Judging Others, For Better For Worse

I have been in situations where either I was judged or I judged someone before I got to know them. Honestly, judging is a natural reaction. I think it happens because when we first see a person we don’t know, all we’re seeing is their appearance. We see if they have brand-named clothing, or if their shoes are worn out. We see a person in many different ways and exclude their personality and then form a judgment, such as “they must be poor,” or “ew, she looks rich so therefore she must be snobby.”

Personally I have to say that I unintentionally make judgments on people I don’t know either.  For example, there was this one girl I knew as an acquaintance. I thought she was nice by the way she talked and she seemed like a friendly person. But then I heard from most of my friends that she backstabbed them and I wondered how could it be?

I started talking to her and she was nice. My judgment was that she was a nice person, but one incident made me understand why my friends said those things about her. We had a project together where she and I had to make a certain dish and present it to the class. We decided to split the ingredients and then cook our dish at her house. It turned out that she wasn’t even prepared with the ingredients and her sister was saying in front of me, like I wasn’t even there, that I didn’t do anything. The girl ended up telling everyone that she did everything and took all the credit.
-Denise, 15


It was a Friday afternoon in late-March when I saw my friend step out of her brother’s blue Celica. We were both excited to see each other and as most girls do, we started our girl talk as her brother sat quietly in the car. She noticed that I glanced at him and she introduced us. He waved at me without bothering to look up from his phone. I thought he was stuck up.

Five months later, I received a friend request on Facebook. I clicked on the link and it was him, my friend’s brother whom I thought was stuck up. I accepted his friend request and I told my friend that her brother added me. I remember thinking, “Um, okay, this is random, I wonder what he wants.” He messaged me and thanked me for accepting his request and he introduced himself.

I told him I remembered meeting him before and we kept messaging each other. We exchanged phone numbers. I thought of him as a nice guy to be friends with, so I wasn’t prepared for what was coming my way, and it grew weird for me.

A couple weeks passed and we stopped texting and talking altogether. We met again in April at Lao New Year. It was a Saturday afternoon. I walked passed him and waved at him, but he didn’t notice me, so I kept walking.

Then I walked by again and I guess this time he noticed. We exchanged smiles and I kept walking. Five minutes later, his sister and I were catching up and she asked me if I had seen her brother. I replied, “Yeah, I said ‘hi’ to him.” She insisted I go talk to him and she pulled me through the crowd to where he was standing under the shade of a canopy.

We smiled and said “hi” to each other. I had no idea what my friend expected. After a minute of awkward “hellos” and “good-byes,” my friend and I walked away.

Later that night her brother text me and asked what I wanted when I said “hi” to him that day and I replied, “I only wanted to say ‘hi’ to you.” The next morning he asked me to have lunch with him and we’ve been dating since. I was wrong about him when we met. He’s not stuck up at all and he’s the greatest guy ever.
-Arena, 18


When I was in school, I was constantly judged by my peers. I’d keep to myself, but I’d be just as bad, judging them. I wish I wasn’t such a judgmental person, but sometimes I can’t help it. I’m only human.

I managed to scrape up a friend, but little did I know she would turn out to be different from what I first thought of her. She was very cool. She had nice clothes and hair, a good sense of style, and all the right friends. People always wanted to be around her; I know I did.

As time went by, a different side of her began to emerge. She became very hateful, selective and vain. I was angry that it took me so long to realize what kind of person she was and what I thought she wasn’t. I didn’t want to be around her because I felt as if she was using me, but I was jealous that she had what I didn’t and what I always wanted. I was angry that it took so long for me to realize that vanity and greed just make you a very ugly person. It makes me wonder why people like it so much.

But in the end run, I learned a very important lesson. Judging people may come natural, but don’t let your judgments consume you, and if you do judge someone, be prepared for the best or the worst.
-Jaleesa, 21

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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