After a society and a group who are in charge of o

rganizations, decides onwhat normal behavior should be, and individual or group acts differently,
they will be labeled deviant. Author Diana Kendall writes that “the
labeling theory suggests that deviants are those people who have been
successfully labeled as such by others.”Not all actions are considered
deviant until society and different cultures believe that certain actions
are deviant. Also what action, wasn’t labeled deviant in the past may be
labeled deviant in the future. After a society becomes more knowledgeable,
that is when deviant actions change and so does the label. Some of the
same actions that are acceptable in one society may be totally different in
another part of the country and world.Kendall writes: “This process of
labeling is directly related to the power and status of those persons who
do the labeling and those who are being labeled.”
Although most of the labeling is given by people who make the laws,
parents and teachers also give labels to their children and students when
they think they aren’t behaving or acting in the correct manner. If a
child is told to clean up after themselves a parent may tell them they are
sloppy or pigs. A teacher may think a student isn’t paying attention or
catches a student cheating on a test, that teacher may label that student
as stupid, lazy or a cheater.Telling someone they are “stupid, or a
class clown, menace, and fat, are a few more negative examples of labeling
that occur at home and school.The problem with labeling is when society
gives an individual a label most individuals are likely to keep the label
and have a hard time removing it. Another problem that happens when giving
certain individuals and cultures a label is that label becomes a
stereotype.If an individuals deviant action; such as a teenager stealing
a car, can make people think that all teenagers steal cars.According to
Howard Becker “The deviant is one to whom that label has been successfully
applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.”
When a person is labeled that person assumes the role that the label
implies. A child who grows up knowing that they are learning disabled, and
are labeled with ADHD and schizophrenia for example, they will most likely
manipulate the parent and teacher. They think that they should be excused
for their deviant behavior. They think because of their label they can not
control their actions and therefore don’t understand when they are given
consequences for their inappropriate behavior. People begin to accept their
stigma or deviant label that allows them to help contribute to the type of
activities it was meant to have power over.

Labeling individuals is not always earned. Quite a lot of people are
given false labels by rumor, or being accused of a crime falsely. The
theory of innocent until proven guilty may be upheld, but after they are
proven innocent the label will be hard to remove. Another criticism is
when an individual is given a label it also makes them feel like they are
outsiders. This alienates them from society making it difficult for them
to fit in. This lowers self-esteem and causes them to continue the deviant
behavior, adding more crime to society.

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Deviance promotes social change. When a group unites together and
they try to change a law or what society considers a norm, such as
homosexual members want to get married and have the same legal rights as
heterosexual members.They will use acts of civil disobedience in order
to get a law changed.

There are many classifications of crime. One is a felony; this is a
serious crime such as rape and murder. Another is called a misdemeanor
this is a minor crime, such as larceny theft. Depending on society’s social
standing, on their income and education helps determine the depth of
punishment they receive for their deviant crimes they commit. An example
of labeling theory to real world crime: There are two sport teams from
different schools. Team A and B. Both teams did deviant acts such as
drinking, partying late and vandalism. Team A did more deviant acts then
team B, but since team B was labeled as troublemakers by the school and the
police, team B members were made accountable and team A did not have any
consequences at all. Team A came from the wealthier part of the city from
team B.

In order to help reduce crime in America, our legislators have tried
to make the law tough. We have the three strike and you’re out rule. We
have video surveillance cameras everywhere making it easier for deviant
people get caught. Our schools now have more security. The airports are
trying their best to prevent terrorist acts by seaching everyone even
having people takeoff their shoes. With each horrific deviant act that is
made on society, allows us to become more aware of what people who act
deviant, and what they are capable of doing. Helping the legislators
decide on what is needed to be done to prevent deviant acts happening
again. America needs to spend time and money helping educate society and
reduce the labeling that causes pain and hatred. Allowing the constitution
and the court system do its job, should send a message to all of society
and help reduce crime in America.