Have you ever been judged or labeled harshly? Have you ever found yourself passing hasty judgment on someone or something you didn’t really know or understand? Brittany Prather, leader of 4word: Twin Cities and panelist in the Candid Conversations – Racial Reconciliation series, shares how being bi-racial has helped her come to terms with her own judging tendencies and learn to seek a common identity with others.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born and raised in Minnesota, and currently reside in downtown Minneapolis. I work for Deloitte as a Campus Recruiter and have a passion for connecting people’s talents with opportunities, as well as curating and developing equity and inclusion across organizational culture. When I’m not at work (and pre-Covid), I enjoy finding fun events to attend with friends, leading our 4word: Twin Cities Community Group, teaching fitness classes, and volunteering on a non-profit board. I’m currently working on releasing Imposter Syndrome and taking time to pause and listen for where God is leading me.
Have you ever dealt with being incorrectly judged or labeled?
I have in many different dimensions, both as bi-racial person but also just in how I have been perceived through first impressions. Being bi-racial with black and white parents, my appearance does not always align with some people’s perspectives of what a biracial person should look like. Although it is hurtful when I am left out of a conversation, initiative, or on the receiving end of an untrue judgment because people have labeled me a certain way, I have learned to have grace. However, I also see it is a learning opportunity for others, so I do ensure to open up that conversation. It is such a beautiful thing that God has created a melting pot of humans in His image. We should avoid jumping to conclusions to fit people into certain categories or labels, especially by the color of our skin.
The other dimension I have felt incorrect judgement placed is in terms of my sometimes-anxious disposition. In certain social settings, I am not as outgoing right away, particularly if I am around people I don’t yet know and tend to have a bit of that social anxiety creep up. Once I get to know people, the extrovert comes out. This has led people to tell me that they thought I was standoffish at first, when instead I actually may have been anxious in that social setting and it does take some time to overcome and become comfortable.
Have you ever found yourself judging or labeling someone unfairly?
I definitely have. If you’re familiar with the Myers Briggs assessment, I used to be on the strong end of the “Judging” quality and now am working my way towards the “Perceiving” side. As someone who is super structured and type-A, over the course of the years I have grown to be a lot more flexible and understanding when things don’t necessarily fit into the box that I think they should. Also, a lot of the judgement with women in the past was due to comparison, and I have found that when you are truly secure and love yourself, you are able to be a lot more accepting and less judging of others.
Why are we, as a society, so quick to apply our own labels on people and things?
I believe we try to put labels and assumptions onto people and things so that it makes sense for our own experience. This helps us to feel safe and secure so we can better predict what would happen with that particular person or thing. It is easier to make a snap judgement rather than seeking to understand.
What do you do to guard yourself against judging too quickly or wrongly?
For me, I try to think about the way I feel when I am incorrectly judged and really do my best to consider where that is coming from within myself. When I find myself making a judgement, I pause to find perspective and work to find a way to identify with that person. What one belief I might have about someone based upon my own worldview and without getting to know them does not make it true. The more we expand our horizons—including people, places and ideas—the more acceptance and compassion we will find.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Not all first impression judgments or thoughts about someone or something are negative, but it’s important to remember that we can reframe our own judgements and thoughts through offering compassion and allowing ourselves to see things through another lens. As women, we often tend to judge ourselves unfairly. Putting an end to the negative self-talk and judgement within ourselves will help us to do the same with others. Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” As Christians, we are called to rise above and set the standard for how we view and treat people.
With an innate passion for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and striving to provide equitable opportunities where there are gaps, Brittany Prather aims to share her heart with others and continue to serve where she is called. Brittany works as a Campus Recruiting specialist for Deloitte in Minneapolis and earned her MBA in 2016. Brittany spends her time outside of work leading the 4word: Twin Cities community group, serving on non-profit boards, working on her fitness, and enjoying time with family and friends.