By Anne Anjao-Eboi
The Introduction by Jonathan Kariara is a poem that has a priceless lesson in it. In this well-written poem, Kariara talks about the folly of making hasty conclusions about people without taking time to understand them. Let me fill you in.
The main character in the poem is taking a walk when he meets a friend. The friend has a companion whose dressing and looks is nothing to write home about. The speaker quickly sizes him up and decides he has no time for such people. He openly displays disinterest in the stranger.
But after a few minutes, his ears pick something. The person he has been ignoring turns out to be a famous author with great credentials. Immediately, the speaker’s demeanor changes and like the hypocrite he is, he feigns interest in the author.
It is the same with us. We have been made to believe that the most powerful individuals are those who have loads of money and wield immense power. We have a perception about how such people ought to live and behave. They must wear clothes worth Sh200,000, drive a Rolls Royce and live in a posh neigbourhood.
An intern to a certain company told me his experience at a new firm. He reported to work on day one and one of the managers took an immediate dislike to him because of his small stature.
Two years later, the intern had the last laugh when he handed in his resignation letter for better prospects and this same manager was begging him to stay.
The manager had finally realised that this intern was an asset to the company. Not even a pay increase would convince the intern to stay.
I also recall many years back when I reported to my workstation and was well received. Later on, I was to learn the boss had sworn he would not employ people from my community because he felt we were already too many and he needed a balance.
I was lucky because he could not place my community from my name. Thanks to his wrong judgment, I escaped a clear case of discrimination based on ethnicity.