What defines you?

I took a class on Social Geography last semester and that particular module sort of changed the way i view the world… or more specifically how i view the interactions/perhaps intention between people (and of course their environment).

anyways this is a morning post so i would have read whatever online news i can get my hands on, and i was just reading a report about the New Mexico teenager who had massacred his family. the question of “how should we be defined” (our identity) popped into my mind after reading it.

this particular person is labeled a teenager (cos of his age profile), granted this is almost the silent marker for any basic person-category.. then next comes the report with such a sentence: “He was a brother, nephew, grandson and cousin” 

the above line was apparently said by his uncle. it then occurred to me that he just defined his nephew in terms of his family role, and i remember past trends of reading news reports with similar style of definition mostly whenever someone makes a mistake or when someone passed away. but an identity is multi-faceted and influenced by different factors, i even found a picture for this belief of mine!

for these definitions, it struck to me as an attempt to make the person mentioned feel ‘close’ to you; sort of trying to relate you with the subject. anyways this massacre report basically mentioned how shocking it was for the family that something like this happened, and i guess the intention was to really dispel notion that the boy was a ‘monster’ as labeled by the press; like showing because he is part of a family and usually family members don’t do that to each other.

maybe it’s just me, but i feel that it is meaningless to define a person merely by the roles he/she plays (quite an obvious point) it’s as if other traits the person might have is not as important as fulfilling the role required of him? but i guess one thing is right about the article, the teenager mentioned has some issues and he should be given help and his fair trial..

the main point is not really about the boy, but more of how i’m really irk by reports that always attempt to sugarcoat something by defining a person with relatable roles. personally, if i did something wrong i would prefer people to just say that i have a problem; because i do not think that me being a “daughter, niece, granddaughter and friend” does not mean that i won’t commit a mistake. or rather your role is not mutually exclusive with your wrong actions (couldn’t find a better phrasing)..

if it matters i would rather be defined by traits of how i carried myself.. then again definitions are always biased.

PS: just for today I found Yahoo! news reporting from a nice and less Cliché perspective.

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