The story of Christopher Jefferies is a sad and sorry tale. It is a tale of how low the press will sink, it is a tale of how easily we succumb to press propaganda, it is also a tale of how easily we make judgements about people.
Are these 2 people any different? Of course they’re not, and yet Mr Jefferies found it necessary to change his appearance after he was released. Would he have been judged differently if he had changed his appearance earlier?
Also on Linked-in there was lots of debate about Lizzie Velasquez, a motivational speaker and author. HR circles were debating whether her appearance would affect whether she would be hired. (It appears the Linked-in story has now been withdrawn after she publicly commented about the debate and especially the inappropriate title for the story)
I also saw a news item from the town where I was raised featuring Neil Collins, a tattooed bus driver, and how people cross the road to avoid him because of his facial tattoos.
I wonder how many bad calls I have made, all because I have decided to judge somebody on their appearance. I would love to say that I don’t do it, but I am guilty as charged. I am sure it has happened to me at sometime – although there are some good examples in my own life where people looked beyond the scruffy kid from the council estate. We live in an age where what you look like does appear to make a difference, whether it’s the clothes you wear or even the labels on the clothes you wear.
I am not saying that we should ignore our instinct, which is there for a good reason. I am saying that maybe we need to retrain ourselves to think twice or even 3 times before we make that judgement which could affect someone’s life more than we could ever imagine .