Once upon a time in April 2005 Adobe launched a worderful program called Bridge, one of the best features was that it allowed you to label files- my favourite color was red..... It really was the best and fastest wat to edit files (back then "edit" meant choosing the good ones and post production was the other stuff you did to a file) You could plug in an external hard drive, work from the desktop and it all worked the same..
Fast forward to 2020 and Adobe have decided that we no longer want to use that wonderful feature for labelling files when you are working from an external drive. There are several tutorials that they tell you to do to fix the problem they caused but these work until you try to re set your workspace back to how it used to be (ie having files open in Camera RAW from Bridge (instead of Photoshop)
Initially I thought (naturally) that it was me or my computer that was at fault
I know there are thousands of people that use Bridge for the same porpose as I and would really like Bridge to work as it should. Many of use who are photographers cannot go back to an earlier version as it will not enable you to view thumbnails from RAW files.
Please get this problem sorted Adobe.. it would appear you have had ample time..
Sometimes when something works it is best to leave it alone...
Sarcasm aside, things may have changed since 2005 both with your computer and with Bridge.
Question #1, what is your operating system. If it's Catalina, let me know. Bridge needs one or more Permission access issues before it can do much of anything on images on an extenal drive. That one's on Apple.
Question #2, If #1 is not the issue, have you checked your Bridge's Preferences. Personally I like to just tap a number and not have to hold the Command/Control key down to get a rating or a label. YMMV. This is one of the changes to Bridge (and it is a feature, not a bug.)
Aware things have moved on since 2005 but the most basic function and I would suggest the most commonly used of Bridge is to use the labels. The reason I mentioned 2005 is because that's how long I have ben using it on a daily basis. I am aware of the feature where you can switch off the requirement for the command key (that was introduced some years ago) I have now got the labels to work again on raw files only but a folder of RAW, Jpeg and Tif files that I have and am now using for a website upgrade will only allow me to label the RAW file and not Jpegs or Tif's. Regardless of being on an external drive or desktop. I have only discovered this issue as my work is always shot as RAW files