5 Things People Assume When You’re a Black Girl Named Ashley and You Speak “Proper”
Not only am I named Ashley, but I’m a Black girl who speaks “proper” English named Ashley. I also hail from Oakland, California and not the rich part. I rock a giant afro, don’t eat fried chicken or watermelon, and believe in reincarnation. Have I blown your mind yet? If I have, please slap yourself.
I’ve dealt with a lot of stereotypes just like every other brother and sister, but there’re a special five assumptions that come with being very Black and having what is considered to be “White” first impression.
i. That calling me “Ashley Banks” is original.
Yeah, I liked “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, too, but…
I’ve often wondered how many brain injuries this thought caused all the unoriginal people who came up with it.
ii. That I’m White
and the “Oh, I Thought You Were White” look that this false assumption creates.
This tends to happen when I make appointments for doctors, lawyers, schools and my personal favorite…
I notice it less and less these days because of the internet, but I still get a kick out of walking up to someone who had a full blown conversation with me over the phone and assumed I was White. The side eye, that fresh surprise they can’t put away quickly enough, the occasional,
“Oh! You’re Ashley?”
Yes. I’m Ashley.
iii. That I’m Less Offended By Invasive Questions.
It seems like there’s always someone who has something they’ve “always been curious about” and I feel like I’m the one they pick to be the representative of every Black person on earth because I’m somehow a little less threatening than “Shaniqua”. Do Black men have big penises? How did you get your hair like that? Who is Felicia? I want you guys to know I take it upon myself to go ahead and give them the most incorrect facts I can muster without laughing. You’re welcome.
iv. That I’m Not Down for the Cause.
I can’t have too many general conversations until the topic begins to veer into a very militant arena. It’s who I am — I have opinions and I have questions. But I notice how surprised people get when they hear that I’ve marched in protests, participated in sit-ins, and written op-ed pieces that tackled subjects other people would rather not touch on. Being an active member of my community does not require that I have a certain name, level of education, tone of voice, or cosmetic look.
It just requires that I be conscious.
v. That I Don’t Bite.
I’m not all that scrappy, mainly because facial scars are my second biggest fear in life, but also because fighting is usually pointless. I remember being tried a lot when I was younger. Girls always came for me before they even knew me and I used to think it was because I was so pretty (like my mother told me). But in actuality I think people just don’t read “I might have razor blades in my bangs” from a girl named Ashley who just corrected your grammar.