Your Friend Is Not The Exception But The Rule

That one person we know is probably not the exception to the rule. They’re probably the rule, which we could know if we cared enough to find out.

“But he’s different” probably means “He’s the only one we actually know.” In the absense of first-hand knowledge, we default to conventional wisdom, which is too bad, because it has never been easier to find out about something, even something complex, than it is today.

Listening to Monica Davey discuss the story she reported about the beloved owner of a Mexican restaurant in a small Illinois town who has been detained by ICE is where this comes from. The people she interviewed claim with conviction about their friend that he “gives more to the community than he ever takes.” They know now, first hand, that the portrayal of undocument migrants in the U.S. as dangerous freeloaders is a cruel fiction.

But they could have known that before. The truth is out there. Not strictly in personal relationships with exceptional people, but in peer-reviewed studies and carefully-sourced news stories.

We don’t know what we know until we urgently need to know it. On this subject, we all need urgently to know. Now.

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