(A post from my personal blog.)
I was watching the Blind Side….for the first time today. It was a beautiful story. At the end they shared pictures of the real Michael Oher and his family.
My first thought was if I’d seen those same pictures without knowing the story behind their family, I’d have judged them all wrong. I’d have thought, if even for a moment: that white family probably stepped in to help that black boy only due to his football ability and got paid off it in the end. It doesn’t come from a racist point of view, it comes from a “people always taking advantage of others” point of view. Besides, as the daughter of a white man and a black woman… I can say what I want about either race, so shut it!! Amazing how the first “cover” we give to “books” we haven’t read tends to be negative.
We’re told not to judge others. As humans we have a tendency to characterize and categorize. It’s actually a defense mechanism. You do it to get a feel on how to interact with things and even people. Sometimes our judgment is off and sometimes it’s spot on.
I venture to stand firm that people NEED to and SHOULD judge others. I qualify the people in my life. It is a rare occasion that someone gets something (not always material things) from me that they weren’t qualified to receive. Who’s standards do I use? My own. My standards of qualification are led by my spiritual connection, how I was raised, what my environment has taught me and even sometimes what society has pushed on me.
To judge before knowing about something is needed to quickly assess danger. I argue the quote “don’t judge a book by its cover” is not a good lesson. Most often in life you don’t have time to read the book, you may not have access to the Cliff Notes or half way through the book you realize it was a bad choice but it’s too late and you’ll never get that time/opportunity back.
Apply that to relationships, possible jobs, child care options, etc… Sometimes all you may have is a few minutes to judge whether something is good for you or not….good for your kids or not. You HAVE to judge and you have to be good at it and get better at it. Always judge BUT never be unwilling to adjust that judgment with the revelation of new information. Don’t be afraid to change your mind based on what you’ve learned since your initial judgment.