Speaker: Judging and its Alternatives

Would you like to make the world a better place without causing harm on the way?


This month in the #RocVeganVideoExpo, we have been trying to safely bring joy, education, and support for vegan-friendly businesses into a tragic year.  Our purpose is to help under very difficult circumstances.

More tragedy has been exposed and renewed in the past few days here in Rochester.  We are heartbroken.  Emotions are especially low and high, and today’s video addresses generally how we think about and talk to each other.

Switching from introducer (me) to speaker (also me), the following (and the video) is my personal opinion and approach and does not necessarily reflect Rochester VegFest:

Are you confident that you are morally right and others are wrong?  Or maybe you’re not so confident and you ask, “Is this the right thing to do?”  Do you think some people are good and others bad (or jerks, or idiots etc.)?  Do you get into arguments about how people should or shouldn’t do this or that?

These are very common ways of thinking: “You’re wrong. You’re bad. You should.”  These are judgmental thoughts.  They are opinions stated as facts, and so, as you might expect when something untrue is said or thought, they can cause problems.  In this video, which records a talk I gave at the October 2018 RAVS meeting, I describe exactly how to use an alternative: discernment.  It is how I think now (I admit I sometimes slip up and label someone a jerk – I’m human, so errors are inevitable).  Maybe I’m naive to think the world could operate this way, but I have found as a practical matter that discernment makes communication easier and myself happier, and sidesteps the confusion of trying to work out what’s “right” and who’s “wrong.”  It forms the solid basis of the challenging conversations I have while doing vegan outreach, among other things.  Discernment lets me speak up about problems without causing harm.  I think it will improve, even if not solve, any difficult conversation you are likely to have.  And we need to have a lot of difficult conversations, don’t we?  34 minutes, CC. Link to handout used in video.

I’m Tina, president of Animal Rights Rochester and co-founder and co-coordinator of Rochester VegFest (and your host of this vegan video expo).  I’m primarily focused on animal rights activism, but I’ve been educating myself about racism for several years.  If you would like to see some of the books and other resources about racism that I’ve been recommending lately, you can look at my Fb wall.  Black Lives Matter.