In the modern world of the internet and social media, the new “Truth” is what people tell you that confirms your views. The name for this is Confirmation Bias. In itself, Confirmation Bias is not an intrinsically bad thing. Where it becomes bad is when it is left unchecked or unchallenged. We are all guilty of confirmation bias. In fact, life without “confirmation Bias” is a scary place, so it is best to not dwell on how much Confirmation Bias you have in your life but instead focus on when it is inappropriate. It is best to look to remove the chances that it will have a negative impact.
Confirmation Bias is where you do the natural thing and look for confirmation of the hypothesis in your head. We all make snap judgments based on what we see, so if you see someone dressed in a particular way, do you expect what they will do or how they will act. How shocking is it when people don’t act in the character we overlay for them?
In November 2020, when we initially looked at Confirmation Bias, we showed Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar’s famous photograph at the presentation of the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, a moment when South Africa announced itself properly on the Rugby World. The lesson from the photo is very much around how Nelson Mandela is often talked about as raising above prettiness. This is only half of the story, of course, The challenge South Africa (and any area going through this amount of social change – Northern Ireland is another example), it becomes necessary to understand that if you do not change and are willing to see people as more than just the stereotype you have assigned to them, then you can accomplish great things. Nelson Mandela may have been inspirational at doing just that, but Francois Pienaar is often left out. He was a catalyst for acceptance of change from the other side. There was huge apprehension about the future of South Africa and even if White’s would be able to stay post-apartheid. I’m not going to attempt to say more on the subject as a single article could not come close to doing it justice. But I would ask that you spend a few minutes thinking about what it would be like to be either Nelson or Francoise, considering the “baggage” they would have.