Snap Judgments; Let’s Stop Them

Do you feel you often make snap judgments?

Good/Bad, Fast/Slow, Black/White?

Who are you quick to judge?

Family/Friends, Colleagues/Neighbors, Acquaintances/Strangers?

I am, no doubt, prone to snap judgments. I know it’s something I need to change.

We can all be quick to decide if  that person is in/out, good/bad, welcome/rejected. 

A museum skeleton of a wooly mammoths that prehistoric man had to make a snap judgment about for survival
Photo Credits: Tristan Colangelo

Unfortunately, the act of rapid judgment carries over from prehistoric time when the need to instantaneously judge the other was a matter of life or death. We are born with an automatic tendency to judge. And we are born with an instinct as to what is good and bad. There is a knowing in the soul that is either dampened or developed. Our instinct is shaped by our family, surroundings and cultural norms. 

As we grow, we learn to be comfortable drawing a line between who is in our circle and who is out; who is good and who is bad. This is how divisions between people arise. And, I dare say, this is where systemic racism begins in the individual. The problem is dichotomous thinking; only allowing for extremes in thought and accepting either/or when life is about the And.

A piece of yellow sheet metal with an angry, hateful face representing vitriol of snap judgment s being made right now.
Photo Credits: Andre Hunter

These days the snap judgments are loaded with hate and division. These quick, thoughtless decisions are tearing us apart. They are driving the wedge deeper especially as we deal with such a sensitive and critically important topic of Black Lives Matter.

There is so much to say about this movement. There are so many facets of systemic racism. One thing I know for sure, though, is that the work starts with dropping the snap judgments and listening deeply. We must take the time to unpack what we’ve been taught in support of white supremacy and against holding Black Lives in equally standing.  We’ve got to bury the vitriol and decisive language. 

Love spelled out with four different hand shapes. Representing choosing with heart and speaking with love instead of acting with snap judgment
Photo Credits: Tyler Nix

The act of judging may be innate but the content of its execution is not. Who, what and how we judge is a choice. Each of us has a choice. Choose with your heart. Speak with love. Tread gently.

May it be so!

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