Book by its cover

My wife asked me to describe someone who was at a meeting I attended recently. She was wondering if this person had been one of her students. I found that I didn’t remember any distinguishing characteristics other than being young and white. I was feeling pretty good about not seeing any stereotypes that might bias my judgement of this person until I remembered that another person in the meeting had what I considered bad teeth. This realization makes me wonder whether I made any subconscious judgements of this person. I also wonder whether I didn’t remember the first person who, other than being much younger, was very much like me and that my seeing them as unremarkable was a judgement that they were like me and, therefore, acceptable. This has caused me to question what other subconscious judgements I make every day and has prompted me to start paying attention to my reactions to appearance and to try to strip away any pre-judgements that I make. I realize, given years of learning first impressions, this will be a long and challenging process with numerous setbacks and lost opportunities but step one of self-improvement is recognizing where improvement is needed.

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