Quick to Speak: Evidence, Patience, and Truth

According to people’s behavior, little regard is generally given to notions of “truths.” “Alternative facts” have become all too common and too acceptable, fully named by Kellyanne Conway on January 22, 2017 but in full force well before this phraseology emerged.  

People think and act and believe however/whatever.

Evidence does not matter to more and more people, according to evidence.

People expect you to have (and assume you have) an instant opinion about anything and everything. 

A current example of this is the controversy surrounding Joy Reid’s long defunct blog and its sometimes homophobic and islamophobic contents. Reid, a quickly-rising journalist and MSNBC host, apologized for one post about four mouths ago, but in the past week several new “posts” have surfaced. Joy Reid claims these were made by hackers, but current evidence might not support that claim, based on what I have read. This Vox article outlines the current situation better than any other article I have seen thus far.

On Twitter, there are at least several thousand posts from the last few days calling for her to be fired, calling the Left racists and hypocrites, calling for her to be forgiven, and voicing absolute support for her. 

#ImWithJoy is trending on Twitter, as is #IStandWithJoy, as is #FireJoyReid.

The majority of those writing micro-blogs (i.e., tweets) about Joy Reid do one thing–they voice a quick option without giving it thought and without using patience and without examining evidence/waiting for the investigation to take its course.  

A widely-shared Tweet says:

The people going after Joy Reid are the same white people who went after Jamele Hill, Kaepernick, you, DeRay, Kamala Harris, Booker, etc. The same people who give Trump & his voters infinite chances. They want prominent Black people to fail, and they’ll use any means necessary.

A more patient, balanced Tweet says:

Regarding Joy Reid:
1) I’m tired of the hunt for old, offensive statements. Heck, I’m tired of the hunt for new, offensive statements. Move along.
2) If a major media figure is lying to the public, that’s another thing entirely.
These are not hard distinctions to make.

A historically-informed Tweet says:

I don’t know if Joy Reid is telling the truth or not.
Here’s my truth.
I grew up being taught in school that being gay was wrong.
I was told people chose to be gay.
I used gay slurs with my friends.
And then I learned the truth.
I evolved.
I changed.
Now I produce Ellen.

In addition to the hostility toward evidence and truth, there is also a problematic trend of not allowing for people’s imperfections or past selves. Never before in history has it been possible to make such extensive investigations into a person’s every move going back decades.

Remember, being slow to speak–at times–can be valuable and can avoid unnecessary embarrassment. Evidence, however, should always to a top priority, as should regard for notions of “truths.” 

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda