Evaluating People

Exploring the Popular Use of “Don’t Judge Me”

“Don’t judge me” is increasingly becoming a popular and pervasive statement, especially among the 16 year old – 35 year old crowd.  I’m not against people judging me or anyone else. However, you must be qualified to judge others.  You should not be really serious about your use of “don’t judge me.”  While I think that it’s quite entertaining when I see “don’t judge me” used on Twitter and Facebook, you really should not be too concerned about what people say about you.  I’m not, however, saying that you should not totally overlook what people say about you and that you should not respond to some things people say about you. You should not overlook some things people say about you and you should respond to some things people say about you. However, I want to devote my dominant attention to my argument that you must be qualified to be an effective judge.

We cannot stop people from judging others and we should not try to prevent people from judging others.  What I would like for those who are committed to judging others is for them to be qualified about the things and aspects of people they judge.  For example, so many true and supposedly heterosexual people are quick to make a determination about whether a man is gay.  They will look at surface level things and rush to a quick judgment and call him gay.  As a deep and committed intellectual, I’m bother by how so many people will make a sweeping conclusion about someone’s sexual orientation and/or identity by just observing him in such a short amount of time.  Every man does not have a deep voice.  Every man does not and has no desire to “bust slack.”  Every man does not and cannot walk in a way that’s predominantly perceived by society as a “heterosexual way of walking.”

By the way, is there some class available that heterosexual men or women teach that men who want to learn how to walk like the typical heterosexual man can attend to learn this style of walking?  If so, I would like for you to let me know so that I can tell the people who are not committed to simply being themselves where they can attend this class.  Thanks in advance.

Some people even get a thrill out of being able to “detect” when a man is gay.  If the man does not reveal to you that he’s gay, then what makes your determination that he’s gay an intelligent judgment?  I’m not suggesting that you have to be gay to determine whether a man is gay, but your conclusions should not be based on the most inane surface level things that you see and hear.  What prevents you from mustering the courage to personally ask the man if he’s gay?  Always do this in an appropriate way because the method you elect to ask him can amount to nothing more than an attack, even if this was not your true intent.  If you are truly serious about being an effective judge, then why won’t you do the work that’s necessary to truly get to the bottom of your claims?  It amuses me sometimes and flummoxes at other times how someone can hear and/or see things out of context and then immediately arrive at a conclusion that someone is gay.

Always put things in their proper contexts.

People make judgments about myriad phenomena besides sexual orientation.  I selected to use sexual orientation as my primary example because sexual orientation is a phenomenon people often make swift judgments about without any critical thought.  Another example I could have focused on at length is about how people make judgments about others being smart.  People who are not smart are hasty to tell others that they are smart.  While their determinations may be true, what are the values and principles they employ for making their claims?  Do they even have any values and principles?  I could continue on and on with examples.

If you’re going to judge people, then make as strong of an effort as possible to ground your judgments in truth.  Try to avoid making judgments about things you have limited or no knowledge about.  Be real with yourself too and don’t try to pretend that you know everything.  If you want to be a qualified judge, then you need to focus on substantive things when you make your judgments.  While I certainly don’t have a problem with people judging others, I just don’t want you to end up looking like a fool because you focused on the wrong things and your conclusions materialize to be completely wrong.

Don’t be a fool.  Make informed, substantive, and wise judgments.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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