Everyday, we come in contact with other people on the street, at the grocery store, a school or at our jobs. Some people we interact with everyday and others we will never meet again. However, brief or long our contact with others, we all do one thing: judge them! It is an almost unconscious thing we do which can happen in the few seconds we see these people. With the barest flicker of our eyes we scan our “subjects” and file away the bits and pieces of information we gather and in that abbreviated amount of time we come up with our conclusion of what we think that person is like. For some of us, the first thing we notice is the person’s color or race and we mentally make an educated guess as to their ethnicity. Then there are some of us who notice the shape of the person because they are fat or skinny. Even though we don’t want to admit it we make snap judgements and correlate the fat person as unhealthy or someone who doesn’t take very good care of themselves. For all we know that person could be a top marathon runner, but our sterotypes of them might have obscure our reasoning.
Some people will even try to equate the way a person dresses to a particular job such as a man in a suit must be a lawyer or a businessman. Also, some will even go as far as to assume that a person who is immaculately dressed is successful, driven, ambitious and charming. In contrast some of us will assume that a person who dresses poorly must not have a good job, doesn’t care about themselves or have any self-pride. Once again these are all assumptions we make about others based on our own beliefs or experience. Sometimes our judgments and evaluations are valid. However, there will be times when our stereotypes and critiques are way off base. The most important thing is for us to recognize and acknowledge that, “When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart”(Russian Proverb).
I consider myself a good judge of character and sometimes I base my interactions with people based on the vibe I pick up from them. I usually know when people want to talk or want to be left alone. I consider myself a people person meaning I love being around others. I am quite gregarious, but I have not always been as extroverted when I was in middle school. In fact, some of my class mates thought I was too shy and serious because I didn’t like to talk in class. Of course, my friends and family knew better because I would talk their ears off when I got the chance!
Stereotyping and judging people occurs daily for all of us. In fact, some of you probably made some snap judgements about me based on the way I look, do my hair, dress or even smile. As a teenager I had many of my class mates stereotype me based on my race. As a student, I was considered smart because I was Asian. Many of my classmates loved to sit next to me, by me or behind me so they could cheat off of me on the test. Some were subtle like Sammy in my Geography class who would slightly stretch his head to the side in a veiled attempt to see the answers. Then there are people like my friend Jackie who did not try to hide her intention and would straight out ask me for the answers.
I could go on and on about Asian stereotypes, but most of you probably know it already.It is only natural that we judge people because as humans we are curious creatures. Just remember don’t forget the old adage; ” Do not judge a book by its cover!”