October 21, 2017

Perception: A Rant About Social Misconception – Part 1

George forgetting to avoid his own right hook.

Hey Ladies, Gents and unidentified, quasi-gendered others. Today I’d like to talk about perception, a topic which seems incredibly apparent to me in day to day life.

You see, we as people find it very easy to simply place people in a box based on what we see during a first encounter. Yet how often do we find ourselves surprised or taken aback by the reality of a person’s true manner or even the situation they’re in?

Take, for example, the fact that I am 18 going on 19 thus still classifiable as a teenager and a ‘youth’. Apart from the fact that I have a mane of very thick ginger hair, this inevitably leads to every second person aged about 35 and up shooting me filthy or terrified looks as if I’m about to threaten them with a hidden blade in the hope of relieving them of their possessions.

At the other end of the spectrum, I’m about to take a trip to India. Upon first informing my friends, colleagues and new acquaintances, they greet this with a range of emotion, but enquiries always lead to the inevitable, ‘So why are you going?’

I can only answer truthfully with, ‘Oh I’m going as a missionary with a team from Church…’ Cue: change in atmosphere, lights dim and action! Line: the great resounding, ‘Oh…’ This quite obviously comes from the distorted view that our presence in India is only for the purpose of local conversion when in actual fact, we just want to do what we can to help in a deprived area and learn about the culture.

Why am I so uptight about this whole topic? Well that would be because I’m British, it’s my job to whinge; I’m ginger, so I get fired up rather easily and I have enough common sense to give people a chance to show me their nature before I label them plastic, retard or serial killer.

I’m not saying that people who choose to look a certain way don’t fall into certain categories, it’s just that more often than not; they don’t actually fit into the ones we place them in.

At the end of the day, this whole false perception trait is an inevitable part of human nature and one that we find very hard to escape.

I often find myself categorizing and profiling my customers at work before they even reach the counter (though this isn’t hard as most of them are over 60 anyway).

I guess what I’m hoping for is that next time you catch yourself passing judgement over someone you’ve never even spoken to, give them just a little bit of a chance to prove that they ARE as dodgy as your Uncle Jeffery before you lump in them in with him…

To be continued in Part 2…