Presumed innocent

Our legal system is built on the presumption of innocence. Things would be pretty messy if we changed things around – we’d have to lock up everybody facing criminal charges – and then who would handle our baggage at the airport or stimulate the economy by buying motorbikes and parts… It’s a central principle of life in a liberal democracy. And yet it is thrown completely out the window in one social occasion – the transaction that takes place when a man buys flowers from any retailer. There’s the same awkward banter between said male and the (generally) female store clerk… Every time. Or at least every time I buy flowers. Maybe I just look guilty. It’s always a variation of this theme:

Salesperson: “So, what have you done wrong?”

As though I would only be buying flowers to atone for wrongdoings. As though a $14 bunch of colourful flora is an appropriate act to win my redemption. It’s presumed guilt. Perhaps I just want points in the bank in case I do something wrong in the future, or maybe my motives are completely altruistic. This response is prejudice at its most banal – and up with this I shall not put. Not any more.