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Are we judging too quickly?

February 24, 2011

By AMANDA MORENO

Society has come to judge everyone.

People are judged by the way they dress, the way they speak, how much money they have ... that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are so many labels and not enough chances. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things that can’t be overlooked, some mistakes that can’t be erased and some people who won’t ever change. However, I’m not naïve enough to believe the world is all sunshine and rainbows, but at the same time, I’m not naïve enough to believe that all people are bad and won’t ever change.

Society has come to look down upon the “poor,” the “uneducated,” the “criminal.” Judgements are passed usually before and without ever speaking to the person they are judging. I have been guilty of it, as have those who are usually judged. Insults seem to come freely and stereotypes are assigned before we truly know the facts. Maybe that person is having a bad day, maybe they know no better, maybe they are just out to prove to the world that looking and acting a certain way doesn’t have to define the person you are. There are numerous reasons that a person looks the way they look, but it doesn’t mean that they are any less of a worthy person. Some of the greatest people to make their mark on this world have come from “poor” families and “lowly” circumstances.

The bad thing about stereotypes is that it’s really easy to throw people into them, but all too often, amazing people get written off. Circumstances don’t define a person ––– there are many people who could excel despite their circumstances. There are many people who want to better themselves, but either don’t know how or don’t have the support they need.

I’m not making excuses for those who have made mistakes, but I’m also not going to condemn them. It’s not my place. Once again, I know that not everyone will change or better themselves; some people are perfectly fine with fitting into what society classifies them as, but it doesn’t mean that the ones that want to broke out of the mold and break those barriers should be discouraged from doing so.

Sometimes it takes someone making a mistake for someone to see the errors of their ways. There are some who have to travel down the wrong path, hit rock bottom and lose everything before they wake up. Sometimes it takes dealing with the consequences for a person to realize where they went wrong. Then again, sometimes there is amazing potential laying dormant, but the person containing them buys into the stereotypes and society beliefs and that potential is lost.

People who do change, or at least want to change, are usually on the fence and needing one little push. For some, it’s being tired of living the life they have, others it’s realizing the pain they have caused. For some, falling in love does the trick and others just need to know that someone — one person — cares.

It’s been proven through numerous self-helps and motivational speaking that positive attitudes and encouraging words can do wonders for changing a person’s outlook on life. That being the case, the same should be true for negative thoughts. If a person is fed enough negativity and pushed down enough, eventually their spirit breaks and all hope is lost.

Instead of looking down, passing judgement, and throwing away those who are not what society considers acceptable, why not try and improve the world by helping those people out? Instead of spewing insults, why not spew words of affirmation? Everyone in this world, no matter how down and out they may be, deserves the opportunity to succeed. Everyone deserves to have a family and strive to build the American dream.

Everyone makes mistakes; sometimes people get caught and they pay their dues, but it doesn’t mean that they should be punished and criticized their entire life. Nobody knows the circumstances the person was dealing with; nobody knows the feelings behind it, except that person.

Stealing is wrong, but society rates the mistake on the circumstances when the circumstances are revealed; for example: two men, same age, same race, decide to steal. Both have committed a crime, but one man stole for the pure enjoyment of stealing and feeding a bad habit. The other stole to feed his family of three that has recently become homeless. One will receive sympathy and support from the community; the other will be condemned. When looking on paper the crime is the same but once the stories come to light the looks and thoughts are completely different depending on which man you are looking at.

Everyone was young, carefree and at least once threw out the rules. Some change, some don’t, but it doesn’t mean that the chance to better oneself should ever be taken away.

Every life has the potential to change, for the good and the bad, until that final day and final breath. Remember, just because someone hasn’t been caught and it hasn’t been recorded doesn’t mean that they aren’t a bad person. Same goes for the opposite, just because they have been caught or live in certain circumstances, doesn’t mean that they don’t have potential and aren’t willing to change.

Be careful how you judge because one day it could be you getting judged.

Contact Staff Writer Amanda Moreno at 263-7331 ext. 234, or by e-mail at life@bigspringherald.com

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