Assumptions about other people can be so misguided, not to mention unkind and, taken to the extreme, even dangerous. They also waste a lot of time because they send us barreling down a dead-end road, which we’ll eventually see was heading in the wrong direction from the start.
A lighter example: Whenever readers don’t like something they see on Southern Living’s Facebook page, they will invariably comment: “It’s not written by Southerners any more. Everybody knows they produce it in New York now.” Actually . . . Southern Living has never left Birmingham (our parent company was in New York for many years). As for the staff, yes, we have a couple of amazingly talented New Yorkers on board. We also have an editor in chief, senior homes editor, and digital news editor from Memphis; beauty editor and senior foods editor from Florida; style editor, Charleston; assistant managing editor, Savannah; copy chief and assistant to the editor in chief, Mississippi; digital producers from Georgia and Louisiana . . .
I can’t remember a time when people jumped to conclusions about each other as readily as we do now. And I think we see the results of that every day: Very little real conversation, just shouting matches. No compromise and thoughtful debate, just blame. I’m starting to depress myself. Thank goodness Cheeto and I can still have a meaningful dialog.
We just need to remember how to walk around in each other’s shoes (I think I stole that from Atticus Finch) and assume the best, not the worst, until we have good reason to think otherwise. You never know what the person sitting next to you at the office or on the church pew is going through.
Show me the alley
Show me the train
Show me the hobo who sleeps out in the rain
And I'll show you, a young man
With so many reasons why
There but for fortune may go you or I
[from “There But For Fortune” by Phil Ochs]