Labels are hurtful badges
Almanac North on Friday featured Duluth's new mayor-elect and other officials. They spoke of the many changes they thought were important, and one mentioned how the increasing gap between "those who have and those that don't." This is something t...
Almanac North on Friday featured Duluth's new mayor-elect and other officials. They spoke of the many changes they thought were important, and one mentioned how the increasing gap between "those who have and those that don't." This is something that needs to be addressed and changed, because Duluth welcomes all.
Next came a mini-segment about a new magazine to be launched by former Duluth News Tribune publisher Marti Buscaglia. She was suppose to take a job at another newspaper but lost that offer when claims on her resume were determined to be inaccurate. She is currently promoting a magazine called "Duluth Superior" and, as the announcer stated, it is "for the upscale audience."
When someone states "upscale" or "well-heeled," to me this represents a very negative thinking about people being placed in groups bearing their monetary state of affairs and their bank balance. This divides those who have and those who don't; it's a very demeaning way to create a bridge, not repair one. There are other magazines that somehow cater to the "well to do" because the ingredients in their recipes cost a fortune and the advertising is by stores and companies out of reach for many. But picking up the magazine for whatever reason is left to the person. If they want to just "dream" a bit, or plan a bit for when their circumstances change -- that is their right.
However, if you label something as being directed toward those someone considers "upscale," then you lose an audience that is not stationary, and day-to-day living fluctuates and changes, as do the seasons. For instance, you leave out young persons who have a family, and those who are in the workforce and manage their finances the best they can, as well as those who are having a bit of challenge in their lives. They don't need to be referred to as outside of the "upscale" audience group.
Labels are hurtful badges that others make you wear, many times without actually knowing the circumstances that you live on a daily basis. So to be labeling anyone out of the market because of basically monetary means is a sad way to begin a new publication.
In my estimation, everyone in this area is "upscale" with regard to different interests, lifestyles and habits. Some enjoy rustic, while others are definitely penthouse types. You have your SUVs and your tried and true vehicles out there on the road, and you have designer clothes and hand-made treasures -- both worn with pride.
Life will never be fair all around -- that's just life. However, when labels enter the picture, then the so-called reality of a situation creates a division that many times is not intended, but generated by attitudes and goals.
When I pick up a magazine, it is because I choose to do so, not because it is geared toward a certain part of the population. If I get tired of my usual magazines, then even Car Mechanics might strike my fancy, and I definitely am not an "upscale" mechanic by any means. I still wear cologne that smells like the $3-plus gasoline I just pumped and inevitably spill over my shoes. But I wear it proudly because, after all, it is a very high priced commodity.
Something to think about,
Arleen M. Kaptur is a Solon Springs-based freelance writer.