“See, I told you so!”

SHONTELL: Hey Amos, I’m hungry. Let’s check out that new black owned restaurant downtown. I’m all about supporting black businesses.

AMOS: Not so fast Shontell. I’ve not checked it out but know that most

black businesses have low quality food, shoddy service and are poorly managed.

SHONTELL: Humm, that’s not unique to black businesses Amos. Have you ever had bad experiences with or been disrespected by a business not owned by an African American?

AMOS: Yeah but that’s differentTell you what, I’m willing to check this one out but I know they won’t be up standard. And if I’m not happy with them, I won’t hesitate to give them a bad review. Okay, let’s go.

Okay, what Amos is guilty of here is “Confirmation bias,” the tendency to search for, interpret, favor and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

Similarly, “Self-fulfilling prophecy” is another bias defined as any expectation, positive or negative, about a situation or event that affects an individual behavior in such a manner that it causes that expectation to be fulfilled.

Looked at separately or in combination, the predictable result of these two biases is a “See, I told you so” (confirmation) mindset followed by a pattern of not supporting or badmouthing the establishment to others which further damages the business.

Another danger in aiming those biases at black owned businesses is that it may result in a phenomenon known as  a “stereotype threat,” defined as a “socially premised psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative stereotype about one’s group applies.” 

Typically, what happens when an establishment is under a stereotype threat is that it may engage in a conscious pattern of mistake avoidance and perfection seeking leading to costly delays and mistakes under duress which then perpetuates the “see, I told you so” mindset and cycle.

What Amos also fails to understand is that a negative blast on social media, although it may mean temporary satisfaction, has damaging effects on the establishment’s employees, many whom may owe their livelihood to that black owned business.

Questions for a thoughtful analysis:1. Say that you may hold biased views like Amos’ about black establishments. How might you consider alternative perspectives before seeking confirmation?2. Say that you are a “Shontell,” a person of influence. What could you do to make a positive difference with the “Amos’” of the world?3. Say that you do in fact have a bad experience with a black business. What would stop you from pulling the owner aside privately and proving feedback? If you owned such a business wouldn’t you want the same thing?4. Say that you are a black business owner who wants feedback to better your operation. How might you provide anonymous feedback sources to those who may have had a negative experience in your establish but are concerned about hurting his/her relationship with you?

Okay, if you now have that “dude, are you kidding me?” look on your face – look, nobody’s saying that you should buy everything black and only black. That’s nonsense. If you believe thatthen I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

C’mon folks, what we are saying is to check your biases at the front door of the establishment, give black establishments an opportunity to correct where necessary and expect the same high level of respect, quality and service as you would from any place else.

Okay, one last thought before you go.

In Brook Stephens’ book, “Talking Dollars and Sense,” research found that a dollar circulates in Asian communities for 30 days; in Jewish communities for 20 days; in white communities for 17 days. By contrast a dollar circulates for 6 hours in the African American community.

Go figure!

© Terry Howard is an award-winning writer and storyteller. He is also a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Shenandoah Valley Hit, Catalyst, The Echo World, Black Market.com, founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers’ guild, and recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award conferred by the Shenandoah Valley Hit. He can be reached at wwhoward3@gmail.com


4 thoughts on ““See, I told you so!”

  1. I would like to show appreciation to the writer for bailing me out of such a predicament. As a result of checking through the the web and finding principles which were not powerful, I assumed my entire life was over. Living without the presence of answers to the issues you have sorted out through the write-up is a critical case, as well as those that would have negatively damaged my entire career if I had not discovered your website. The knowledge and kindness in controlling the whole lot was priceless. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t encountered such a subject like this. I am able to at this time relish my future. Thank you so much for this impressive and result oriented help. I won’t be reluctant to suggest the blog to anyone who should receive recommendations about this issue.

  2. I wish to express appreciation to this writer just for bailing me out of such a difficulty. After checking throughout the world-wide-web and obtaining methods which were not powerful, I figured my entire life was gone. Existing without the presence of solutions to the problems you’ve sorted out by way of your good short article is a serious case, as well as the kind which may have negatively damaged my career if I hadn’t come across your site. Your actual mastery and kindness in dealing with all things was useful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a step like this. It’s possible to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for this reliable and amazing help. I will not be reluctant to suggest your web page to any individual who will need care about this subject.

  3. I simply wanted to post a small remark so as to say thanks to you for the awesome tricks you are showing on this site. My particularly long internet search has at the end been recognized with high-quality facts and strategies to exchange with my friends. I ‘d express that most of us site visitors are very much fortunate to live in a good website with so many awesome people with beneficial basics. I feel pretty lucky to have seen your web pages and look forward to some more cool minutes reading here. Thanks again for all the details.

  4. I really wanted to jot down a word to say thanks to you for some of the superb facts you are giving out at this website. My particularly long internet research has finally been paid with pleasant knowledge to exchange with my guests. I would state that that many of us site visitors are rather blessed to be in a fantastic network with many perfect people with very helpful tips. I feel very much privileged to have discovered your weblog and look forward to many more excellent minutes reading here. Thank you once again for everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.