Leave judgment at the door
April 25, 2011 —
Donít judge a book by its colorÖer, cover.
Raise your hand if you have an ďunnaturalĒ color in your hair. How about piercings on your face? Visible tattoos? If you have any or all of these you may be able to relate to how I feel about fair social treatment.
I am an art major and I have never had a problem expressing myself. I decided to dye bright colors in my hair about four years ago. Off and on over time, I have had red, pink, purple, teal, blue, and burgundy in my hair. Now, if you know me you know that I am not a rude person, but it is incredible how often I am treated as such. It blows my mind how often I am blatantly followed through stores because of my appearance.
I know I donít have anything to prove because I am a very nice person (the Vanguard staff may disagree with me at times) and always do my best to be courteous and kind especially to the older generation. I think people are legitimately shocked when an ďalternative-lookingĒ person holds a door for you or helps put your groceries in your car. Not everyone with color in their hair or lip rings is an angst-y youth trying to rebel.
I recently had my most shocking encounter yet. I am looking to move into a new apartment in the Tri-Cities area and have been doing some homehunting. I spoke with a woman on the phone about looking at a property she was renting.
She was very kind, talkative on the phone, and very interested in meeting me to look at the apartment so we set up a time to meet. As soon as I got out of my car to go see the apartment, her body language changed drastically. She would barely answer my questions and was nervous to even let me apply. I can only assume her hesitation was due to my appearance because any financial requests she made had been resolved. Needless to say things didnít go too well after that point and I will not be living in that apartment.
Case in point, weíve all heard it before: donít judge a book by its cover, or in this case, color.
If youíre nodding along with me and have been in some of the same situations, I challenge you to change the sad stereotypes made about people with ďalternativeĒ appearances. A lot of times people donít get to know us because of how we look and thatís a travesty.
Now, Iím not trying to throw a pity party or try to parallel myself and situation to much larger issues like racism, sexism, and discrimination against sexual preference, but maybe this small opinion will impact one person who made a judgment about another person before they got to know them.
Thatís all I can hope for.