We all judge. All day, every day, every single one of us. Don’t say you don’t. Every time you form an opinion, you make a judgement. That includes bad judgements and good judgements.

And that’s OK, as long as you have a sound basis for the judgement. So… do you? Or are you making unfair judgements?

A fair judgement is, for example, mistrusting someone because they broke a promise, lied to you, or betrayed you. Hey, that’s perfectly justifiable. I almost choked on my coffee when my ex-husband asked why I didn’t trust him after he’d lost count of the number of affairs he’d had.

In short, a fair judgement is one supported by observable behaviour on the part of the individual you are judging. Note behaviour. So physical characteristics are out. And note also supported. You might argue religious affiliations or sexual orientations are observable behaviour, but all too often those behaviours do not support the judgement being made i.e. there is no causal collection.

So here are a couple of crappy judgements I’ve come across lately that really piss me off:
  • My friend is a Certified Practising Accountant. She’s also a single mother, through no fault of her own, and owing to an unpleasant situation with her soon-to-be-ex-husband which no woman in her right mind would (or should) tolerate.

    Apparently, however, being a single mother makes her the least desirable tenant in the rental market. Despite the fact she has a professional-level salary, a rocking personal reference given by yours truly, lawyer extraordinaire, and is more or less the most moral, honest and trustworthy person I know, she can’t find a house to live in. Why? Because she’s a single mother. This, apparently, means she will bring strange men home to the house she is living in.

    Hello, judgement some? You’re basically calling every single mother a cheap, stupid whore, which is grossly insulting to my friend and, I imagine, other single mothers (@cmajaski, put up your hand! I’m sure you are insulted). For some reason, single mothers rank as less desirable than single fathers, notwithstanding those single fathers may be strange men. Go figure.
  • Sneaky racism – years before he met me, my husband was dating a Korean Australian girl. She called it off because her parents didn’t approve of my husband. Why? Because he’s white (or possibly, more generally, non-Korean). Now, if this was a white person not allowing their child to marry, well, anyone who wasn’t white, it would be racism of the grossest kind. I saw another example of this recently when a friend of a friend of a colleague (did you catch all that?) was forbidden by her Indian parents to see the non-Indian man she was dating.

    I don’t know what the history is to these attitudes.I don’t purport to judge. And I’m not saying that these kind of attitudes are any worse than racism by whites against other cultures. But in my experience (in this country at least) there is more focus on racism by whites against other races and cultures than there is a focus on eliminating discrimination of all kinds, including racism against whites by some individuals. I know there are some who will be inclined to have little pity for Caucasians with their history of racism against others, but this shouldn’t be a tit for tat game. It should be the same rules for everyone and a concerted effort to fix the errors of the past.   

    The simple point is individuals should be judged on their own merits, and not based on the actions of other members of their race, gender, religion, profession, demographic etc. I’m not saying this is easy. It can be very hard, and sometimes it’s much easier to fall into old habits.

    One example of how easy it is to fall into the trap of being racist is in Australia, where many companies outsource call centres to India and the Philippines. This is done for cost effectiveness so I suspect that training might not be top-notch. As a result, customers may get less than stellar service when they contact such centres. Is this the fault of the staff? No, it’s the fault of the company. Is it tempting to blame the staff? Yes, of course, and it’s easy – easier than blaming a faceless company. I won’t deny that many Australians do blame the staff, and therefore have a negative attitude to Indians or Filipinos in general. Is this acceptable? No, and I do not condone it in any way. I try not to fall into those attitudes myself. I try to give every person a fair chance to prove themselves to me on their own merits, and not on the basis of any assumptions that could be made. Is that easy to do, all the time? No, and so we must all be ever vigilant against generalisations.

    If we want to give equality a fair go, we all need to stop being racist. And sexist, and any other number of –ists.  No judgement of any person based on their skin colour, country of origin, or hell, while we’re at it, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristic not directly tied to their own individual personality, is not on, people. Stereotyping, in my opinion, simply isn’t acceptable, no matter who is doing the stereotyping or being stereotyped.  
Is someone judging you? Or someone you love? What’s your pet peeve judgement?

Vector – Goddess of Judgements – Not this kind, I think….

This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here – A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I.

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