Are Judgmental People at Risk for Discrimination Lawsuits?
The Questions We Ask
Do you judge people as soon as you see them? If you do, then how does it make you feel? Are you guilty of being cynical about someone when the opposite might be true. Finally, how far do you judge people and is it relatively minor or significant?
We know people judge you as soon as they see you. In fact, it's the first thing people tell you when preparing for a job interview. You must look the part otherwise your chances of getting hired are much lower.
Other cases of being judgmental range from the innocent to the devastating when legal action is involved. Legal action usually results from either character assassination or a defamation of character where slander and other false accusations arise.
People often don't realize just how serious accusations are, and false accusations are often brought up because of our initial judgement placed upon someone we don't even know very well.
This begs the question of how judgmental are you exactly?
Well the answer lies in how you treat others everyday and whether or not you care about how other people feel.
We Judge the Outside
What are your first thoughts when you see an overweight man who is sloppily dressed? My initial thought would be that he eats a lot of fast food, lacks willpower, and is possibly lazy (certainly when it comes to exercise).
But maybe he has a thyroid condition, got let go from a prestigious job, and is either unemployed or works a minimum wage blue collar job. You would never think that right away, but that's our nature as human beings. We always think the worst until we really get to know the person.
Now imagine in another scenario in which you are seeing a highly attractive woman with a curvy figure and other added assets along with model like features. What would you think now?
Her beauty is the first thing most people would notice, especially men (well they'll eventually notice her stunning facial features). Perhaps they'll feel she's some sort of model that's high maintenance, vain, and not too bright. Worst of all, they might only see her as an object of lust instead of a person.
In reality, maybe she's a surgeon or works a skilled labor job. She may not care about how she looks most days and prefers the small over the immaculate. She could be your ordinary female persona, but people may never view her in that way.
Like I stated, they'll likely question her intelligence particularly if she has blonde hair with some work done. It's disgusting to think people view others that way, but even those examples are relatively tame.
Yes they may be sexist and focus mostly on physical traits, but things only get worse from here on out. I have yet to touch on the next level of character judgement, and this level is often the surprise that no one expected to happen.
When Judging Becomes Life Changing
In this section we start getting into the stereotypical nature of different people with additional emphasis regarding sex stereotypes as well as racial and cultural stereotyping.
Do you believe you have the ability to identify a serial killer from a high school teacher or a rapist from a physician?
Imagine meeting someone who looks like a lawyer, is articulate, well-mannered, charismatic, and charming. They seem like a fantastic person right? Well how would you feel if that same person actually turned out to be a brutal murderer.
(Side Note: Notice how the description above will make people assume the murderer is most likely male even though that wasn't directly stated.)
It's not your fault for assuming they were a great person, but it teaches us a vital lesson about perception. Employers hire those types of people, completely unaware of how dangerous they are yet they'll never give a second look to someone who is highly qualified, good Samaritan but once served a minor prison sentence.
They also wouldn't look at someone who has ear gauges, tattoos & piercings everywhere that's dressed in black despite having a 4.0 G.P.A. and outstanding qualifications. Again we see how our perception gets tested, and it often doesn't end very well.
Would You Hire an Ex-Convict
We Hate People We Don't Know
Why do some people already dislike someone they don't even know?
There are men and women who won't talk to the opposite sex just because they don't look the part. For some women, if you're not physically attractive or muscular enough, then they'll either ignore you or throw insults in your direction.
Men can do the same to other females at clubs and bars though it's fairly uncommon to see that occur compared to how females may treat other males in terms of rejection. And no this isn't sexist because historically and biologically females are far more exclusive than males when it comes to selecting a partner.
Bottom line is that we might hate someone just by looking at them, and unfortunately this includes other cultures, ethnicities, and races, which challenge social and legal issues.
We often feel that we have the ability to judge someone internally because of their facial expressions. We are more drawn to someone who is smiley and friendly than the opposite.
However it may turn out that Mr. Smiley is deceptive and engages in criminal activities while Mr. Frowny is actually extremely helpful and kind. People's facial expressions may indicate certainly personality traits, but they aren't strong enough to identify the person's inner self.
There's no way of knowing how someone is going to be like without getting to know them directly, but sadly people would rather just look at the cover than read the book.
What doesn't make sense is why we continue to do this (meaning judge) when we get judged by others. Shouldn't we be more sympathetic and understanding given how people view us?
Apparently not because a person who is judged for being unattractive has the audacity to judge someone else for that same reason. The hypocrisy is really becoming like the 8th deadliest sin.
How Bad Do You Feel?
Are you remorseful for being so judgmental? We see this all the time on talent shows (see video above).
You see a person, think you know what they're all about, and end up with egg on your face. The last thing you want is to feel like an idiot.
But now naturally there's also a level of guilt we feel, but it doesn't stop us from judging someone next time. So we might feel a little bit guilty, but in the end it comes and goes. We oddly enough get a little bit giddy when our initial judgement of others turns out to be correct, and we feel the opposite when we turn out to be wrong.
Some people may tell me that it's impossible not to judge someone and that may be true.
However instead of assuming only one judgment about a person, we should consider a few more.
This won't stop us from judging the next person we see, but we'll begin to turn the first few pages of their book. We may not like the introduction or the summary, but at least we've opened our minds a tad and at least made an effort to look beyond the cover or exterior.