Hope you’ve been well.
So on the last post, someone had commented about how tough she believes it might have been if she’d had to deal with good ol’ Ralphie. I agree. If things hadn’t played out as they had, it would have definitely been a bigger trial in patience.
But see, the main reason I’m even sharing ‘Ralph’s’ story with you (aside from the fact that it’s pretty funny), is because when you actually think of it, he’s a lot more familiar than we’d like to acknowledge.
1. Rachel being certain some girl is a slut…because her best friend’s cousin’s roommate’s boyfriend dated her before, and his full squad affirms it.
2. Henry swearing that every Igbo man is a dishonest cheapskate…because all of his 6 Igbo clients – to him – are dishonest cheapskates.
3. Cassie convincing a small group of her colleagues at her workplace, that Calabar has the worst drivers in the country, because her grandmother told her that 32 different people she knew while growing up had died in road accidents…and her grandmother was raised in Calabar.
Before reading any further, please quickly consider if there is any possibility that these three individuals have each made life-size drawings of wrong conclusions in their respective contexts.
• Rachel would probably slander the unknown girl in future, and attempt justifying her actions by reeling out a list of all the people who confirmed her slut-dom, (never mind that she never even met the girl – talk less of got to know her// her ‘several people’ were just points on a single gossip/slander line// only one person actually claimed to have been in a personal relationship with her amongst all the ‘confirmers’// even he could simply be attempting revenge for being dumped…).
• It’s possible Henry isn’t a very generous person, and is either projecting (psychological defense mechanism) or simply attracting kindred spirits// maybe he’s just meeting the wrong Igbo guys// perhaps there is a very personal deep rooted issue with some Igbo man that is tainting all his interactions with Igbo men// Henry may have a very eccentric definition of what cheapskates are; so when he tags someone as that, the listeners are imagining something else, while he’s imagining another.
• Cassie’s grandmother could have been referring to only two major bus accidents, where the casualties known to her added up to that number// the people who passed away may have been coming in from other states, being driven by non Calabar drivers // maybe there was a disastrously bad road at the time, where several accidents occurred frequently – so the deaths may be more a function of poor governance than ineffective driving lessons…
…’Or maybes’ abound.
Now it’s not impossible that they’re right- but it’s easier to doubt that possibility with the number of gaps in Rachel’s, Henry’s and Cassie’s knowledge acquisition approaches. They however, to some extent, can be representative of many of us (input your unique case scenario, ?). I don’t even have to go too far – look at some of these Whatsapp BCs we get on a regular. They aren’t all hoaxes but some are just downright tiresome with the photo shop and massacred English… I mean come on, egg and sweet banana? Human corned beef?! (If you’ve received those you’ll understand).???
I’m not saying do an empirical study to confirm every bit of gist that crosses your auditory or visual path, but we can at least be a little more careful about what we spread, share and permit to dictate our actions. Think of the repercussions if something you’re doing or saying with 150% misplaced certainty now turns out to be false. Would the damage be colossal or easy to ignore?
It’s necessary to question some of the answers we receive – regardless of the supplier. How do I know what I know is the truth? What is inspiring my belief in the accuracy of this information source? Am I analyzing this situation through the prism of my personal fears, bias, insecurities, spite, pride, hurts, greed, life experiences – or not?
How do I know? How do you know?
We can be more conscious and a lot more careful really. It’s not about attacking yourself if you make a mistake about something – we all do, some of us more often than others even. But we can minimize the spread of misinformation; you never know who’s going to get hurt by it. I’m sure Ralph didn’t mean to ignore or fail to recognize the difference in Kwiksie’s and Aduka’s voice and speech patterns. In fact, it’s possible Aduka might have even been in Benin at that time and Ralph was aware, but he let what he perceived to be an overwhelmingly familiar appearance, sideline all the other details he could have used to weigh and check the conclusion he was drawing. If I’d gotten irritated and just snubbed him, chances are he’d leave feeling hurt and Aduka might get rumored as being a snotty fake who denies her friends in public places. The unsuspecting young lady would have no idea what hit her.
Let’s make a conscious effort to be persons who are bothered about how confirmation and proper analysis of news and information can affect others. Let us not be persons who favor broadcasting stereotypes and irrational generalizations (often emotion based or myopic in nature) over careful consideration and worthwhile conversations that provide answers to pertinent questions.
Try it today. Instead of accusing someone, spreading fear, looking for what to criticize, instigating disharmony, enhancing self-doubt, feeling unloved, allowing yet another string of complaints escape from your mouth; stop and ask yourself:
“ How do I know? What am I so sure about anyway?”
Enjoy the rest of your day! ?