life ain't fair

Customers rank women and minority doctors, salespeople and service workers lower than their white male counterparts, even when the customer's interactions with the doctors, sales people or service workers are identical.

key excerpt:
In a related experiment involving bookshop employees, volunteers were shown two videotaped interactions between a customer and a sales clerk and were told to imagine they were customers and rate the shop's service. Some were shown a white male sales clerk, while others were shown a black male clerk or a white female clerk. All the clerks were actors -- and everything else in the videos was identical, down to the script. (emphasis mine)
Those shown the white male clerk rated the service provided 19 percent higher than volunteers shown the woman or the black man. They also rated stores with white male clerks as being cleaner. (emphasis mine)

which is why it's so important to have boards, committees, groups, schools, organizations, city councils, governments and LIVES that reflect the diversity of the world we live in. because if we are left to our own devices, we prove time and again that we are biased, prejudiced, racist, sexist and incapable of systematically treating people fairly. it is only upon closer and sustained examination of our actions and decisions, through the lens of diversity, that we begin to see the inherent fallibility of those actions and decisions. and when we recognize what we're doing, we then have the choice, the opportunity, to change. but if we are never forced, (by simple association), to consider the effect our actions and decisions have on people different from ourselves, then we continue in oblivion.

in other words: until whites and blacks and latinos and arabs, and women and men, and gays and straights, and old and young KNOW one another, respect one another on a personal level and work together across dividing lines- and until ALL those descriptors can be used to accurately describe the governments and boards who wield the power in our communities and across the nation: the inequalities for blacks, latinos, arabs, women, gays, old and young will persist, and will in fact be perpetuated through the governments and boards which hold the power. if our bodies of power do not accurately reflect our communities (which they currently most often do NOT), then the decisions that are made, affecting the entire diverse community, will be exactly like those customer surveys.

it's about more than satisfaction surveys, though. this affects real lives. every day. it's why black men are disproportionately represented in prisons in Iowa. and it's why women are raped but rapists are not hunted down like their victims were. and it's why LGBT men and women aren't given equal protection under the law. and it's why i have missed out on career opportunities.

human beings are unfair to one another. life ain't fair, right? but i choose to stand on the side with all those who say, Imagine.


Elizabeth said...

See, my prejudice runs exactly the opposite - I would almost always rate my experiences with female doctors/salespeople/etc higher, because I assume arrogance on the part of the men. Does that make me just as bad, just in the opposite direction?

Carolynn said...

no, it means you're enlightened!!! :)