"I Don't Know If You Have Ever..."

Unpacking the assumption of "lesserness"

Hello friends,

There’s a particular experience I’ve observed, and I wonder if any of you have too. I’ve talked before about the assumption of wrongness that puts Black people under suspicion wherever they go in spaces where they are minoritised, and may even result in their deaths.

But there’s also another assumption which feels pretty shitty - the assumption that as a Black person you haven’t had access to good stuff. As I keep saying, we are not a monolith, and though there are many systemic obstacles for many of us, sometimes we have privileges too - and we do stuff.

For me, the not so subtle questioning of my ability, financial stability and so on usually starts with “I don’t know if” or “I don’t know if you have ever”, with a large helping of incipient condescension and preparation for some ‘splaining. And the flip side of that is the out and out surprise when you have had an experience that your usually white interrogator considers to be outside the norm for a Black person.

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