Thoughts about status and respect

Q: Why do you not dress up?

A: Most dress codes (not uniforms - that’s different) were created for the express purpose of discrimination. Upper classes throughout history have worn nicer clothers than the lower classes to differenciate themselves, and to easily tell rich from poor. This is both immoral and inefficient, so if society judges somebody based on what they are wearing the fault is with society.

Q: What title do you want to be addressed by now that you have a doctorate?

A: Please just call me Sean. If you must be formal call me Mr Sean. The title of Dr has been used in the past both to promote and to fight discrimination, but in a perfect world there is no discrimination and no use for titles. I’d like to move a step closer to that world by not using a title myself.

Sean van der Merwe
Coordinator of UFS Statistical Consultation Unit