Thursday, July 21, 2011

The bank doesn't like long hair

Taken from Ronalfly

I have been in Ghana for over two years. Here in Belgium, I have a savings account, but because of the long time that has passed since I had set foot inside their office, and simply because I didn't have internet banking or any statement, I had no idea how much money was still inside.

Re-post from Back to Belgium.

Still, as you might be aware, money is an important aspect of this society. No money means no shelter, no clothing, no food unless friends or family can provide it for you. Simply put, I just needed to know how much I have to have an honest idea of my possibilities.

So the first thing that I do when I arrived, after going to my new place and greeting my good ol' housemates, is going to the bank. I was nicely showered, dressed casual and ready to pop the question.

Upon entering the bank, I walk confidently to the reception and politely state my name, adding: "I have a savings account with you and I would like to know how much is in there."

The clerk turns his eyes to me with a bit of a dirty look, and asks "how come you want to know such a thing all of a sudden?"

This must have been the strangest reaction I have ever had in a bank. Hello, it is my account, so it is my money and I just want to know how much is left.
Of course I understand that this person is not aware of my travelling, that I have just come home from two year of West-African sun and not really have an idea of what to do with my future. This knowledge is very important to me.

Then it dawned on me. He was looking at my hair. I forgot that my hair was still long. It was clean though, I had taken a shower and I am totally refreshed.

I had no idea that such a superficial fact would bring such negative behaviour to people, I was really shocked. That moment, I decided that I will definitely need a hair cut to get a proper job, better not to leave anything to chance. Ridiculous.

It is only after insulting me, that the clerk asked for my ID.

Shit, in Belgium you need your Id with you all the time, I am not used to that anymore. Ok, this was very naive of me, to come to the bank, claiming an account by only stating your name and not bringing your identity card. That the bank doesn't allow me to access my account without any identification, I agree with that completely.
So I smile sheepishly to the bank clerk, explain him the situation and turn to come back another day.

At that moment, the clerk's prejudice is probably confirmed, I must have been a long haired no-good who wanted to steal money from a good citizen's account. Well done Mr. Clerk, keep the scruffy looking people from soiling your carpet.

Link: Another blog entry on discrimination towards long haired men (by Ronalfy)

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