Navigating today’s world can be confusing. It is not possible to verify everything you hear or read. To function, you need to trust some people and some sources. Which ones? How can you judge if a person is trustworthy? How can you tell if a headline, or an article, or a website, or an entire news source should be believed?
How do you know who to trust?
Related questions: How can you repair broken trust? What is real? How can you get someone to trust you? What is necessary to change your mind?
3 thoughts on “How Do You Know Who To Trust?”
I’ve been silent so far, so I might as well jump into the silent topic…
This is something I deal with professionally as an attorney. I do a lot of administrative hearings by phone. There are studies that show that people are less likely to trust someone who speaks with an accent. I have to prepare for the tendency of white judges to automatically believe an employer or other authority who speaks in measured tones in white, middle-class dialect over an emotional (because their livelihood is at stake) client with African-American speech patterns. There are cases on what are and are not legitimate credibility considerations, but in general, credibility-based decisions are impossible to reverse on appeal.
I also have to make sure I don’t fall into the trap of assuming the poor person or the person of color is lying, absent evidence to the contrary. For this reason, I proceed from the assumption that most people tell the truth most of the time. One of my favorite quotes is “never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence.” More often than not, what the opposing party perceives as a lie is really a miscommunication or misperception.
Can “never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence” be one of my favorite quotes? I love it.
Seriously though, how do you prepare for / deal with “the tendency of white judges to automatically believe an employer or other authority who speaks in measured tones in white, middle-class dialect”? Likely, you’ve had wins and losses. Is there anything you (can) do to win more cases with this presumption being held?
All I can really do is prepare out the wazoo. Line up any corroboration I can for my client, poke as many holes in the other side’s testimony as possible. I feel like I see lots of cases where a black employee gets fired and then denied Unemployment benefits for conduct that would be tolerated in a white employee–and pointing it out does absolutely no good.