We’re all adults here. We all know that any prejudice such as racism, homophobia & fat shaming as simply intolerable.
But recently I’ve heard some prejudices popping up in conversations around me that seem to be totally acceptable.
I don’t know if it’s just because I tick the boxes of many a negative prejudice myself as a fat, northern, depressed, self love advocate of a wrestling wag but pre-judging any “type” of person unnecessarily with no evidence to back up your bias is wrong to me, regardless of the reason behind said bias. And I’d like to think most of you lovely lot stand by me with that notion too.
So why, in a world with an ever opening mind, is it socially acceptable to hold certain prejudices?
The five absolute stinkers that I see occurring in my walk of life are:
“No Job Seekers”
When landlords rent out properties, we often see stipulations of who they will/not accept as tenants.
The “no pets” one irks me as a proud puggle mum but I get it; pets generally mean damage or mess or, at the very least, pet hair.
The one I don’t get, however, is the “no job seekers” rule.
Just because somebody is in receipt of benefits doesn’t make them untrustworthy or unreliable nor does it make them incapable of keeping on top of bills & other such responsibilities.
Being on JSA, PIP, tax credits etc doesn’t mean it’s because we can’t or even won’t work for a living – we could be out of employment for a whole host of reasons including disability & caring responsibilities & we wouldn’t dream of purposely discriminating against someone in that position, so why is it so widely acceptable to hold the prejudice against us simply for the way our income is paid?
(…Also, if we’re being really pedantic, surely being on JSA & the likes should make an individual more reliable than us in employment because we’re all always one step away from redundancy or the sack, whereas the government would be in deep shit if they suddenly stopped paying the rent of claimants for no reason!)
“No Unspent Criminal Convictions”
Working in insurance I have to ask every new customer if they have any unspent criminal convictions & it always makes me feel I’m opening a can of worms because we all know that a conviction does not necessarily a criminal make.
Of course, the severity of a conviction is all relative but why are we tarring everyone with the same brush?
There’s a big difference between someone with a suspended prison sentence for burglary of a domestic family home & someone with a week’s worth of community service for being drunk & disorderly on a hen night.
“Absence Leads To Disciplinary Action”
This is another one that I have a direct link with through my day job & another unfair prejudice that unfortunately seems to be accepted.
In my place of work, if you have three absences for whatever reason you are given “informal guidance” of how to manage your absence (in essence, a bit of a friendly heads up from your own line manager) & any further absence following that can lead to disciplinary action.
Obviously “disciplinary action” doesn’t mean instant dismissal but it’s not fair to treat the absence of those with medical conditions that had been notified to the company at the first opportunity the same as those who call in sick every time their football team is playing at home.
It would make so much more sense if such a procedure – which needs to be in place for business practice, I get that – was assessed circumstantially rather than just giving a bias blanket rule to treat every repeat absence with an unfair threat of punishment regardless of the reason.
“Tattoos Must Be Covered”
So many big employers are still living in the past & insisting that all employees cover any visible tattoos.
At one time I could sort of understand this one if someone was in a customer-facing role & was heavily tattooed, it could’ve potentially had a negative impact on the business due to ye olde stigma of tattooed people being thugs etc. But in modern times so many of us have tattoos that this stigma should well & truly have ended.
The middle aged lady in the office with a small butterfly on her shoulder who can cover up with a regular fashion top isn’t judged by her employer in the slightest, so why is it ok that judgment should be made on the burly bloke in the same office with a sleeve tattoo who has to make himself uncomfortable on hot days by constantly wearing long sleeves when both are still equally capable of doing their job?
Customers are far less bothered by tattoos these days as we all see them in so many places on so many bodies, so holding this prejudice disguised a “business practice” is wrong.
Tattoos are works of art & often are of sentimental value with a story or memory behind them & people of all walks of life have them to varying degrees. If you can’t learn to love them, at least learn to accept them. Please!
This is something that we’ve recently discussed on The 88 & Friends with a great response so I know I’m not the only Pedantic Polly who feels this.
“Speaking As A Mother”
Unlike the others that are unfair & unacceptable but to a certain degree logical, I have literally no way of seeing this one from a different point of view & the implications seriously make my blood boil when somebody starts a piece of advice “speaking as a mother…”.
Forgive me if I’m being oversensitive but, to me, this suggests that a mother is more inept with dealing with love, responsibility, stress, struggle than a woman without children. Which is simply untrue!
Yes, a parent does deal with all of the above to an amazing level & I wouldn’t dream of trying to take that away from anyone, but a child-free individual is still just as capable of feeling & dealing with those things.
A mother’s love is unconditional, but so is that of a friend, relative or pet owner.
A mother has a lifelong responsibility, but so does anybody with a family, a job or a home.
A mother faces stress & struggle, but so does anybody with responsibility or love.
It blows my tiny mind that all of these things are still held as a prejudice in 2019 & more so that nobody bats a false eyelash when they hear them being banded around.
There’d be social media riots if, for example, a sexist prejudice was being discussed so freely – and rightly so too! – so why don’t we speak up against these?
I’m not implying we should all become confrontational vigilantes throwing our weight around & policing situations that are none of our business but the more we oppose them, the less acceptable they will become.
And that can only be a good thing, right? Right!
Dani | Mrs Crater x
All artwork that illustrates this post are by the amazing Becky Cox of Beat Your Art Out.