The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Should we judge people before we get to know them?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 735 times Debate No: 59865
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)




This is a simple case of "don't judge a book by it's cover," however, the cover says a lot about the contents and the premise of the book.

I will be assuming the Pro position obviously.

We will take into consideration anything we see about a person's physical appearance, including their clothing, car, etc. Anything they're wearing or own the first time you see them without engaging in a converastion.

No rules - swear all you want, etc, but I'd like you to be serious - no trolls, please.

Feel free to provide definitions you would like, but I feel we all know what I'm talking about.

First round for acceptance.

3,000 words to keep it reasonable, and 1 completed debate to ensure you're more serious than not.


Hello! I will accept this debate as the con!
Debate Round No. 1


I thought you would, glad to have you on board, and thanks for accepting!

I've explained definitions in the comments, but just to ensure we're both clear, I'll briefly explain what I mean, and for the voters' sake.

Judge - Think a certain way about someone.

Know - This does not literally mean to understand every single thing with 100% certainty about a person; I mean to understand how they act and think for the most part, and understand how they act toward you. Other people's interpretations may be different, but for the sake of this argument, to "know" someone means you would understand what they would do in a situation, or you understand how they would act and think around you.

To get to know someone - This means prior to any type of communication.

Alright, I know it's hard to explain how you "know" someone, but I hope my definition was clear enough for this debate.

I also don't care about rules - swear all you want!

Okay, so now that we have the technicalities out of the way...

Judging people is basic human instinct. It's basic animalistic instinct as well, and if we never judged anyone before we got to know them, we risk the high possibility of being put in a dangerous situation. It's society that has deemed judging people "hurtful," as society focuses on people's emotions and worries too much about being politically correct. You could come off as offensive if you act on your judgement, sure, but that's our ability to rationalize situations.

If you see a group of kids with tattoos and piercings and all wearing the same colour, would you consider it safe to happily walk through their group? If so, there is a chance you would be in danger. If not, you are judging them solely based on how they look, and deemed "judgemental." If you say you consider them dangerous, and you're avoiding a possible threat, it's because you're making a comparison between the kids in that group with kids in other groups who have done dangerous things. Safe? Absolutely? Judgemental? You bet. Would it be better to be deemed "judgemental" and stay possibly out of danger, or better to be politically correct, and possibly put yourself in danger?

How about a similar scenario, but you don't even see their face - someone walks in front of you wearing a brand of hoodie that a lot of gangs wear. A lot of the time, gangs are the ones noticed wearing that brand. Do you brush it off, or do you at least think about it for a second? Do you make the mental connection between that brand and gang activity? Do you assume right away he's in a gang? You can't throw that idea out of the window, as most gangs wear that brand. Would you consider it safer to slow down and let him walk further in front of you? If you do, you're being judgemental, as you're basing what you think of that person solely on what they wear - not even what they actually look like.

Sure, you could say you wouldn't do either of these, but to not judge anyone before you communicate with them could be dangerous.


mubaracus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Come on, I want a debate!

I'll give you an example that doesn't have to deal with violence, as I only gave examples that dealt with something that was detrimental.

Say you're a math turor. You WANT to find people to help with their math skills. You see a group of people and decide to pick one to talk to to see if they need any guidance. Most look relatively the same, but you walk straight past the ones who are dressed well, have glasses, neatly combed hair, and are acting confident. You go straight for the guy you see who is slightly slouching, dressed like he doesn't really care or just not as well as the other guys, and walks a bit slower, and obviously isn't extremely confident.

Now can you tell for sure that he needs help with math? Such a specific thing? Of course not. But the chance that he needs help more than the confident, well dressed guys is higher than not. Call it a "calculated decision," I'd agree with that, but you make that calculated decision based on how you judge him.

Judging people, or using the term "judgemental" is NOT a bad thing.

I really hope you can respond to this.


I am very sorry for missing my round. Time escaped me and I should be rightfully penalized for it. Unfortunately because this is a four round debate this would be a round I would use for rebuttals so instead I will create my introductory argument and my rebuttals in this same round.

I appreciate the definitions you have created for the argument. As clearly implied by the side I chose I am against what you are saying.

We as people should make efforts to avoid judging people without getting to know them. As the cliche classically puts it, "You can't judge a book by it's cover".

We would like think that the judgements we make are rational but that is not completely the case. They have a significant amount of potential to be wrong and offensive. This is because the evidence that we use to form our judgements about others is usually not empirical , rather it comes from our own unique past experiences and prejudices.

One classic and historical example could be the way African Americans were (and very arguably still are) judged in America. There are numerous judgements associated with African Americans. For example just for simply having an African American name, you are automatically less likely to get a job. Why? People tend to associate black names with crime and a low socioeconmic status. 1 This is a judgement that employers subconciously make frequently. Could it be rational? Yes. Is it ethical? No.

Your first example involved people presumed to be gangs because of their clothing and people who have piercings and tatoos . However I think their are numerous folly's in these hypotheticals,

First you ask "Is it safe to happily walk through their group". In my opinion walking happily through groups of people in general is dangerous and risky behavior and people should not do it in general. Naturally you should give everybody the same respectful and safe space.

Next you have judged that because these kids have tatoos and piercings they are dangerous which is the exact danger of judging that I have mentioned before. I know numerous people with tatoos and piercings that are not violent in any way. Assuming that one's decision on how they present themself says something about their personality is fallacious. As a student in high school I know students that excel in honors classes with piercings and tatoos, a quality that according to your judgement, one would not expect. Furthermore as I stated previously they are nonviolent.

In addition this is not a harmless thing for you to do. If you take this judgement of this situation and place it in a different situation, the issues become much more apparent.

What if I two individuas commit theft, evidence is scarce, and one of them has tattoos while the other one does not. It is ethical to assume that the person with tattoos is more dangerous and probably commit the crime? I will leave that question open and conclude my round.


Debate Round No. 3


I don't believe you should be penalized at all, your fate relies on how good your arguments are, not how many rounds you did or didn't miss. Also, I appreciate that you've found the time to continue our debate, and thanks for that, and I'm looking forward to continuing out debate!

If you don't judge a book by it's cover, there's a possibility something negative may happen to you. I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but to judge someone, compare them to others who dress/look like them, and apply that to your actions, you can be more cautious, leading to safety, happiness, and overall general security. It doesn't mean you have to ACT upon your judgement, but you have it in the back of your head.

Whether or not something is offensive is how the person interprets it. If you, for example, see a young black guy, with dreadlocks, baggy red clothing, and tattoos, it's "safe" to avoid eye contact or confrontation. There is no reason he himself, as one person, should feel offended, as he hasn't done anything to actually BE threatening to you. It's other people that look somewhat like him that have made it hard for him to express his feelings through how how looks. I agree with you where our judgement derives from though, however, it isn't ONLY our personal past experiences.

Considering you used African Americans in your example, I'll explain why it's "reasonable" to judge. However I disagree that anyone should deny someone anything because of their name before even seeing them, or before talking to them, there is a reason to be a bit more cautious, like I've said before. And just to be clear, I'm strictly saying it's okay to judge someone, I'm not saying it's okay to completely act upon that judgement.

Now, you admitted it is rational in your example, and I could just say you "admitted defeat." However, I believe "agreeing" with someone isn't surrendering. It may not be ethical at all, you're right, however, considering the fact that 6.8%(1) of African Americans commit crimes, whereas only 2.9%(1) of whites commit crimes. And if you take into consideration that Hispanic and Latin Americans are classified as "white," that's most likely a 5% difference. And like you said; rational? Sure. Ethical? Not quite.

You don't walk through groups of people because by judging by how other people react, you come to a rational conclusion not to do so. I agree, you don't know for sure if that person is dangerous, however, to risk the chance of possibly being in a violent situation, would you say it's safe to avoid eye contact or even crossing paths? There's a chance this person may be violent, more violent than someone not dressed in gangwear with tattoos(2).

To your question; if you know one has tattoos, it's most likely simply a distinguishable feature.





mubaracus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
For some reason I thought I made it five rounds... Either way, thanks for accepting and giving some good points, hopefully some people got something out of this!
Posted by Longline 2 years ago
This whole judging thing has many many faces. Sadly pro does have a point, we are all judemental, but there are different types.

What you think in your head, does not always correspond to reality. Judging people before getting to know them, is like a lawyer who takes a side base on who they like. And knowing that that person is guilty.

You are creating your own danger, base on what you know, because the reality is, YOU DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT PERSON" so everything you GUESS ABOUT THEM are all THEORY THAT ARE RUNNING IN YOUR HEAD.
second: Judgeing is different from, PROTECTING ONSELF. IF YOU Are a femal walking in the street at night, you use protective Judgement. This one include what you can and can't do, base on what you think the other party can and can't do. This does not have to do with what they look like or wearing..

The other Judgeing, is the one where it's completely stupid to me, Judgeing people base on there kind. You watch the news and see a crime happening in a particular place where the people there are of different kind then you, then using knowledge from there to judge that kind of people.

Basically what I think, if we all judge one another before getting to know each other. There will be war everyday, in every places and in everyonce heart. Why, Martin Luther King, would focus all his knowledge on war, and Revenge. History would be completely different day. Nobody would want peace. Because we will all have fix image of each other, and the bad part we will accept that image and never want to change it.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Yes, we should judge them before we have any kind of interactions.

We can see what they look like and what they wear, etc, but no communication.

I am NOT saying this means we should base our actions on how we judge them, I'm simply saying we should judge.
Posted by mubaracus 2 years ago
So you are assuming the position of, we should judge people before we get to know them?
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Yeah I thought about that as soon as I posted what I said. How about to say you "know" someone means they act one way around you, and you understand them for that way, which may end up being different than how other people understand or see them.
Posted by DB9KIT 2 years ago
Equivocating the term "knowing" is a should also, in my opinion. It can cause someone to be confused that "knowing" can be understood in many ways. I would say I do know someone in my perception. Let's say I know a guy named "B", which is one of my friends in class. I think I really know him well as we usually hang out every week. And I think I can judge him because of our sort of close relationship. However, for the third-party perspective, my other friends might say that I don't know B so well enough that I can judge B.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Fair enough, I can't stand it when people have "their own meaning" for words.

When I say to "judge" someone, or base my "judgement" on the way they appear, without conversation, I mean form an idea or bias about their personality before actually "knowing" what their personality is like, by verbal (or other) communication.

To "know" someone's personality, or what their personality is like, is being certain about they way they act or think based off several experiences; verbal, physical, etc.

This does not mean you have to ACT upon these ideas. It simply means you think something about someone based solely off the way they present themselves.

Does that make sense?
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
You know, providing a definition and context for the word "judge" might be prudent.

"Judgement" comes in many forms, just as "knowing" people comes in different forms. I'd be interested in the debate, and think I can come up with a pretty good case for not judging people based off of minimal interaction, but I am not willing to debate if you have the ability to equivocate on terms.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
How about we post a picture of ourselves instead.

Kidding, you made me breathe havily through my nose. Thanks.
Posted by AlexanderOc 2 years ago
Everybody who votes on this debate must have an intimate conversation with both sides before deciding.
It's only fair.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by philosurfer 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiting is bad conduct. Sources also go to Pro.
Vote Placed by mishapqueen 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited twice, but the time he did argue he had some really good points. However, Pro was very informed and reasonable and convincing. So, I vote Pro.