Among other early fascinations with language, the inquisitive child discovers euphemism, or how language is used to hide meaning rather than elucidate it. Much of this resembles grim comedy when adults use euphemism to describe poverty, age, insanity, or retardation.
This brings us to a primal euphemism which is the illusion that people are not who they are, but merely their situations. They are not useless people who cannot earn money, but having temporary difficulties. They are not debilitatingly stupid, just struggling through some issues. And so on.
From the root of the same psychology, people also like to compress the world to one dimension comprised of non-overlapping categories laid out on a spectrum from disadvantaged victims through privileged authorities. Every identity gets a space on that line.
When you hear people shout (or type in all caps) things like “I am a lesbian! I am a pothead! I am Black! I am a liberal!” they are asserting their place in line. They are telling you how much they think the world owes them.
Once people have been around the world long enough to realize that most of what humans say is self-deceiving and designed to deceive others, and most of what they do is self-serving or at least designed to dodge accountability, these categories no longer suffice.
We think in terms of threads. You may be a lesbian, but are you a useful lesbian? Is your partner abusing you because she is a lesbian, or just because she is a broken person? Have you found a way to adapt to life as a lesbian?
Most people use language to conceal. For example, people want to shout their category of “lesbian” at you so that you do not look more deeply into them, for example how useful they are, how well-adjusted and happy they are, or how wealthy they are.
They want you to see the category, put it in place on the victim-authority line, and therefore give them things if you have more than they (categorically) do. They do not want you tracing the threads of how they got to where they are in life or what they have to do to fix it.
Or you may be a pothead, but are you a functional one, or are you one of those people who lives on a sofa watching television with the sound off while wolfing down pizza and complaining about the injustice of life? Some people are useful, stoned or not.
Race provides a complex problem because of course diversity does not function at all, so everyone feels a victim of something. If you are Black, you shake down White people for free money; if you are White or Hwite, you join the Klan or something.
Liberals vary in quality and coherence. If we trace threads, some people are passing through liberalism on the way toward learning about life, and they may retain only some of their liberalism. Others are using it as a crutch, an identity, or a way to make disposable friendships.
All categories exist to conceal that primal euphemism, which is there to hide genetics. Some people are blessed with intelligence, health, beauty, and moral character; others are not, and some others are in the middle, without the really good but not into the really bad either.
When one gains experience, which requires analyzing events to find their principles, categories seem to subtract from an accurate picture of reality, not add to it. We see how it is more important to trace the threads of lives and see how people got where they are.
In most cases, what they tell us is a story of victimization is in fact a series of bad decisions, and they want us to assume from their presence in one category that this explains all of their problems: I am poor because I am a Black Lesbian who is discriminated against.
Even further this avoids accepting relativity, which tells us that knowledge and intelligence are esoteric, which means that some know more than others. No one is equal. Equality is in fact a euphemism designed to hide competence differences.
When we remove equality, there is no longer any need for one-dimensional categories. People simply are what they are, and we can treat them on a case-by-case basis as they deserve to be treated. Humanity escaping its own mental tendencies can be a powerful thing.