Happy Valentine's Day.
So... I'm very conscious of what I write right now because I know my mum reads this but here goes.
A while back I went on a date with a non-white male. He was Turkish but he clearly identified himself as being white. Quite early on in the date he asked me if I liked white men or black men. I told him I don't have a preference. The conversation moved on, we questioned each other about our families and jobs and the like and then somehow the conversation came back to our dating histories and he asked me if my ex-boyfriend was black or white. I said he was black. Then he asked me what colour the boyfriend before him was. I said he was white. "Oh so you like white guys." He says. I almost wanted to go against everything I believe in and scream, I don't see people like that. Of course I see people like that, I'm not blind. What I mean to say is that I don't judge people like that.
Martin Luther King Jr had a dream that his children might someday be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. What King didn't ask for was no judgement. We have to judge. You make judgements about the people you trust, the people you depend upon and the people you listen to for advice. The problem isn't making a judgement, the problem is what we base that judgement on.
Everyone quotes Jesus saying 'Judge not, so you may not be judged' forgetting that he also said, 'Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.' In order to live in this world without getting fleeced and trodden upon by everyone, we have to make judgements. The key is to be mindful of what we make those judgements on. Several years back a woman by the name of Susan Boyle became a household name in the UK because she dared to be unattractive and talented. The judgement that was made about her based on her appearance almost made people ignore her talent. The Voice is supposedly based on the concept that contestants are judged blindly so the panel can judge them solely on their talent. At least for the first round anyway.
Human beings are aesthetic creatures. We seek out beauty and create beauty but our eyes are deceiving. It's said that up to two thirds of the brain is involved in vision. Sight is not truth. What we see is our brain's interpretation of the stimulants from the outside world. Don't believe me? What colour is a tennis ball? Now ask a friend what colour a tennis ball is and see what they say. Or do you remember that black and blue dress that blew the internet up? Or wait, was it gold and white?
Author and Entrepreneur Isaac Lidsky gave a Tedtalk about the unreliability of sight that you can view here. In the talk he lays out how we cannot trust our sight to show us reality. We can't trust in our sight to make judgements. So how do we judge?
We need to stop judging looks but we need to start judging character. Character is not how a person looks or dresses or how rich or smart they are. Character is when what someone says aligns with how they act. Character is what a person does when they don't think anyone is watching. Maya Angelou said, 'when a person shows you who they are, believe them.' Don't excuse them, don't apologise for them, believe them and make your judgements based on that.
Martin Luther King said to judge by 'the content of their character' so why are we continuing to put our lives in the hands of people whose content is still loading?