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"She's not me:" From the Washington Post

I read an interesting column in the local paper this weekend, it was a reprint of a column in the Washington Post from May 2nd.

I struggle with prosopagnosia (face blindness); I have a hard time remembering faces and putting names to faces when I meet people out of context  so I can relate to this somewhat; At a shopping mall I once bumped into my family doctor who I've been seeing regularly for more than 15 years, and had no idea who he was. I knew I knew him from somewhere but could not remember his name or place where I knew him from. 

I can't say that I have never confused one person for someone else, but at least hope I can say that if (or when) I did it had nothing to do with their race. 




Kat Marketplace Partner May 14, 2019

I feel like this sometimes when I listen to "Women in Tech" talks. I am me, not a woman in IT. 

When calls go out for mentors for girls I am not inspired to help. I'd rather reach out to children who want to know more about IT roles that are not programming, or those from families where they are one of the first to go to university.

Reading that article made me feel sad. It would be draining to have your achievements and individuality overlooked, and worse to feel guilty for being complicit in the problem.

Like Mary Ramirez likes this
Mary Ramirez Community Leader May 14, 2019

I came across a similar article


I'm just like ughhhhhhhhhhhh. We need to make an effort to do right by people. I understand we make mistakes but coming back from them and making sure we don't do it again is so important. Too often do we say "oh it's not a big deal." But as someone who has a difficult name, I already have an attitude towards people who butcher my name. 

Kat Marketplace Partner May 14, 2019

I chose "Kat" when I started my first full-time job for a few reasons. One of those was the frequent mispronunciation of "Katherine" and the cheekiness of people thinking it was their right to assign a shorter version to me of their choosing (Kath, Kathy, Kate, etc).

My experience of a common name is minor I am sure compared to less common and "foreign" (as determined by the other person) names.

I hear you. I have a super hard time with people out of context...and if a bunch of people look approximately alike (say a bunch of blond-haired-blue-eyed women), I am lost. It's not a racial thing--it's an everybody thing for me. 

What really makes life hard for me (with face blindness) is when people come up to me, address me by name, and then ask about my son or something really personal, while I am standing there feeling stupid because I have no idea who I am talking with. It makes me anxious and anxiety makes it worse.

Like Scott Theus likes this
Kat Marketplace Partner May 21, 2019

I have moved towns quite a lot, spent a lot of time as part of online communities where people use a photo of themselves as an avatar, and caught public transport regularly, etc.

There was a couple of years when people would look familiar but I could not always place them. It could have been very awkward to ask the other person if they knew the connection especially the times when:

  • the person was an actor on TV I had never met
  • the person was someone I saw 4+ times a week on the bus for years but never talked to directly, or
  • the meeting to start a project with a new customer. I recognised one person's face and finally realised it was because she used the message-boards on the same dating website I used to visit.

Context is important. Apparently is it not unusual for children to cry/get upset if they see a teacher at the supermarket or elsewhere outside of school.

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

@Scott Theus I hear you about race. I also have a hard time telling people apart when they all do the same thing. For example, there are a bunch of singers I can't tell apart. I recognize that Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Shakira, and Ariana Grande are all singers, but I don't think I could tell one from the other if you lined them all up for me.  I remember liking each of their songs, but I can't put a face with a name,


Oh, not only do I have face blindness, I also had a terrible brain injury that further hurt my ability to distinguish people. I used to work with three guys named Greg. I couldn't remember any of their names! And their names were all the same!


Fortunately, people get used to me.


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