Judging people by…

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!”


17 thoughts on “Judging people by…

  1. It’s sad that most of us do judge the book by its cover, if we have the book in front of us that is. On the internet, it is slightly different, many feel that they can say or do things on the Internet as long as they remain anonymous but a word of caution because we only remain anonymous on the face of it but in reality, it might come back and bites you in the butt. I always feel that people judge me all the time, especially judging me base on what I wrote at LV or my blog but I don’t let that to bother me, I guess if I put a face next to my name would be helpful…that way they can judge me base on my looks as well. I might have wrote a lot of stuff that annoys readers but as long as I’m a responsible blogger, then I don’t let their comment gets me, certain things that people said deserves to go in one ear and out the other.

    If I do have to judge you, I’m a bit fearful of you because you came off to me as a teacher and I sometimes feel like I’m one of your mischievous students; I had many strict teachers growing up in Thailand. Sometimes when we try to make a point, we fail to think of other’s feeling and that might have happened on the discussion at LV by one of the commenter, I often don’t know to ‘laugh or cry’ when I read comments made by him, I think you know who I’m talking about and I told this to him numerous times. But like you said, ‘we judge the book by its cover’ and I think deep down inside he might not be a bad person as he appears but its just different ideas that crashes with our own, a good example of ideology of East meets West, and it’s something that we have to come to accept that not everybody think like us, I learn to accept this and learn to let go. I don’t usually get mad, I get even, and often times, I recite the ‘Golden Rule’ wrong. 😉

  2. Laotian Teacher

    Ginger, I don’t mind people disagreeing with me at all. The reason why I read your blog and Darly’s is because you DON’T always agree with me. I just don’t like people to be rude and condescending to others. You and I often disagree, but we don’t call each other names and put each other down. Some of your opinions I don’t agree with but I respect it because it is your point of view. We all have different opinions, backgrounds and experiences and that is what makes our discussion more interesting.

    I know sometimes, I use my “teacher” voice too much and don’t even realize it until others remind me!:) Just because I am a teacher doesn’t mean I think I know everything or above everybody else. In fact my favorite role is that of a student. I like to learn from others not just teach them.:)

  3. dallaslao


    That is you? you look so much like my younger sister. Seriously.

    I really thought you are a 40 something Lao lady. I meant that in a respectable way. =)
    I believe students should respect their teacher and teacher should not try to be a buddy with their student.
    When I hear the title “teacher” I automatically think an older person. I guess it is true we do try to stereotype people.

    On other subject, what can I say that I haven’t already did. LT you know how I feel about it. I know how this person is since the early day of Lao Planet. LT, the way you were treated is horrible. It is unacceptable and I can not tolerate it.

    Ginger, I am glad that you say something about it.

    (Hmm….I emailed Darly twice. First time was 3- 4 months ago and last time was few days ago. I wonder why she did not reply back to me at all. )

  4. Laotian Teacher

    DL, yeap it’s me! That’s funny that I look like your sister! I am 36 years old so that is pretty close to 40! I have some former students who are 26 and one of them actually is teaching here at my school. Her students thought she was joking when she told them I was her teacher. They say I look too young to be her teacher and I just laugh. I might sound like like an old lady but I am really young at heart!

    I agree with you that a teacher should not try to be buddies with their students because then they will treat you like you are one of them. That is a line I will never cross no matter how much I love my students. It’s weird that some of my former students who are in their twenties, still calls me Ms. …

    As a teacher I have to always be aware of my actions and behavior because I see my students everywhere. Even when I am not at work I still have to make sure I am not acting like a fool!:)

  5. amphone

    Wow, forty. You are going to be forty, hmm. But where the recent picture? This photo could have been taken in 1984. Ha ha ah. Just kidding.

    I agree with you on the vibe part. Sometime vibe and gutsy instinct tell you what to do when you go on a judging trip. What I am saying is, when you find that connection and understanding with someones, they just respond well to you.

    Funny, you mentioned classroom days. When I was growing up in Tennessee, we have four Laotian boys all together. We don’t speak English much but we tried to make it through the day and learn something. At the time, Tennessee is still a country town. Streotyping? Oh yes, from head to toe. Not much English so not much conversation then. I was streotyping them too. Nowadays, Tennessee is flooded with Laotians and other Asians. People got used to us. Still, it will take time to blend and mixed well in the pot.

    Still, I think us Asian did pretty good job educating them about us. Now continue to improve.

  6. Laotian Teacher

    Amphone! You are funny! Hahahahahahaah!I was just thinking that today I should have put a note at the bottom of my picture: Picture taken this summer! Just in case you guys thought I used an old picture!

    I am NOT forty yet! I will be 37 on April 24th, but my mom told me my Lao birthday was April 3rd. I am not going to explain it’s too long!

    You know a lot of people thought I had speech problem because when I was in elementary and middle school I did not talk a lot in school because I was embarrassed of my accent.

    I was in Nashville for a National Teacher conference in 2006. I did not get to go site seeing because I had to go to all these workshops. Sadly, I did not get to see any Lao people!

  7. amphone

    Too bad you couldn’t do some site seeing while you’re there. I love going to Nashville for Lao food and site seeing. There’s nice botanical garden inside that great hotel in Nashville. Lao restaurant with raw lab is there. Next town over is Murfreesboro, a good Loa restaurant is there. There are some temples both in Nashville and M’boro. There are a few small stores just to stop by and chat with kon Lao. Half way between M’boro is Chattanooga. There’s lot of Civil War memorial sites there.

    I go to TN every now and then because it’s only 4 hrs drive.

  8. Bob

    Justification is no longer by ‘Faith’ along. Now we must justify ourselves by putting someone next to us down—regardless of who they may be. Is this a part of human nature that we will never be rid of? Is it encoded within our genes? What measures must we take to avoid hurting others and ourselves in the process?

    From Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. Quote:
    When the Buddha was asked to sum up his teaching in a single word, he said “awareness.”

    “…ay, there’s the rub,” Hamlet—Shakespeare


  9. Bob

    “When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart”(Russian Proverb).

    This proverb has a split personality. For younger women, the first part holds true, and the second part simply fades into nothingness. I guess this is why young girls get their hearts broken so often by the ‘bad boys.’ For older women, the entire proverb apply–but it’s too late by then. How ironic!


  10. Laotian Teacher


    I was very disappointed because I didn’t get a chase to go site seeing and see some Lao people. We stayed at a really nice hotel close to Vanderbilt University. I should have just went off on my own instead of waiting on the two people I was with. Lessons learned!:(

  11. Laotian Teacher

    Bob, welcome to my blog! By the way it was nice that someone knew what I was talking about when I had mentioned The Great Gatsby in Nye’s post .

    You had me think of Darwinism again when you said if it is encoded within our genes that we hurt others or put others down because we are trying to justify ourselves. I think for some people they are perpetually in that survival of the “fittest” mode… they are driven by the need to justify themselves and who they are and what they stand for by putting others down…proving their superiority physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. Some people love to say “Aha, I beat I bet you or I am the winner!” in whatever “contest” they perceive themselves to be in.

    As to the measures we take to avoid hurting others, for me it is quite simple. You actually give the answer when you quoted Buddha… in order for us to stop justifying ourselves through hurting others we must be aware that other people are different from us thus they have different points of view, experiences, and background. To me the “rub” is that some of us refuse to get off our high horses and take a hard look at our own shortcomings. To quote Hamlet, “To be or not to be that is the question. It is within our control of how we interact and react to others, how we compare or not compare to others. It is important to me to be openminded and respectful of others no matter what. Having awareness of everything and everyone around is vital to understanding what people are like.

    One of my favorite Buddha quote is ” Desire is the cause of man’s suffering” . Bob, I think some people’s desire or need to make themselves look better than others is a Shakepearian tragedy! Their pride is their downfall!:) Thanks for an invigorating thought!

  12. Bob

    ….Bob, I think some people’s desire or need to make themselves look better than others is a Shakepearian tragedy! Their pride is their downfall!:)…

    “…Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.” Macbeth, Shakespeare

    I feel like I’m a walking “Uncle John’s Quintessential Collection of Notable Quotables: For Every Conceivable Occasion “

  13. Laotian Teacher

    Bob, you are funny! Once again, I love Macbeth. I feel sorry for him because his wife did push him over the edge. She in a sense dominated his good intentions, better judgements and sense of right and wrong. However, her sin or conscience did catch up with her.

    Sadly, Bob, many people will become a victim of being that fool who struts through life imagining his or her own importance!:) As for me I will let my conscience be my voice. As Shakespeare said in King Henry VIII:

    A peace above all earthly dignities,
    A still and quiet conscience.

  14. Bob

    Are we voting for ‘Hillary MacBeth C’ this coming election? Whenever there’s a mention of the lady-Macbeth now a day, I can’t help but to associate that character with the image of Hillary. Don’t get me wrong, I believe Hillary will do a pretty good ‘job’ in office if she is elected. It’s just that’s what the Brits referred to her as when Bill was in office, and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since—‘mixed with basal matters’ of unimaginable proportion. LOL

  15. Laotian Teacher

    Oh my God Bob that is such a good example of the modern day Lady Macbeth!!!!!!!!!! In fact, when my students and I had a discussion of the candidates for the upcoming election some of them keep saying they would not vote for Hillary if she became the democractic nominee. They really believe that during her husband’s presidency , she had a great deal of influence of his decision. As a result, she already had her chance as “president” as they say!

    I don’t know Bob if Hillary wins the presidency, Bill will become the “conniving” Lady Macbeth. I’m sure he will give her advice. I can’t imagine him being silent and letting her govern the way she wants. She seems more domineering between the two of them though!

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