In the aftermath of the San Bernadino shooting last week, it seems like everyone has something to say. Donald Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what's going on." Politicians on both sides of the aisle have responded. News outlets have covered the story from every angle, from the extremely mundane to the heartwarming.
But in all of these stories, in all of this coverage, aren't we perpetuating a problem that permeates all levels of society - the problem of defining people by a single characteristic? Many of these stories lump human beings into categories: "Muslim," "Christian," "Nazis," "Jews," etc. Isn't that part of the problem?
For example, I am Jewish. I'm a social liberal who tends towards fiscal conservatism in certain aspects. I'm a registered Democrat. I'm also a woman. I'm an advertising professional. I'm a football fan, a hockey-lover, a book nerd. I'm a writer. I'm an ENFP. Which of these characteristics is my defining characteristic? If I had to boil myself down to a single word, which would I choose? The answer is none of them. Not one of those descriptions defines me completely. So how can we define an entire group of people, members of the world's second largest religion, by that one adjective?