The power of the benefit of the doubt

Without realizing it, we give people the benefit of the doubt all the time.

Whether we eat sushi at the airport or take our car in for an oil change…we are giving the benefit of the doubt.

Once we give the benefit of the doubt to someone and they follow through, we are much more inclined to give it to them again. Because the story we tell ourselves is that we have great judgment.

Yet, that fragile narrative can get in the way from seeing the world as it really is. In order to hold it up, we begin to develop shortcuts or stereotypes in order to create these self-fulfilling prophecies.

The truth is, somewhere along the way (and perhaps never), people in power quit giving others the benefit of the doubt that are different than them.

That tradition has carried on for centuries, creating a chasm of inequality. It’s invisible now for those who choose not to see. Even when it is standing right in front of them.

Writing about it, tweeting about it just isn’t enough. Action is what counts. Begin by giving the benefit of the doubt. Once we do, we can bend the arc towards justice.