Judging. We all do it. We have to, or else we couldn’t pick food at the grocery store or decide what house to buy/school to attend or send our children to/clothes to wear/book to read/car to drive.
We say that people shouldn’t judge and that we should just be allowed to be who we are, but that’s not practical. We have to put people into categories, or we can’t function as a society. How do we know which people are in the hospital as patients and which are giving care? How do we know who gets to stand behind the podium to teach/lecture and who sits in desks to learn? If we had to take the time to get to know every single person in every single interaction of our life, we would be exhausted and not able to carry out any transactions.
So…we need labels. We need to put people into boxes. We need to say that something or someone is wrong and people should stop hurting others. We need someone to stand up and say, “Hold on, you can’t do that.”
But because we’re human and sometimes we really suck, we put people in positions who abuse that power or use it incorrectly. Then we use judgment to belittle, exclude, silence, and to shame.
We need to judge. Most of the time, we judge in ways that benefit ourselves and our communities (think of medical professionals judging triage of patients and who needs urgent care first)…so why do we screw it up so badly the other times?
“You are this.” “You can’t be this.” “You don’t deserve to call yourself this.” “You do this.” “You are not a REAL (DDer, woman, lesbian, or pick the label of your choice).
It all boils down to one sentiment: “You don’t belong.”
We SUCK at trying to include people in our tiny circles. Too often, if we feel we don’t belong, we leap at the first chance to find a place where we belong…and then we slam the door behind us to keep everyone else out.
There are two people in blogland who were geniuses at creating spaces where people could belong. One is Bonnie of My Bottom Smarts, and the other was Bas (who left us more than one year ago.) They both transcended political boundaries and reached out to anyone and everyone who wanted to join. Their presences are very much missed.
How can we come together as a community to use judging in a constructive way?