Remember, not everyone deserves the same respect, but the reasons that individuals may deserve more or less respect is based on the individual, not on any easy category that the individual has no control over. She should judge people, but she should judge them for things within their control, for their choices. Everyone should start out as a blank slate and through observation the level of respect is determined.
I don't know how you are defining respect, but it is good to give some base level of respect is for everyone. It is too easy to dehumanize people in this era of virtual interaction over the internet, and when we make it easy to dehumanizing each other, it seems to me that is the beginning of the end (FYI dehumanization is how both militaries and terrorist help train their operatives to perform acts that they normally wouldn't do)...
Additionally, as you say respect is earned, not deserved. Since you can't respect people relative to what they haven't done yet, no more than you can respect people for what category they seem to fit in, I see no rational way to fully judge people on the limited observations that we have of most people. We cannot know others motives or decision processes, only the outcome relative to our own experiences and that seems like a terribly short sighted way for someone to judge another (especially for someone who is young and inexperienced in the world).
As a terrible example, imagine how you might respect something your parents do as a child, then maybe not respect them as a teenager, and then when you become a parent, you realize that you have a different level of respect for their actions. What you parents did and their frame of mind in the past did not change, but what did change was your perspective along the way.
The corollary is that like beauty, respect seems to be mostly in the eye of the beholder, and like beauty, depending on your definition, most people have some base form of it that all beholders should embrace over time.
There is finite time on this earth for everyone, and we need to make the best of it and immortality (if you wish it) is only defined in terms with our interactions with others. In the end it doesn't really matter what people think of you, because in the final analysis, they don't really care that much what you think unless your thoughts affects them directly. Perhaps that means the people that might deserve the most respect are the ones that aren't seeking it from you because they realize that earning your respect doesn't matter to them, yet those are the same people that could care less about your respect.
That might sound circular, but that might illustrate how pointless the whole issue of respect is and what a waste of time attempting to transact in that currency might be in your finite time on earth. We should spend less time attempting to judge each other and respect is pretty much a courtesy that you should give to all. That's my 2cents...