Saturday, 13 October 2012


We all judge people. We might not admit it, but every day when we walk down the street we make assumptions and snap judgements about the people we see, purely on the way they look.

It’s kind of amusing, especially when you consider that many of us are far from perfect physical specimens ourselves. That doesn’t stop us. It’s human nature.

In just a split second, we look at a person and label them, instinctively. The way people dress, their hairstyle, their body language, or their body shape, gives us an instant shorthand into who they are, where to slot them in our brain's filing cabinet. People’s weight does come into this: there’s a certain appropriateness in referring to this process as ‘sizing people up.’

If we glance at an obese child, we’ll probably then glance at their mum or dad, and derive an odd satisfaction if they’re obese, too. Because it means we’re right when our brains have flashed up words and phrases like CHIPS...CHOCOLATE...NO EXERCISE... It confirms our prejudices. So we can’t be a bad person for having those prejudices, then, can we? 

After having a child with Prader-Willi Syndrome, I’ve trained my brain to think a little differently. If I’m honest, I do still subconsciously make instant judgements, because that’s how we’re all wired. But I consciously try to overthrow them, because I’ve learned that things aren’t always as simple as they seem.

That child, the one that’s obese? They might have a condition that requires them to be on steroids. They might be recovering from an operation that means they can’t exercise. They  might have a disorder like.....oh, let’s pick Prader-Willi Syndrome, shall we?...which means they’re constantly physically hungry and their bodies cannot convert fat to muscle efficiently.

The point is, you don’t know. When you look at someone, you don’t know their medical condition, their life-story, all the factors and influences and reasons and elements that have built them into the person they are. Don't assume. Don't presume. 

Mind you, that bloke with the spiderweb tattoo on his face and LOVE and HATE inked on his knuckles probably has been to prison.

Video is Prince Buster - Judge Dread
Related post: Gillian

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