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Rachel Murphy
March 18, 2018

People & Prejudice

pride and predudice

As the mid-life crisis rages on; I have coloured my hair (very bright blue and now cerise) and had a tattoo done in the last four weeks. I have never in almost 40 years done either of these things before ✌️.

This got me thinking about prejudice; the wider prejudice around how people look, the colour of their skin, do they have tattoo’s, head shaved, women, gay, trans, heavy accent……the list goes on!

Then, I asked myself whether I have ever judged or made assumptions about the way people have looked? I’ve had it hundreds of times myself as I am a scruffy sod a lot of the time, both inside and outside of work!

I remember, after a recent move to Chiswick (think lowering house prices), I went into a curtain shop on the High Road (now closed down may I add) and I was looked up and down when I asked about some velvet curtains (granted this may have been my fashion sense too). The woman looked shell-shocked I was standing in her shop, her response, brilliantly amusing ‘I don’t think we have anything in here for you’. My hungover brain was willing a witty retort, as it was I was hanging and decided she was probably right! And again in a Prada store in Mumbai (late last year), I was followed around by security from the second I walked into the shop. Maybe I just look dodge, who knows!!

If I am totally honest, I have in my working career seen people who looked a certain way and I would have judged (I am not proud of this but I am honest), whether this was a tattoo, haircut, dodgy suit etc (this thought brought back happy memories of an engineer going to a client site in a DJ when I told him to wear his best gear, wasn’t quite what I meant!). It has been instinctive in me. For a number of years now I have consciously tried to be aware of this, understand where this ignorance comes from (fear of the unknown) and treat people for themselves, this is very important to me. I have worked for years now on the proviso that providing the work is being done I genuinely couldn’t care less about your hairdo, sexual preference, tattoo’s or where you are doing it much of the time! I don’t physically need to see you in front of me to believe you are working, your output should speak for itself!

One story I always refer to in this space relates to Sainsbury’s and their huge growth in creating a Digital Lab in Holborn. For years if you were a guy and went into Sainsbury’s HQ for a meeting you would be handed a tie if you didn’t have one on. A few years back, with the advent of Digital, this all changed. Sainsbury’s had to change their policy to allow a whole range of looks they hadn’t seen before including denim hot pants, for the lads, just brilliant! Love this story!

All this thinking about prejudice, mine and others got me thinking and I am going to carry out a little User Research of my own! As the hair has now moved on from bright blue to cerise I am going to follow the BeDifrent brand and road-test a new colour from our logo every couple of weeks and blog about how the new barnet is received across different groups of mates, family and work colleagues. I have a feeling my mother’s response may be the most amusing but who knows :))

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