When I ride the bus, I get on it early, when the bus has lots of open seats. I usually choose a spot next to a window. The bus can fill up to the point of people standing in the aisle and yet the spot next to me is still left open. No, I am not one of those jerks that puts their bag on the seat, or sits in the middle. I would usually be sitting quietly with my ear buds in my ears listening to classical music while reading a book. I am, however, a man with a beard and long dark hair.
One person who did sit next to me one day, and decided to strike up a conversation with me, actually told me that I am a lot friendlier than I look. When I shared this story with a friend he told me “that you do look kinda scary and have a “dark” image, sometimes”. Another friend said “it’s so ironic that the guy who looks like a drug dealer has never done drugs and wouldn’t no where to get them”.
My personal appearance, gets me a seat on the bus to myself and people making room for me in a crowd. A perk, right?
I have also noticed that people are shocked to learn that I am a leader in things that I choose to involve myself in, that I have a strong preference for rules, law and order (of the real kind) and that I believe in hard work, balanced decision making and a world without chaos, loud music and parties. Shocked, because my appearance doesn’t line up with concepts of civil order or leadership?
I hate the negative stuff that comes with my choices for appearance but I do get it.
I struggle to trust the white, short haired, clean shaven male driving a sedan. I don’t trust him because I suspect that he is likely out to use me, my money, my information or my connections to get him into a higher income bracket with a nicer house and a newer car. Yes, I am guilty of it too. I do profile peope on appearance too and it really bothers me. It makes me sick how I look at someone driving a luxury car through the parking lot and assume that the reason that they are cutting across the lot to cut in line at the front, instead of going to the back of the line like the rest of us, is because they think that their time is more important than mine. It also frustrates me how I assume things about the wealthy because of how they dress.
If I shaved, cut my hair and dressed up in a suit I would change what some people expected of me, what some people thought of me. I have an issue however with the real fact that today in 2014 that we continue to have many people groups who still don’t have that “luxury”. The luxury I speak of is the ability to use a false appearance to portray something else, a suit, jewellery, car etc.
Far too many people are profiled by their appearance starting with the fundamental foundation of their appearance, the colour of their skin and the look of their body. It makes me so angry that with all the trouble we humans have that we continue to make skin colour a factor at all.
You see, I understand when someone is profiled because of their behaviour. After all, our systems within our society are based on a set of rules that is supported by a series of tests leading up to the determination if we are breaking said rules. If you have someone tasked with enforcing those rules, you want them to have tests to find the rule breakers when they would be hiding their actions from your enforcement. Here is the distinct issue I have, our appearnce has nothing to do with behaviour!
Driving a Ferrari does not make me speeder deserving of a ticket does it? No, the test of the radar gun has not been failed and therefore I have not broken the rule. If I drive a Ferrari within the speed limit then I am passing the testing and working within the rules. Appearance has nothing to do with it.
Why are the people charged with keeping peace not being educated on the differences between appearance profiling and behaviour profiling?
Why are the people charged with keeping peace not being educated on good decision making based on a set of tests that assist them in assessing behaviour that might establish that a rule is being broken?
Why on earth would someone who is not capable of making good decisions be put in a position of authority?
Finally, I will close this rant of mine with a video clip that addresses part of my feelings on the topic of skin colour, ethnic background, etc. etc.
How we look does not matter, it is how we behave that matters.
We have no aliens coming from outer space (sometimes I wish we did to unite us) but we must unite all peoples for the good of our species.
We must resolve to fix our societies, systems, laws, rules and tests to be good for the common good of all peoples.
So say we all!