Has your long-awaited promotion or pay-hike gone to a colleague who is less-qualified? Maybe you could check if that person is taller, trimmer or good-looking.
This study in March 2013, found that that tall or good-looking persons, persons who worked out or were slim, women who wore make-up (among other criteria) stood to earn more money. Apparently blondes earn more and very pretty women earn less.Image credit-freedigitalimages.net-Stuart mliier
But are these prejudices limited to pecuniary or monetary considerations?
I recently came across an article by Annabel, on the site for Indian women, Talking Cranes, which speaks about the assumption, that since she is single, she is also unhappy and lonely. Perhaps common, the injustice perpetuated emotionally and mentally when one is being judgemental about somebody is no less unfair.
“She speaks English with a vernacular accent, so she is incapable/ stupid.”
A vernacular accent merely means that the person did not attend a school whose primary medium was English. I have seen people who are professionally capable, but unable to speak English with the requisite flair being given the cold shoulder for jobs and other opportunities.
“He belongs to a particular community/race, so he is an anti-social element.”
Anti-social elements are statistically present in all groups and strata of society, so this is an ill-informed comment.
“That girl is good-looking, so she must be dumb.”
THE LIST GOES ON.
How often have we judged someone’s trustworthiness and capability based on flimsy criteria?
Doctors face this as well. I have found that wearing a conservative Indian dress and sporting gray hair and spectacles mean that patients listen to you seriously. Receptionists with flawless English and preferably speaking with an accent do better at dealing with clients. Would we trust the scruffy engineer or clean-shaven computer geek, who defy stereotype?
Time and again, I come across people who make patronizing assumptions, which surely point to their own asinine mental capability. Short dress means slut, excessive hand gestures equals gay, single signals available, or whatever.
This irritating human habit is perhaps an extrapolation of the speed-of-light manner of living our own lives. The fast car, speedy escalator, quick internet connection, 30-minute oven-to-mouth home-delivery, fast-cash ATMs, quick–heat foods, T-20 cricket, and a million things that need to be done faster than a snap of one’s fingers. Ergo, the addiction to quick-fix answers, fast solutions, short interactions and rapid decisions.
HEY! GIVE ME A CHANCE
Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your judgement when your imagination is out of focus.”
Judgemental people have no imagination.
They meet someone and slot them into a category, ticking boxes in a mental checklist. Compelled to fill out the list, they categorize the person and move on. One cursory look and we begin -rich or poor, gay or straight, happy or sad, good or bad, smart or dumb. Somewhere along the line, we hyphenate our criteria for EVEN speedier slotting. Fair-and-lovely or dusky-and- ugly, happy- and- married or unhappy- and- single, dumb-and- blonde or smart- and (!) brunette and so on. So busy are we in this immature categorization that we do not take the time to truly know the person.
In a humorous twist, a girl of my acquaintance denied consent to an arranged match because she objected to the way the proposed “boy” sipped his tea in a saucer, a ‘down-market’ habit.
By not taking time to know the persons around us, we are doing an injustice to our own self. This extends to other spheres of life, as well. Rarely is time taken out to savour an experience, relish a taste or aroma, enjoy a melody, read a poem over and over again to discover a previously missed nuance, enjoy a sunset or admire a pretty flower.
But, by making judgements about people, we are doing greater harm. As a parent, our attitude could create another human-being with the same attitude. As a boss/ professional/colleague, we may deny some worthy person the chance of a lifetime because of our preconceived notions. Policemen have arrested persons because they are the most “likely” (based on colour, community, social strata) persons for the crime.
Image consultants are thriving because of our modern quick-fix needs. Our response to a certain appearance, manner, spoken phrases are so well studied, that we can be bamboozled into liking, choosing, voting for certain persons based on these criteria.