Fact: We are all human, therefore we all have prejudices, which means we all judge others.
Imagine yourself in a room, and someone whom you have never seen before walks through the door. In this case, we would immediately draw our own conclusions about him or her although we’ve never took the time to learn who they are.
We often have pre-conceived beliefs about who someone is based on stereotypes. As we learn more about them, say, where they are from, how they speak, and what style of clothes they wear, our stereotypes may begin to go away, but also provide fuel for other stereotypes to generate. Try it.
How do you think you would classify the following people who step into a doctor’s waiting room: A tall, white male, wearing a suit with a neat, clean-cut appearance; A short, fat, white male, wearing a sport’s suit; A young black man, with a hooded sports coat and a shaggy beard?
What if they started giving you information about where they’re from, what music they listened to, and where they worked? Would you still draw your own conclusions? Of course you would. You would now have even more information to base your stereotype.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter that we draw conclusions about others. It’s human nature. We can’t help it. We oftentimes have to size people up with the little information that we have. It is normal to look for and want to connect with people who share commonalities and we often need to relate to others whom are different. What does matter, though, is when we start verbally judging others and taking actions that are based on those stereotypes.
What’s worse is when we start classifying people in their entirety based on a few interactions with them. For example, is someone “cheap” because he or she doesn’t want to pay more than $10 for a meal, or does this person just have different priorities for their money? Is someone “lazy” because they are obese, or does this person have an overactive thyroid problem? It goes on and on.
I’m not saying that we can’t be right about our assumptions, it’s just that we are often wrong. We are only looking at another person’s life and actions based on our perception of what should be, which is based on how we were taught or come to understand things. Normal is relative to what we think, which is often relative to our culture, that is usually shaped by our parents and peers, up until we go out into the “real world.” But even the “real world” is different among different regions of the world.
So, what’s my point?
Last night I was provided the following quote:
People that know they are important, think about others. People that think they are important, think about themselves. – Hans F Hansen
This quote was in response to me respectfully disengaging this person from my life after I was called a joke, selfish, egotistical, and self-centered based my belief, confidence, and unashamed views about money, among other things.
Here is the irony: The person who sent me this believes that the male in the a relationship should always pay for meals. Based on the traditional concept of dating, I can understand this line of reasoning. But, this person also believes that it is “normal” to eat at places such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse as though it’s just another weekend? If the male in this relationship is paying an average balance of $100 every time he takes his girl out, just because she wants to eat and drink “high-end” all the time, and the female allows this with no regard to his money, is this not an example of a lack of consideration for others, and therefore selfish and self-centered?
I never called her the things that she called me, despite her ideas that I disagreed with. But, I can’t change others.
We have to accept that it is human nature to judge others based on our assumptions, but we should seldom verbalize our claims because we may find that we are wrong. Verbalized, negative snap judgements can be detrimental to others. I am glad that I am confident enough to know who am I, why I believe the way I do, and what I do for others.
We must challenge our assumptions of others by getting to know them. And even if our assumptions hold true, we should find out why a person believes or acts is such a manner, before concluding and verbalizing who we think they are. Why? Because we are often incorrect.
I’m guilty of verbalizing assumptions. We all are. I verbalized my assumption that the guys who take her out for such “fabulous” meals are only doing so to impress her, and are after her “goods.” But, maybe these guys also eat like this all the time and have the money to do so? I wouldn’t know unless I actually knew their situation. Regardless, though, I don’t think such a lifestyle is sustainable, but my belief, I feel, doesn’t make me selfish. However, verbalizing my assumptions that these guys are not capable of doing what I believe is unsustainable, does make me a hypocrite.
In the end, however, I judged and verbalized my thoughts against her guy friends, and she judged me.
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DisclaimerThe opinions expressed on this blog are mine and represent my views only. I have very strong opinions, but am also an open-minded individual. If you refute my view with supported, educated and well-argued points, I could very well change my opinion.