I Judge Based On Your Appearance

jason_alba_beardYesterday I shaved.  It wasn’t a normal shave, it was an EPIC shave.

You see, for the first time in my life, I grew a beard.  It was a five or six month beard.  I’ve never gone longer than two weeks before.

But this time I did it for a youth educational simulation where I played a role, back in early June.  And then, what the heck, I might as well save it for the youth simulation in early September, right?

I’m not really a beard guy. I won’t lie and say I “enjoyed it,” but it was for a good cause, and I could handle it for a few months.

Yesterday morning, less than 12 hours after we got home from our Saturday event where I played “wicked King Jason” with about 230 boys and over 200 adult volunteers, in a two-day training program, I shaved the whole thing.  I shaved in stages, first with lamb chops and various styles of goatees, all the way down to a tiny ridiculous-looking mustache.  My wife, a cosmetologist, helped me, and took pictures until she couldn’t hold the camera anymore (she was laughing/crying too hard to take a good picture by the end), made a very interesting comment:

“Stereotypes are really powerful!”

She said this around the time I had lamb chops and mustache that kind of dripped down my chin (imagine a goatee without the middle part).  This has never been my style.  My wife’s unspoken message was that I looked [ridiculous, scary, stupid, uneducated]… you fill in the blank here.

She knows me, and my heart.  But that facial hair stuff gets in the way T the stereotypes that comes along with that style gets in the way of 20+ years of knowing one another.

There are things we choose to do that stereotype us – from our dress to our language to how we move our body.  We don’t think it’s fair that people look at our ‘stache, and judge us for living how we want to live.  Why don’t they just judge us by our hearts, intentions, and who we really are?

Are people really that shallow?

Yes.  They are.  We are.  We all are.

We have all judged people by an outward appearance.  It might be something that person chose, like their color coordination, or something they didn’t choose, like their skin color or accent.

But we judge.  It isn’t right.

I wonder if it’s our fault for how we choose to express ourselves, or is it our fault for how we care so much about how others are, really, not like us?

Either way, discrimination is bad, wrong and ugly.

So where do we go from here?