The other day I was talking with one of my friends when a pigeon and a little bird just interrupted us. As we were still eating, Edward gave crumbs from his sandwich to the little bird and insulted the pigeon. “Come on! Beat it!” he said. That’s when I asked him why? Why does the little bird could stay and the other one go? He just said that the little bird is cleverer than this stupid pigeon – as if he was a bird specialist. Anyway I used this example to show you how it could be easy to stereotype something or someone.
In certain language just like in French – my mother language – we have some by-word which can underline a kind of discrimination. For instance: “Plus c’est petit, plus c’est mignon” (literal translation: “The more it is little, the more it is cute”) or “Plus c’est grand, plus c’est con” (literal translation: “The more it is tall, the more it is stupid”) – Unfortunately for me I’m tall.
I’m sure that you have the equivalent in your own language. Let’s say that this belongs to our culture.
“Once upon a time”… Who has never read a fairytale? Who has never dreamed of being the Charming Prince or the sweet Princess? In fairytales as in religions you’ve got Good and the Evil such as in Chinese philosophy you’ve got Ying and Yang. All is either black or white. But in practice everybody knows that it does not work like this and we’ve got a wide range of colors. Some people are more vicious than other but nobody can be 100% good or 100% bad.
The colors can be also used in certain country just like in China to show your mindset – the white color is the equivalent of bereavement there. Other example less dramatic, for French people when you wear brightly colored clothes you are well-adjusted, open-minded. We tend to judge people on their clothes, the way they behave, etc. Sometimes some people are not able to understand that you can be poor and well-educated, that you don’t need to wear something expensive to be classy. It goes beyond that, it’s about you, your personality. You can be everything you want if you know the set of rules and code to become it. People tend to focus on what society wait for them instead of just being themself – what it is seems to be rather dramatic unless you want to live in a world of clones.
Now let’s talk about recruitment. I have read many articles about “the do’s and don’ts of recruiting” and in France contrary to some countries we have the choice to put a picture or not on our resume – for instance. Let’s say that I can understand that for some areas you don’t need to put any picture because you don’t have any customer relationship or other current professional meetings, etc. I also know that some recruiters – women in particular – are real actors of discrimination. Why? Because they judge candidates through a picture. Just because you’re blond you have a poor brain, just because you look cool you can’t be a serious manager – just because one simple picture on a paper.
And the worse is that when you want to avoid discrimination, you choose to not put a picture but as soon as the office door will open and you will meet face to face the recruiter, she/he will already have preconceived idea about your person. Sometimes some of them just stop on this fake perception, no matter what you will say, no matter what you did, no matter who you really are. Finally to not put a picture on your resume will not allow you to escape from discrimination and will be the equivalent of a « time bomb » for the advancement of your recruitment – in my humble opinion.
Stereotypes are all around us but we have to fight against them despite what we learned, what our mind dictate to believe.
* The picture used for this article is a great example about what stereotypes could lead you to think about French people😉