In my late teens to early twenties I worked behind the bar of a rugby and football club. For a while we had a woman working there whose adult children would often come into the bar to drink when she was working.
Now the outward appearance of this family, probably wasn't what you'd consider the most appealing. Mum was very thin and ragged looking. Not sure how often her hair got brushed and her shoes were falling apart on her feet. The children had the look of… well I believe some referenced the movie “Deliverance”. I only remember two of the daughters distinctly, one had dark hair and one of her eyes pointed the wrong way. The other was an anomaly within the family, blonde and attractive. She stood out like a sore thumb, because she was nothing like the rest.
One day mum told me the story of this pretty, blonde daughter which explained the vast difference in appearance. This girl wasn’t her biological daughter, she was abused by her family and used to constantly be over at her house to get away from them. Eventually she officially adopted her as her own.
It would have been easy to make a judgement on this family by their outward appearance and level of neatness that I would have been embarrassed to leave the house in, but they were really some of the loveliest people I've ever met and I was glad to know them.
I've never been one to judge on appearance; as they say, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I think these days we're getting much better at not judging on appearances, but there seems to be an awful lot of judgement over differing values coming up, particularly in the social media sphere. It's painful to see people verbally tearing each other apart over a minor difference in opinion, when both their values are actually looking at the same larger picture, but they're quibbling over details.
This world has over 7 billion people in it and its pretty much guaranteed that their values will be in line with their experiences and the countries they've grown up in. If someone halfway across the world isn't in line with the same values as yourself, then the chances are that there could be a very good reason for it. You can't know their circumstances.
Growing up, racism wasn't even a concept I was aware of. I was introduced to it through a story about someone in the US, from around the 60s. I thought it shocking and was pleased that it no longer existed. You can call me naïve, but I really had, had no experience of racism and truly believed that it no longer existed…at least for a time. Fast forward to the current climate and the current “islamophobia.” I was having a conversation with my sister and she was slamming the “irrational” fear mongering surrounding the current, British Muslim population. Having heard lots of rational arguments on both sides of the situation, I pointed out that we can't know for certain where someone's fear has come from. A woman might fear all Muslims, because she was attacked by some bad ones. She may have never been attacked by anyone else of any other race or religion before, so her brain associates all Muslims as bad. Someone who has good friends who are Muslim knows that, like any race or group, most of them are good people, but there are some bad ones. For each person, their reality is true.
You may have seen this cartoon doing the rounds.
Does it make either one bad, because their values don't match in this instance? Take that particular truth out of the equation and the chances are they could both be lovely people and get on with each other just fine.
I have an uncle who was quite racist. I don't think he would have ever harassed anyone over their race, but he made it clear that he didn't like darker skinned people much. His beloved daughter fell in love with someone of African descent. I'm pretty sure they got on just fine after the initial shock was over! She's still with him to this day and daddy still loves his girl. Sometimes we just need proof that our fears are unfounded.
Another topic that gets hugely heated arguments going is diet ethos. No, I don't mean those weight loss diets, I mean what people choose to eat. This is an area I find I do have to bite my tongue to not be judgmental with, sometimes. It gets particularly touchy, because the truth is that depending on where your ancestors evolved or even if you have genetic health issues, the diet you can thrive on is not going to be the same as what the person next to you can thrive on. In the western world particularly, we are an extremely mixed genetic melting pot and our genetics will have throwbacks to different ancestors. In my own family alone, we all respond to diets differently. My sister is currently vegetarian and thrives on it. When she first decided that was the diet she wanted, we were rather surprised, because growing up, she loved her meat. As a child, I was actually the vegetarian, but it made me malnourished. I loved animals and even dabbled with the idea of veganism, but it seems that my digestive system struggles to extract the nourishment I need from plants alone.
For a long time I wondered how it could be that my sibling can do well on a diet that I can't. The clue probably comes from our appearances. My sister, like my mother, looks Mediterranean, while I look like I came in with the Viking raids. When you think of how people living in cold climates would have struggled to access any plants at certain times of the year, then it starts to make sense that they may have developed a different type of digestive system to thrive on a high meat (and fat, in the case of the Inuit) diet.
On the other hand, as much as some people don't like to believe it, there are those who truly thrive on a vegan diet. There are areas on this planet where plant life is abundant year round and plenty of animals will live in those places, people included. I'm pretty sure they would have grazed on that plant life and enjoyed fruits every day.
Then there are junk food eaters…at this point I'm really trying not to judge their food choices, but in all honesty, I can't help myself! We all make judgements, it's a fact of life. However, it doesn't mean I have to judge the whole person on that one value. There are certain foods I just won't touch, (Mountain Dew Mouth anyone?) because I know I don't want that in my body, but it doesn't make me superior to the person who wants to consume them, just because I might think I make a better choice.
I'm very waste conscious and it bugs me when people aren't more conscious themselves with waste. However, I'm surrounded by people I love who think I'm over the top and that it’s not that important. There are days when I end up fishing things out of the bin to put into recycling or the compost, because they can't be bothered to sort it themselves. It doesn't mean they don't care, it's just that it would so much easier for them if the manufacturers didn't sell them in all that packaging in the first place. They'd be happy to see better alternatives, but it's too much like hard work, when you're busy anyway, to source better options yourself when it's all so convenient…
I know them and I know they are good people. Knowing this, how can I then judge strangers by my own values, if I don't know where they are coming from and what their situation is? I'm sure that with some people they really might be so far from my values that I could never have respect for them, but if I don't know them first, I'm not going to condemn them straight away.
This is my response to the @ecotrain question, [should we judge others by our own values?](https://steemit.com/ecotrain/@ecotrain/join-us-for-the-ecotrain-qotw-should-we-judge-others-by-our-own-values