to tell you that it doesn’t matter that he is gay. It doesn’t matter any more than his being Jewish or his being a geek. If you don’t believe me, read it from him in a recent article posted at Out.com in which he discusses why identifying people by groups even for the sake of honoring them is not necessarily an admirable thing to do.

[Nate Silver] supports marriage equality, but worries that growing acceptance of gays will dent our capacity to question broader injustice.

“For me, I think the most important distinguishing characteristic is that I’m independent-minded,” he says. “I’m sure that being gay encouraged the independent-mindedness, but that same independent-mindedness makes me a little bit skeptical of parts of gay culture, I suppose.”

He recalls a series of flagpoles in Boystown in Chicago memorializing various gay Americans. “There was one little plaque for Keith Haring, and it was, like, ‘Keith Haring, gay American artist, 1962 to 1981,’ or whatever [actually 1958 to 1990], and I was like, Why isn’t he just an American artist? I don’t want to be Nate Silver, gay statistician, any more than I want to be known as a white, half-Jewish statistician who lives in New York.”

Silver is saying that the problem with categorization is it takes away individual identity. It takes individual achievement and stretches it across a population of people who had no responsibility for that achievement and no right to ownership of that achievement.

Keith Haring was an artist.

Nate Silver is a statistician.

They alone deserve credit for their accomplishments.

Silver is also saying that if we become self-satisfied with our efforts and successes towards acknowledging the basic rights of those who are LGBTQ, then we will become too self-satisfied and complacent to notice the injustices that have escaped mainstream attention within this and other communities.

In sum, whether you use categorizations to stereotype or to be admirable, choose instead to forego the labels. Focus on the individual, their needs, their concerns, and their achievements.

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