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Brad Hobson
Lisa Carlson
English 111-021
Discrimination based on Appearance
Unfortunately, bias in all aspects is plaguing society today and affects every person in some degree or another. In my opinion it will never be “banned” as this article suggests. This issue is too complex to just “ban” all of it. Although, I do believe that some kind of change is necessary. The problem needs to be analyzed and looked as to what is the most harsh and least harsh cases but still who is to decide these things. By putting someone in charge of what is discrimination and what isn’t is almost like appointing a “god” of sorts. Everyone has their opinion on discriminations. Therefor it cannot be narrowed down to certain complexities.
The author brings forth a good point to ponder: “So why not simply ban discrimination based on appearance?” This is a great idea, but the problem lies within the ability to enforce this rule. In the current time, job applications, and sometimes even credit applications, contain clauses regarding not discriminating due to age, race, gender or ethnicity. However, people in the positions making those decisions can actually discriminate based on those factors, as long as what they show on paper does not reflect it.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, people may not be offered a job opportunity because of their appearance, in lieu of someone who is more attractive, regardless of who is more qualified to perform the job duties. However, such bias is not all-inclusive. Some jobs require certain traits, such as restrictions on height and weight. In the Borgata Hotel Casino case mentioned in the article, the discrimination against the waitress with the thyroid problem was based strictly on sex appeal. On the flip side, flight nurses and physicians have specific height and weight requirements that must be enforced due to safety in the helicopter. A 230-pound emergency physician with twenty years of experience may be turned down for one of these positions, while a 150-pound physician with four years of experience gets the position based on their stature. Does this situation warrant looking at discrimination?
Jealousy could also play a role. This could happen to someone with a pleasant appearance, a very intelligent person, or someone who has many years of experience, etc. The associate interviewing the prospective employee may not hire someone that would upstage him/herself or a co-worker with whom they have camaraderie. They may feel that person is a threat even if they are very qualified for the position. Again, as long as it doesn’t show on paper what the actual reason was for not hiring that person, this could happen quite often.
The author also discusses the fact that customer preferences should not be a defense for prejudice. I agree with this statement to a certain extent. An employer should not hire employees based on the fact that they are white or female. However, I have chosen not to go to a certain restaurant because of the appearance of the serving staff. I believe that certain restrictions on dress code and hygiene should be put in place and enforced.
Facial hair is one example. Someone with a clean shaven face serving food to my family and myself would be my preference over someone with a beard, goatee or even just a mustache. I am much more likely to return to that restaurant if that is a hygiene standard for them. Furthermore, I personally would not mind my server having visible tattoos and piercings while just dining with friends or family, as long as no tattoo is vulgar that would make someone uncomfortable, they have good hygiene and perform their job well. My opinion would be drastically different, for example, if I had invited a business client to have a lunch meeting.
The range of acceptance for tattoos and/or piercings would vary with different workplace environments. Someone who works in a field related to appearance such as a hair or nail salon, or tattoo or piercing parlor may not have their appearance frowned upon as it would be in an office setting. As for tattoos it seems like this issue is a sex based issue, but it is not. Women and Men are equal in having tattoos. When most office jobs are looking at a male applicant they will choose the one without any piercings. Is this wrong? That is a good question why is it that a male with ears pierced are frowned upon but a woman with the same piercings are not. I feel that this an issue that will never be solved because everyone will have the discriminations about this matter.
In conclusion, who is to say that some discriminating factors are not valid things to consider when hiring? As long as they are in fact relevant to job safety and the safety of the customer, they should be considered. Our strengths as well as our weaknesses are passed down from our ancestors. Some jobs can certainly warrant the need for certain physical abilities which can be quite different based on body makeup and could be related mostly on ethnicity. It makes for a much more interesting world being that we are all different in so many ways. It’s just not so easy to always do the right thing. We are only human, afterall.

Works Cited
Rhode, Deborah L. "Why Looks Are the Last Bastion of Discrimination." Washington

Post, 23 May 2010. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.

Cited: Rhode, Deborah L. "Why Looks Are the Last Bastion of Discrimination." Washington Post, 23 May 2010. Web. 02 Jan. 2013.

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