Opinion

Do not generalize tribe

A female teacher at Chinese Friendship Secondary School once asked me which region I come from. I am from Bahr el Ghazal that was my answer to her question. She paused and said, “You are the relatives of money”. She thought everybody from Bahr el Ghazal region is rich, while forgetting that I am with her in the same field of work. We are also sharing the same economic hardship. As I write this article, she is not alone in this philosophy; there are many people in this country with the same mindset. I know, for some consecutive times, a particular group of people can treat you according to the region or tribe you come from. It’s hard not to say, as angry South Sudanese woman had this to say “all men are the same,” sometimes? I know. Our bad experiences may give belief to this; other people’s experience, too.
However, remember that just as you may wrongly generalize people, so may others wrongly generalize you. Just as you may think that all men are bad, so may another ill-treated man assume all women are bad! But is such a generalization true? Of course not.

Our experiences are based on who we meet. That is why it is so wrong to generalize everyone. Coming into contact with one bad man doesn’t mean every man on this country is bad.

Your experiences, whether good or bad, should help you make some vital decisions in your life. However, you should not generalize every situation you may encounter with regards to your past experiences.

If you went down a particular road, for instance, and got attacked because you belong to a certain tribe, it doesn’t go without saying that every time you go down that same road, you may have that same experience. Your bad experiences should teach you vital lessons. They should not change you. You are not your bad experience!

There is a young woman who had five children from five different men and on each count, the men promised her marriage. I am asking myself this question. Did she learn her lessons at all?

Our experiences should teach us lessons we shouldn’t ever forget but it shouldn’t change our perception of people. You see, after her first experience, she should have learnt her lessons. Unfortunately, she didn’t.

When we were small boys at Mapuordit (Eastern Lake state), I was once chased by a neighbor’s dog after forcing my way into their home. After that disturbing experience, I grew up with a particular feeling towards every dog? Hatred and fear. But come on, not all dogs were bad. Some were actually friendly to hang around with.

With time, I learnt a lesson. Don’t rush into someone’s home uninvited! Much as I tried, I did away with that hateful feeling towards every single dog I met down the street. Our bad experiences should not make us feel everyone would treat us like someone did because they bear their names too or even have the same profession. Learn your lessons. Don’t generalize people!

Draw a thick line between your lessons and your perception towards others. When we allow our bad experiences to force us to generalize situations and put people into tribal mindset, we miss out on golden opportunities, trust me. When we permit our unfortunate experiences to define us, we never live life to the fullest.

We suspect everyone around us. Our bad experiences may forever control our thought patterns if we allow them to. They would prevent us from ever taking new chances or opportunities because of fear or bitterness. They would hold our lives back.

Your bad experiences should make you learn your lessons, I repeat. Forgive the people but don’t forget your lessons. Life is always not the same. Having an unpleasant experience with a particular group of people or tribe, for instance, doesn’t mean every single person who belongs there would treat you the same. When we generalize people, it will be very hard to get the best out of them.

The fact that a man treated you badly doesn’t make all men evil. It’s very unfair to regard all men as same because of what just one or two of them did to you. Don’t be all bitter about marriage because a woman mistreated you. Don’t take a revenge on others because of what another did. It’s such a pain to let go of your bad experience but it’s even more painful to let strangers pay for what they did not do to you!

Can you imagine if every employer insulted you in the face because an employee once hurt them? That’s exactly how it looks like when we become all bitter towards others for what they even know nothing about. Treat others as you may want others to treat you.

The good man that lives inside of us is like the spots of a leopard. The kindness that sits in our hearts is like how our names have been fixed on our minds. We are originally born well. Our experiences make us go bad.

Just as we can barely forget our names, so can we barely let go of the good being in us. Don’t exchange the good inside for a bad experience. Learn your lessons but still be a good person. Don’t stop doing well because someone didn’t appreciate it. Your bad experiences should not change you. They should not define us. No matter how harsh the rains are, they can’t wash the leopard’s spots. Be good in spite of all the bad that has been tossed at you.

Don’t regard every day as bad because one was. Our past should not contaminate our future. We are not our bad experiences! It’s hard to be the good person you were until your bad experience came. However, you can’t let others change who you really are. Learn your lessons but don’t let them get in the way of how you perceive or treat others.

Be that good man always. Don’t let anyone take away your kind heart, young woman. No matter how many times people return your goodness with ingratitude, still do good to others just because they need it and not because you want something in return.

Learn your lessons. However, don’t make others pay for those lessons. Every person or opportunity you meet is new. Don’t mess it up with your bitterness. Yes, be cautious but don’t be suspicious.

The writer can be reachable via: riakmading@gmail.com or contact: +211927020700

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