Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You be the Judge

This is the 1st of a series on judgment, perception, and media.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all judge even without the presence of all the facts surrounding the person, event, or situation. An (immediate) judgment causes an individual to react in two ways: accusation or exculpation (seeking goodness). We judge based on our perception of others such as in situations when we go to work, waiting in the grocery line, or deciding on who is the better candidate. We judged Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Today, we judge President-elect Barack Obama.

Lately I have been watching my own judgments and wondering how my biases influence my attitude. Where did this inclination develop from – childhood, college, media? How does that affect the supposedly educated decisions I make on a daily basis? Does my judgment limit my decisions?

It is an exciting moment to witness the inauguration of the first black President, Barack Obama. I can see how he has truly inspired many individuals to want to “change” their actions and attitudes to become a better American, particularly today as we celebrate the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, Rev. King’s message is so much more alive. However, I am noticing that there are still many people who are missing Rev. King’s message as it ties in significantly in today’s U.S. Presidential Inauguration. Simply put, Rev. King’s message emphasized a non-violent approach for global equality.

The Iraq War has shattered our world power image. The U.S. has to decide whether we should remain a world power (by overshadowing our global partnerships) or become a world player (by engaging the global community). President-elect Obama understands the importance of the latter through various avenues such as consensus building with both friends and foes. However on a local level, I am witnessing how certain acquaintances, colleagues, and media opinions are judging this initiative. Comments with overarching themes from having little faith with a black man’s contribution to society to his eagerness to create a socialist America astound me. Why do they have this perception? What is their judgment based on? Did they not see the need for global partnerships or the active engagement of President-elect Obama’s initiatives so far? However, after reflecting on these judgments, I wonder if fear plays a huge hand in response to change.

Fear of the unknown practically paralyzes ones ability to actively listen to various viewpoints. Fear limits are ability to listen and to take the time to ponder. Do these limitations reflect the lack personal inexperience/interaction (with a minority community) [or the lack of understanding of economic theories of social organization (‘socialism is not communism’)]? Do they not take the time to think about their judgments? Is life so “fast-track”, that we do not take the time to ponder? So I wonder, how will we judge Obama as a black man, Obama as our President, or will we simply take the time to look at his decisions? Will we consider the circumstances or be quick to react? You be the judge.


How To Start A Business In North Carolina said...

It has been a long journey for improvements on civil rights and equality, and with Obama being sworn in, the civil rights movement have come full circle since the “I have a dream speech”. I hope Obama can concentrate on increasing jobs, advancing education, and the decreasing of our dependence on fossil fuels.

Charmagne said...

At the core of Obama's acceptance speech was the idea that the challenges we face are not his alone to solve...that everyone bears responsibility to do their part to address the threats to our economic, environmental and national security. So my first judgment when listening to his speech was actually of myself...have I been doing enough to bring about the changes I want to see, to build peace and protect the environment? Have you?