Saturday, March 24, 2012

An interesting experiment

Or would this be Dressed to be Killed?
Some years ago in a human relations course we were asked to do a little experiment as an assignment. We were asked to first dress in our most ratty clothes and go out and record the responses of those we met either from a store clerk or other strangers we might happen to meet. The second part was to dress up in our best and note the response. It is true that people judge you by what you wear and how you look. In a suit and tie you will be addressed as sir very often. In a casual restaurant with suit and tie you will be given a better seat near the front for all to see. I know I've experienced it. On other occasions when I wore jeans and an old shirt I was seated as far back as close to the kitchen door as was possible. I've kept that knowledge with me for many years and it's made me a few cents in the process. I learned to treat people decently no matter what they're wearing. Sometimes people for one reason or another don't dress well. We have after all become a very casual society in the last 50 years. There was a time when no man would go out without a suit and tie unless he was mowing the lawn or going to the ball park and even then it was a mixed bag. Even now I have designer clothes in the closet that I haven't worn in years. I used to travel quit a bit in the past and had a job that required jacket and tie or at the least a dress shirt and tie.

I know there are gang colors and gang like clothing along with signs and symbols, but to try and tell who is and who isn't would be impossible without seeing some type of actions. We tend to be intimidated by groups of people just hanging out yet they too have families, mothers and fathers and such. And who in high school didn't want to be part of the "in' crowd the semi tough on the edge of trouble? It was when "bad" was a mark of good. "Cool" as it was called. Don't know the term today.

But we've become a society so diverse that we barely know our neighbors. We're lucky to know anyone farther than two doors down anymore. Oh you may have seen them walking in the neighborhood but nobody stops to talk anymore. Too busy trying to communicate to actually communicate. Which reminds me of a story of the boss who was having communication problems in his firm. He finally sent out a memo. It read "Forget the emails and memos, eliminate the faxes, hang up the phone. Stand up and walk down to their cubicle and actually talk to the person". Problem solved and production increased.

The problem with Mr Zimmerman was that he considered himself a hammer and when you think you're a hammer everything starts to look like a nail. He was looking for trouble and he found it only it was no heroic "save the neighborhood" deed. Leave the policing to the police and the detective work to the detectives. But better still know your neighbors and don't judge a book by it's cover.


Anonymous said...

Recently, our local newspaper carried an article on the effects of dress on performance. Among other findings, the study found that a person dressed in a white "lab coat" could perform mental tasks better than when dressed in jeans.

Other studies have pretty consistantly shown that mode of dress had great effect upon how a person was perceived and treated.

However, of course, no mode of dress should be an excuse for killing a civilian on the street. I do not at all understand how young Mr Martin could have become a target.
Cop Car

Tom Harper said...

"Forget the emails and memos, eliminate the faxes, hang up the phone. Stand up and walk down to their cubicle and actually talk to the person".

But when you try that, the person whose cubicle you just walked into might say "Can't you see I'm busy??? Send me an e-mail!"

BBC said...

I know everyone on my block, and they fear me. :-)

BBC said...

How about that, Asshole had a heart transplant.

Roger Owen Green said...

As EVERYONE has been saying, didn't know Cheney HAD a heart...

S.W. Anderson said...

Very good advice in that last paragraph, Demeur. I will add that we need to make a conscious effort not to stereotype people based on things like skin color, ethnicity, even weight and what they're wearing. It can be difficult. Even meaning to not do that, it can be easy to slip up. But trying is important.

You're right about Zimmerman's attitude. I'm sure he communicated that attitude to Trayvon Martin. Thus, the reported fight Martin gave Zimmerman.