In our times, people tend to judge a person’s race based on their social class and the clothing they wear. The place a person lives and the environment they come from is also a factor when judging his or her race. Why is that? Why is it that people have to worry about what others are going to think about them based on their appearance and automatically make judgment about them? When we come across a person in a suit on Park Avenue who can pass for both white and Latino, the bystander will most probably say that they are white because of the way they are dressed and the avenue they are walking on. Same goes for an individual who we may see walking in Harlem.  If he or she can pass for both white and Hispanic but is dressed in baggy clothing, listening to exceptionally loud music and is wearing a large jacket bystanders will most likely think they are Hispanic.

In the New York Times article, “Is Race Reflected by Your Outfit”, a study is discussed that was performed on how students determine race.  Students had to decide whether a person looked black or white in the picture presented to them. Some people were shown wearing a certain uniform in the photograph.  The students were more likely to answer “black” for those individuals who were wearing a janitor’s uniform. A “mouse- tracking analysis” showed that it took the students more time to answer “white” for those individuals who did indeed look white but were dressed as a janitor, and were gearing more towards the “black” option.

The society that we live in has made a separation between the races based on specific details that one may observe.  This is not always because people choose to be judgmental in a negative way but because it has become the nature of many people without them even knowing. The way a person is dressed on the subway may make you feel more inclined to hold on to your bag tighter and keep your distance. The way he or she is dressed may make them “look” a certain way which will cause the bystander to quickly form an opinion in their mind. Unfortunately, this may prevent people from forming relationships with peers who “look” a certain race because their nature will not allow them to.  If more people allow themselves to judge others based on their personalities, character, occupation, hobbies etc. and not on how they are dressed, our society may become a friendlier one.

Link to article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/fashion/when-color-is-reflected-in-a-janitors-outfit-studied.html?ref=race

Advertisements

Comments are closed.