Okay, so let’s say you have to be operated. You go to meet your doctor, he shakes your hand, he’s friendly, he makes a little small talk, tries to ensure you that it’s not a big deal, that this operation is routine work for him and that he’s done it for years and the risks are really quite small, he’s friendly, and he seems genuinely concerned for your well-being. There’s just one catch.
He’s some-one who look to be in his twenties, and he has long, green hair and an eye-brow piercing.
Now, as you go to the operating table, you see him there again, he’s removed his piercing, his hair is tucked back, he’s wearing his white coat, his gloves, and he’s wearing an operating mask and all that good stuff. Obviously none of this interferes with his task at hand.
However he’s still a youthful bloke who’s got long green hair and an eye-brow piercing when he first introduces himself to his patients. The quæstion at hand is if people can, or should, be able to be refused for a job like this regardless of meeting all other qualifications because they don’t radiate the authority with that that they should.
Where-ever you go, laws regarding this are opaque at best, the concept of ‘discrimination’ is vague and arbitrary. Discrimination was illegal when it was legal to not hire women into executive functions because they didn’t radiate authority enough. And it is still illegal this day while for a lot of legal things the only qualification one needs is to be older than a certain age. What is ‘discrimination’ and what is not, is quite simply just translating the mass consensus of the people about ‘how far you can go’.
And quite obviously, there are a lot of people who would not feel that women radiate enough authority to be able to be a doctor. However not hiring women because of that rule is out of the quæstion in most western countries these days, that’s ‘discrimination’. And of course being a woman is irrelevant for one’s capabilities as a surgeon. Just as having green, long long and an eye-brow piercing is. However people grow a lot more sympathetic to requiring doctors to change that, because people might not feel safe then. Even though obviously it’s just conceding to their præjudices.
Of course, there is a fundamental difference between being a woman and having a piercing and green hair, you can change the latter easily, but not the former. Or is that entirely true? Quite absurdly one can say:
‘You can also change your sex!, and that’s quite true. But of course, a very big sacrifice to make for most people to be a doctor. But perhaps not bigger than for some people to live their lives in a hair colour they do not like just because some people are small-minded bigots?
Piercings and green hair are again different, you can take out a piercing quite easily, but to die your hair back and forth from every interview is quite cumbersome, to cut it and let it re-grow is again completely impossible.
But this is all still the public service. Let’s say you are a commercial entity with a for-profit raison d’être, if the law would require you to hire women, even though the sad reality is that hiring women in certain positions will simply mean less profit—then you’re stuck with that. You might even think that this is a sad thing and honestly want to give these woman a chance to prove themselves, but the reality is that you’re primary responsibility as a ceo is delivering profit to your shareholders, and not hiring women accomplishes that. You cannot let your political convictions interfere with your job, so to speak.
As said, what the law requires and what not of employers is opaque. However it seems to have been established some-what by præcedence that sex and ethnicity are not a quality you cannot hire people on. Even though it will eventually hamper your profit because the world is simply filled with small-minded bigots. You can also argue that this has a good reason, as you cannot (easily) change these qualities of yourself. It’s imaginable that you for same reason also can’t disqualify short people on the argument that clients are simply still small-minded bigots.
But it seems to go deeper than that. Long hair poses a risk in various job situations, but women seem to never be required to cut their hair short even though it could hamper their performance. Women simply in various cultures conventionally have long hair, and you can’t ask them to cut it, because it would be seen as quite hard for a woman to live without long hair should she desire to have it.
However, say you’re a male waiter in a classy restaurant, it’s quite imaginable that they require you to cut your long hair. Admittedly it hampers with your job performance, and not even for a tangible reason, but only because the world is filled with small-minded bigots. But because it’s ‘unconventional’ for males to have long hair, this can be required of them. Even though some security risks that are far more important cannot require women to cut their hair short. It would be unsurprising for me if some men have just as much troubles having short hair as some women. This can also be a cultural thing though, indeed, to ask a Sikh to cut his hair, a thing his religion forbids, is again more complicated.
A fundamental difference between public services like health-care and commercial things is though that health-care is seen as a right provided free of charge, at least in the civilized world outside of that isolated greatest nation in the world. While those commercial things are privileges you pay, if you pay for it, should you not be able to demand that you are assisted by some-one who is not a foreigner if you so please? While if it’s a thing the government provides free of charge, you have nothing to complain, take it or leave it. If you don’t like it, then try to pay a doctor out of your own pocket.