Have you been treated differently just because of your appearance?

June 15, 2020

Have you been treated differently just because of your appearance?

With all the controversy over the last two weeks and some things getting very much out of hand and forgetting what the issue was, originally I decided I was not going to stay silent, but talk about how I believe every life matters and every life is equal.
What I am about to discuss is not meant to be controversial. It is just my thoughts on how many of us have been treated based only on how we may look. I am trying to say it in the most respectful way for everyone but I do feel I want to comment.
Being treated differently because someone else does not like the way you look is not only reserved for people of a certain colour.
There are also many fat, skinny, people with disabilities or disfigured people that are also treated differently, shunned, yelled at and even ignored and treated as invisible.
Some parts of society may have a preconceived idea about what they feel is the most appropriate appearance and so are disgusted and cruel to anyone who does not fit their criteria!
Some are just plain scared of people they may never have encountered due to living a sheltered or "privileged" life. They just don't understand how to interact appropriately, and that fear leads to sometimes terrible outcomes.
I myself have been treated differently because of my appearance, my size. And I know first hand of many others who have been "fat-shamed", embarrassed and humiliated because of their size. Been turned away from shops by sales assistants informing you they will not have anything to fit you. Been shoved into or off trains and told if you weren't so big you would fit, or three people could fit where you are taking up space.
Yelled at by people in cars while walking or running. Yes, running! These anonymous people who also try to humiliate with their words of disgust for a fat person running or exercising.
I have seen people cross a road so as not to have to face people with dark skin, perhaps a group of them, scared of what they may do when they are most likely just catching up and going for a walk themselves.
People with tattoos entering a shop or shopping centre and being followed by security, just in case.
None of these occurrences are fair and they are caused by people's ignorance or preconceived prejudices, or maybe a lack of education.
I struggle with the idea that any one person is more entitled than another, and I think we sometimes need to look at what the situation is and understand why we react the way we do. The way a situation can make you feel is all about how you decide to let it make you feel! You have the power to not allow anyone trying to treat you differently to be allowed to use their prejudice to hurt you.
If they yell at me from that car I can choose to not hear them, or not believe the messages are for me!
I realise that for the black lives which are being affected by the current situations, it is not as simple as trying to ignore the behaviour of ignorant people. Especially when it leads to loss of life.
I realise there is a lot to be done and I know we can all make a difference if we play our own small part.
If you witness or hear someone being treated badly, speak up! Let the person or people know it's not appropriate. Educate yourself and those around you about the problems others face in their day to day life.
This is for everyone, understand what it's like to not be able to fit into a plane seat, or be able to go on rides at theme parks because of your size. To not be able to tie your shoes, to be ignored or treated like you don't matter because of your colour.
I truly believe that every single person's life matters and that we are all created equal, and that every single person can make a small difference and together that makes a big difference.
There are many ways to initiate change in the way people are treated. Besides speaking out you could find a way to support some of the charities making a difference.
At BeKeane I am already supporting aboriginal women in my own small way, through supporting a young aboriginal artist by buying her art and making leggings which we also donate to @Djirra - an indigenous centre that supports women in domestic violence circumstances.
But to ensure I fully understand all of the Black Lives Matter protests and the issues that go along with it, I have been self-educating and reading a number of articles on both the USA situations and those here in Australia.
We will continue to do our part with donations to Djirra for sales of the Swiggle Flowers, and we are also donating with our E.Q.U.A.L.I.T.Y leggings to The Human Rights Law Centre - They say they are powered by thousands of people like you, standing up for fairness, equality, dignity and compassion.
Thanks for reading take care,

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