Wednesday 24 May 2023

Essential Snobbery 101: The waning art of discretion

In view of the setting

It is interesting to review a day in which some setting within which I found myself brought a mix of behaviours, attitudes, prejudices, and indiscretions which on reflection just indicated how much we need to be self-aware of how what and how we do things can affect others.

In the first instance, the engagement which had moved from the necessities and essentials of effective communication last week was initially an exercise in how the same instructions given to a group can present different results in comprehension and action. Though the core element for the day was the broader subject of diversity, equality, and inclusion.

An undress in address

In a multicultural grouping of diverse and variant abilities, this would bristle against the learned long before the acquired suits you to the environment. My first encounter came with an enthusiastic fashion aficionado who in my view probably knows what goes with what for what time of the day but forgot to recognise we were not being groomed for either the catwalk or the red carpet.

As I asked to sit with them, my acknowledgement of compliments on my apparel seemed to open the door to a level of intrusion that should have invited rather than imposed. However, she took it upon herself to instruct me on what choices of colour and style should match what I was wearing. I could have brusquely rebuffed her and asked her to mind her own business, but I made the allowances in observation of an intriguing display of the use of discretion.

Absent filters of sharing

As the day progressed, there is something about just giving out too much information, where even as you begin to cultivate familiarity in a grouping you let down your guard too easily to reveal what probably should be kept to yourself in some eagerness to share something that might yet not be known about you.

Even though I can be quite expressive, I still filter the products I share and consider what is a no-need-to-know in consideration of how what one dares to share might affect others. Discretion is an art in and of itself.

Once some secrets of others were shared, there were a few instances where I could have interjected with ‘Me Too’, but I was not so inclined, I learned much and revealed little else, but in the observation of character, you appreciate who to keep in your confidences.

Of prejudice in scowls

Then came the apologies, this was in the aftermath of both discrimination and prejudice that some would have observed as redolent of a stereotype belonging to a certain demographic that for a matter of discretion again one would think but never voice.

The need not to voice everything that comes to mind even when there is irresistible prompting is a discipline in awareness and sometimes necessary not upset others.

That I found myself in the middle of the exchange whilst offering an example to buttress a point was incidental, but I was only ready to reveal so much about myself without laying out myself to avoidable vulnerability and exposure in sharing information that was not germane to the discussion. It was rattling and eventually resolved, uncomfortable would not fully describe what happened.

Platform pearls before swine

Back at home, I happened upon a tweet that included a clip to a BBC interview with an unctuous ingenue, a Nigerian male YouTuber who with little urging seemed to spill the beans on the immigration inclinations of his fellow countryfolk just at a time the UK government has been looking for a means to reduce net immigration and dependants joining students during their sojourn in the UK.

He, apparently a dependant himself, in his excitement ingratiated himself with a forwardness lacking self-reflection that could implicate him in immigration fraud, when he inferred that he had helped some falsify documentation apart from painting Nigeria and Nigerians in a very bad light. His quest for notoriety and clout presented more than an opportunity for indiscretion and lascivious boast of questionable ability or prowess. If ever the pearls of a large platform were cast before swine.

We remain, good ambassadors

He no doubt irked many a Nigerian at home and abroad, but I, being a 25-year resident of the UK and another 12 in the Netherlands; we Nigerians by birth, heritage, or allyship are unwittingly ambassadors in the communities wherein we are and no upstart regardless of the platform they gain can rubbish the good and useful contributions we indicate in our communities.

Honest Nigerians need not fear a backlash in their quest to emigrate, this would blow over as we have always faced hurdles from as far back as memory would allow and have still made the moves and progress, we have desired. Our YouTuber who would not be granted even basic recognition would fade into obscurity with just the same speed as which he came to our notice. An irrelevance in the scheme of things.

In the sidebar, I joined a Twitter space to assure Nigerians of continuing our good work and for all I had to say, one was too distracted to listen for he had read my profile and all he could glean from it was to ask why I am gay. I could have been exasperated, but when you realise that some can never learn to mind their own business, you make a cursory note and ignore it.

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