Who Are We To Judge?

I was flipping through reading some blogs and came across a whiplash over something a blogger posted in a meager attempt to be funny. There was a tremendous fury among bloggers over it. I read their responses to it , but not the actual post as she deleted it. These rebuttals named the blog by title, but I will not. I will say it is NOT a blog I normally read nor were the ones commenting and posting their own takes on it. In fact I did come across it once but it just wasn’t the sort of blog that catches my interest. Anyway, from my understanding of the responses, this blogger posted something about the behavior of a child in a public venue and blamed it on poor parenting. I’d say most of us have been guilty of judging other people’s parenting skills at one time or another due to their child’s behavior. Personally, it has always come back to bite me in the butt! Any time I’ve opened my trap, one of my kids would turn around and do something to top what I had complained about!

Anyway, the episode this woman described appeared to point to a particular disease according to those familiar with the disease. Now, no one knows (it is an assumption) whether this child had the disease or was acting like a spoiled child as she put it. This woman never said anything to the adult in charge or the child. She minded her own business. She wrote about it on her blog in an effort to be humorous. She was accused of being insensitive to the disease because they thought she should have known the symptoms. I honestly don’t know that I would have recognized the symptoms. I am by no way dismissing the disease, I am being honest about my ability to recognize it as such. I know as wrong as it might be, I have silently thought certain children were behaving horribly in public and blamed their parents for not controlling them. I don’t know whether these particular children had medical conditions that warranted that behavior or if they were just ill behaved. The point I feel is that these people who jumped all over this lady for being insensitive and “ignorant” of the disease were doing the same thing they accused her of doing. Then, apparently when she apologized there were still complaints that she might have said she was sorry but was not educating herself or advocating the disease. Come on, how many of us know the symptoms of every disease? How many of them do we advocate for unless we are directly affected by them? I just think the whole thing is a bit unsettling.

Have you ever been insulted about something in your life? Have your feelings really been hurt? What did you do about it? I’ve raised an ADD child and one who was diagnosed as ADHD, but later deemed misdiagnosed. Anyway, I know a lot of us talk about our ADD or our Alzheimer’s. Most people are ok with others using those terms. Then there are the jokes about rednecks, Polacks, and blondes. And we laugh, don’t we?

I speak with a lisp. I hate it, but I can’t make it go away. I’ve learned to live with it. When I was younger I was teased a little over it. I had to learn to toughen up. As an adult, I might still be teased, but most people are respectful because it’s not something I can help. Once, I interviewed for a job and the dentist who interviewed me told me that life must be very difficult for me in trying to overcome such a difficult obstacle. I was floored and didn’t know how to respond because my lisp is only slight, quite minor compared to some speech impediments. I’m sure you know that I didn’t get that job. But what is ironic about it is that the very same day I had another interview and was hired by another dentist who was his BEST FRIEND. Talk about irony. So, this man had to deal with me on a weekly basis referring patients and scheduling their lunches. I worked for this dentist for almost ten years. He actually refused my resignation when I decided to quit to stay home with my children and held my job for three months in case I changed my mind. Gee, sorry, I went off on a tangent there. I guess what I’m saying is that my feelings were hurt, but I didn’t raise a stink over it. I really don’t think he realized he was insensitive. I think he was probably curious. I’m telling you this to let you know that I have been ridiculed, and I have also judged others. Having been on both sides of the fence, I don’t think the grass is greener on either side.

I find it odd that we’re critical and judgmental and at the same time have become an overly politically- correct nation. But it all depends on whose feathers are ruffled. I think the various realms of our society picks and chooses who or what is within limits of judgment. But isn’t judgment all together wrong? And then again, isn’t it only human to err?

Please tell me what you think, but don’t attack the messenger!

“We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” ~ Ian Percy

47 thoughts on “Who Are We To Judge?

  1. I know exactly what you’re speaking of, I didn’t get to read the offensive post either since it was deleted, but I did read her resulting apology and think that should be enough to stop the braying attackers. I tend to keep any deprecation to myself or things I do, but I’ve treaded a few misteps myself. I think people need to keep an open mind in the blogosphere, for unless someone is blatantly attacking someone else, we never know what really happened.

    • It makes me want to second guess every time I try to be snarky and wonder if I’m going to unintentionally offend someone! In fact, I did a post along time ago about an incident of being near someone…and now, I wonder if that person had a medical condition rather than being what I considered a bit odd….fortunately, I didn’t have many readers at the time!

  2. I think that we are all to quick to judge and sometimes so busy point fingers we don’t see what we are ourselves are doing.

    I think that assuming and judging (just like your sis posted about her hubby) is something I do, so that is why I posted about the Energy Allies. If we all kept those four as our constant companions we all might handle things better. I know I would.

    I think people would get “offended” less if they assumed less.

    Since I don’t know the post that your talking about I am sort of just dancing (I love to dance) around the issue. But I get tired of “Political Correctedness”, sometimes I think it is a synonym for “lack of common sensedness”.

  3. There was a man who had a blog. I think he was a good man. He cared for his wife who had been diagnosed with a terrible disease. He put a very inappropriate comment on a post of mine and I deleted it. I emailed him and told him it was inappropriate and that’s why I deleted it. This man took his name from my “followers” list but then later re-appeared. I felt fine about all of it.

    Later, the same man did something inappropriate again. I think he was chastised by a whole team of bloggers. I don’t know why he did what he did. I’m sorry this happened. I would not judge him or his words or the other bloggers who jumped on him for anything. It’s just not me to act if I don’t understand what is going on. Sometimes I think I have a weird sense of humor. “I could have robbed a bank but instead I boinked a cab driver because I was bored” has nothing to do with cabdrivers at all. It’s not meant to be insulting. It’s not indicating it’s a bad thing to do. But if it was interpreted that way, I would apologize. Man, I’m going on and on.

    Sorry, Suzicate, you rock and i can’t really imagine you causing anyone “hesitation.” And also, rotten spoiled kids are a pain the ass. I’m just sayin…

    • Your boinking a cab driver comment cracked me up! I think I might know the incident you’re taling about…actually not the incident, but the blog. I didn’t know what I happened but figured something must have. I have read about a few different things going on.

  4. My aunt speaks with a lisp and a studder as well.

    The first thing that came to mind was:

    “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:2

  5. I’ve found that people on the Internet can be the most cruel of all because they can hide behind anonymity. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right?
    -Jen

  6. I’ve thought something similar to this post many times. Some people seem to just love being offended. I’ll admit I have days when I feel like the whole world conspires against whatever I am — a woman, a mother, not a size 2 — but I know that it’s not really true, and I generally try to get over myself. God knows I’ve said my share of stupid stuff, and blogging does have the unfortunate effect of being out there where anyone can read it (until you delete it after you get flamed by a bunch of angry villagers with torches). If she apologized, they should have a frozen yogurt and chill the eff out.

  7. First, let me say how well I think you addressed this issue — very thoughtful and well laid out. And now, I am going to say, that is me making a judgment. I think we all make judgments every day, all day long, because that is part of what it means to be human. The problem is, we often make judgments too quickly, without all the information or even bothering to think through other possible reasons for the situation at hand or what the other person might be feeling. And that is unfortunate and a disservice to ourselves as well as those we judge. (I’m sure that first dentist thought he was being empathetic when, hello! he was being rather insulting.) At the same time, as you say, when we get too easily offended, we are also judging the person who is making light of the situation, perhaps offensively but perhaps not intentionally. So I guess what I really think is that everyone needs to think just a bit more of the wide range of possibilities that could lead to/surround/be responsible for anyone’s actions. And lighten up! If we think the best of people rather than the worst, we could all get along so much better.

    My own fault tends to lie in taking offense too easily…I am trying not to do that, but it can be hard.

  8. Thank you Suzi! I was thinking the same thing this morning. You are just braver than me. Being still kind of new I didn’t want to rock the boat but you said it right. It sometimes makes me wonder when I might say something that sets someone off and that I will be the brunt of the firestorm. Looks like it can get brutal sometimes. You ROCK!

  9. Absolutely fabulous post. We so easily judge others and make up reasons for certain things we see without having any information. It neither serves the people we are judging or ourselves! And it ALWAYS comes back to bite us in the ass. I have done the same thing–thinking what terrible parents couldn’t control their kids in public—UNTIL I had my own stepson. Oh, no, Miss Scarlett.

  10. Hi Suzicate…I totally agree with everything you wrote. I have reflected a lot on the issue of judgement this past year. Since I was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I was completely sensitive to the lack of education or what I deemed ‘inorance” by those who I shared my diagnosis with. I have to say I judged beyond compare. How could they not know what I had??? Why do they make stupid comments??? The list of my thoughts goes on and on. It finally dawned on me we are all slaves of our own internal reality. We think everyone sees the work as we do. However, everyone’s reality is unique and skewed toward their life experiences.Hence, we can take an off the cuff comment made by someone and to us it might seem like the biggest insult…even if that person never intended it as such. Human interaction….fascinating huh!!!

  11. We all think we know better. We all think we’re right. We all judge. And we all make mistakes. It’s so easy to misplace our empathy and forget that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt sometimes, from the blogger you’re talking about to the child she wrote about. Thanks for the reminder, SuziCate.

  12. The quote at the end of your post is perfectly fitting for your post. I think that the whole PC thing that’s going on now is good in many ways because it may teach a lot of people [eventually] to be respectful of other cultures or nations. But then sometimes it seems that all it does is make the gaps between people even larger by everyone being so careful about insulting each other.
    It seems to me that part of human nature is this instinct to ridicule others. Maybe it’s a leftover of evolution where the strongest survive. The other good thing about being PC is that it makes me feel that at least we’re aware of our rapid judgmental traits.

    I’m quite horrified at the tactless dentist you interviewed with. I find it extremely odd that he really dared to ask you a question like this in a job interview.

  13. you will see some really harsh and nasty criticism in internet-

    just like you I too hate to judge others, i usually keep away from things which dont suit me without judging.

  14. People do make assumptions, and of course, those assumptions are almost always ignorant.

    I do see some real venom-slingers in cyberspace; I doubt any of them would be so vitriolic if speaking face-to-face with someone.

  15. OMG, ever since I started blogging I’ve been amazed how cruel some people can be in their comments. I think blogging makes people feel they can say what they want without first thinking hard about what they’re saying.

    I allow people to say what they wish in their comments as long as it’s not hateful or nasty. I’ve actually deleted certain comments and told them never to return. Fortunately, I haven’t had too many of those in four years.

    I agree with dreamfarmgirl. I think we all make judgements everyday (I know I do), but sometimes we make them too quickly by not knowing the full story or putting ourselves in someone elses shoes.

    Yes, most definately…I’ve been insulted many times about being gay. I’ve actually had cutomers call me a faggot right on the sales floor. And do my feelings still get hurt? Yes, but I know that their insults are coming from fear.

    Faaaaaabulous post, SC!

    You totally rock!

    X

  16. I read some of the criticisms of the blog in question, but did not get to read the actual blog or the apology. I think those who leapt to judgement probably acted in haste. As someone who has been the parent of a child with that disease (really, I’ve never thought of it as a disease, more a disorder) for nearly twenty years, I guess my skin has hardened somewhat. I think that you can educate people without attacking them. Most people are ignorant not only of the symptoms (and it’s such a wide spectrum of disorder that there can be varying symptoms) but the proper way of dealing with behaviors. This doesn’t make them bad people. It just means it hasn’t touched their lives yet. Many people are sympathetic, understanding, and suitably chastised with a few well spoken words. Instead of criticizing those who don’t know about this disorder, criticism should be focused on those (no celebrity names mentioned here “JM”) who want to claim that it can be “cured”. They give false hope to parents of newly diagnosed children and unnecessary guilt to those of older children.

    I think your post was beautifully crafted, as always Suzicate. And I agree…people who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.

    ♥Spot

  17. I am very… lets call it “Anti” ADD & ADHD. It is so often miss-diagnosed and I don’t truly believe it exists. Our culture dump kids in school and expects them to “Excell” and “Learn life lessons”. What part of drugs and gangs is a good “Life lesson”. I know a great parent who uses the public school’s but she is VERY on top of it. I think it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their kids… not the states’. And with 6 million kids in America on Ritalin I fear we have become a nation whose first response is to drug with mind numbing medication. How many brilliant children act out because the are BORED? I mean you can get the entire amount of math learned in high school in under 100 hours of seat time? I am a heavy advocate for alternative education. I think kids should be taught the way America’s founders were taught. By their parents, mentors, scholars… reading the texts of brilliant people. Our public school system is a mess and a waste of money. How much could you do with $15,000 per kid? Lets make the class sizes (this is the least we could do) shall we?

    Excuse my rant. I obviously feel strongly about this.

    • My hubby has strong opinions about it (public schools and medication) as well. I won’t go into detail, but it was a struggle finding the right process for our children. They learn and excel by different methods. We had wished that private school had been an option but at least we live in one of the best school districts in our state.

    • Mitchell, I wish I could be in your position and believe that ADHD doesn’t exist. I wish I could think that it was only an issue of bored kids and substandard education. But I can’t because I live with two people who are correctly diagnosed with a very real disease called ADHD every day. It is real, Mitchell. Saying you are anti-ADHD is the same as saying you are anti-diabetes. If ADHD could be wished or educated away, then I would be the first person to line up. But it can’t because it’s a disease , a physical disease.

      It is potentially life wreckingly real and it is way, way more than bored kids who can’t focus in a public school classroom.

      I won’t argue with you that it is misunderstood and there are problem with over-diagnosis, but those two things do not make ADHD imaginary.

      • Megan, I feel your pain. My husband and I diagreed over treatment of our children’s diagnosed conditions. (One of which was years later said to be mis diagnosed rather outgrown the the condition) It was equally frustating for us as parents as well as our chidren. We have one child who also was diagnosed with an auditory sequence learning disabilty who refused to get help for it in college (IEP in school, son’t know what it’s called in college). It has been a long road and we hopefully see college graduation in the near future. Let’s just say a four year degree has taken much longer. He is afaraid of being labeled yeat again and letting his professors know. I wish he’d listen that to us in seeking help. And he plans to go on to seek his Masters. Anyway, my husband did not think it was real because he listened to a lot of talk radio, but he did see the difference that medication made. It is not an easy process for anyone involved. I can’t say that I know exactly what you’ve gone through except what I’ve read on your blog (and I commend all efforts on your part). However, I do know some of the pain and frustation in daily and academic life that most people have no clue. I do like your reference to diabetes. I had someone refer to my taking medication for depression in the same way. I think people tend to sometimes be opinionated about things that they have not experienced or are educated about.

  18. Just a few days ago I found myself judging another blogger in my mind and caught myself. I realize these thoughts say more about what I need to work on in myself, than anything.

    And I think of what Mother Theresa taught “When we judge, we do not leave room for love.” She was a smart one!!

    xo

  19. One of the problems with writing, whether it’s emails or whatever, is that the reader can’t hear any tonal inflections, and will kind of place their own personality to things. My husband and I noticed that–again–this weekend. He was all set to send a pretty snarky response to somebody because he thought that the response to an email he had sent about a soccer fundraising question was sarcastic and basically telling him not to waste their time. His first thought was to retalliate (which he wouldn’t be so quick to do if it wasn’t through email–he’s pretty much a pussy cat most of the time!). But I read the response to his initial question, and didn’t see sarcasm at all, just an explanation of what had happened and an apology if procedure wasn’t followed in our case.

    If we would just stop, regroup, let go of any tendency toward being offended, and give people the benefit of the doubt, realizing that the majority of people don’t deliberately go out trying to offend, there would be a lot less unecessary drama in the world. Heaven knows there’s enough that happens sometimes without any help from us, anyway!

    And let me tell you, the way my kid was racing around the shoe store the other day–I wanted to die. But I was dealing. Over and over. Three year old boys are just generally not cut out for sitting in one place while Mommy shops. But I did get some disapproving looks. And again today when I turned to pay for something and he was like a shot over in the nearby *gasp* china! I was over there immediately saving the china, but not without a nasty look from saleslady. Lessons: A) Don’t judge unless you’re the kid’s parents and know exactly what they’re dealing with and B) Bring along the little doggy backpack/leash dealy when going to the mall with by myself with Adam in the future.

  20. Good points!

    My philosophy tends to resemble that of the late, great George Carlin. What he said about television is, if you don’t like it, there are 2 knobs that can help you out – the volume (turn it down) or the channel dial (switch to another station). Obviously a very very old joke.

    Sort of the same thing with blogs. Blog authors get to write whatever they want. If you don’t like reading it, you can click to a previous entry or navigate to zappos.com and shop for shoes.

    Nastiness just isn’t that productive.

  21. I’m with you on this one SC, we are not put on this earth to judge and when we do that’s when feelings are hurt.

    What can we do to stop it, nothing I am afraid and if someone posted something on a blog that offended another person and they then deleted the post after pressure from fellow bloggers then was it justified, I can’t make that decision maybe it was because they chose to delete it.

    OK to sum it up I’ll go back to where I started we are not put on this earth to judge, and if those fellow bloggers forced the deletion of that post in an attempt to protect someone it’s one thing and if it happened because they simply didn’t like or agree with the post then Shame On Them. I don’t always agree with all of my fellow bloggers posts and thats when I come back later for the next post rather than making an issue of something I am not being forced to read.

    We are here for each other not to judge each and every post, some posts are good and others are nothing but rants but isn’t that the way life is.

  22. Leaping to conclusions, passing quick judgments, are pitfalls we can fall into so easily. I’m certainly no saint in that regard, and have to keep reminding myself not to do it.
    I also think that people have a tendency to leave a written reaction on the internet that they would not have spoken when face to face to a person.

  23. There are certain hot topic issues–politics, women’s rights, and parenting–that can garner a great deal of criticism when handled seemingly inappropriately. It can get frustrating to see and read.

    I must tell you, though, I understand that dentist. I have said many offensive things without meaning to be offensive. I am curious and often ask about things I probably shouldn’t. I don’t mean curious like a gossip, but curious because I appreciate how different we all are. I share my weaknesses quite openly and am okay with queries regarding them. I’m probably not making very much sense but I will tell you this–not making a big deal of what that dentist said is really awesome.

  24. I don’t know if I read that post or not. It sounds vaguely familiar? Anyhow, I think that with the politically correct temperature of the nation being what it is…that it’s very nearly impossible to talk about anything without someone being accidentally hurt.

  25. thanks Suz for the awesome post.I think that people tend to approach the same from different perspectives depending on our backgrounds, pysche and experience; yet it’s bad to be judgemental.there are other tactful ways to point out a disturbing action.

  26. “I find it odd that we’re critical and judgmental and at the same time have become an overly politically- correct nation.”

    This is it in a nutshell.
    I loved youir post, although I wish I had read and knew of which blog/post you spoke of. There have been times when I’ve thought perhaps my ‘take’ on things might offend someone, as it’s never my intention to do so, but on the other hand…isn’t a blog ones own right to speach?
    Hmm…thought provoking, isn’t it.

    Thanks SuziCate! Again! :-)

  27. Sadly, I’m guilty myself of the same offense as you describe. Type-II bipolar disorder has caused me to get myself into significant trouble at home and at work, yet I’ve been guilty of assuming child rearing or personality issues when I see, or am affected by, others’ “bad” behavior.

    Thankfully I’ve begun to recognize with I’m being judgmental and then reconsider my thinking process on the spot. The scary part is the number of times during a typical day that I have to self-correct; someone in the store wearing slippers and pajama bottoms, a person behind the counter that is just waaaay too slow, a driver cutting a corner while speeding through a parking lot — the list goes on and on.

    The good news is that I’m finding my own day goes so much better and I have more smiles on my face as I halt the negative thinking that will one day be the exception in my own life than the rule.

    Thanks for sharing your observations and reminding me that my own “bad” habits require attention from me every single moment of every single day.
    :-)

  28. I’m sure folks judge me and my daughter for lugging around three extremely over active boys. As long as those folks don’t say something bad about them to their faces, I’m okay with that. Everyone has their opinions.

    For me blogging is about telling about yourself and life experiences, entertaining your followers and being about to express yourself when it might not be appropriate to do so in public.

    Great post Suzicate!

  29. “I find it odd that we’re critical and judgmental and at the same time have become an overly politically- correct nation. But it all depends on whose feathers are ruffled. I think the various realms of our society picks and chooses who or what is within limits of judgment. But isn’t judgment all together wrong? And then again, isn’t it only human to err?”

    Suziecate? I totally love you. I think you are just completely amazing.

  30. Pingback: Simon Cowell lives in your head; tell him to shut the f-ck up « Still breathing

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