It’s important to start this, I think, by talking about self-fulfilling prophecies.
A self-fulfilling prophecy is “a false definition of [a] situation, evoking a behaviour which makes the originally false conception come true.”
For me, this happened when my A-level PE teacher nicknamed me Sinker Doswell, because Black people can’t swim. In reality, I was actually a pretty competent swimmer: strong and fast in both front crawl and backstroke. Still, I was used as the example of how not to do it. Later, on being assured of the “science” – that Black people’s bones are more dense, making us less buoyant, with fast twitch muscles that make us excellent sprinters instead – I assumed it was true. Black people really weren’t made for swimming. It wasn’t until this week, 15 years later, that I learned this “science” was made up.
And that’s the thing: if someone in a position of authority teaches self-fulfilling prophecies as facts, they’re not just absorbed. They become reality.
Ready to join The Flock?
When you join The Flock, you pay it forward. Every paid subscription generates a second for a woman on reduced income, ensuring we remain advertising-free and accessible to all.
Want to support us? Subscribe below for just £4.99 a month and get your first 14 days free. Can’t afford that right now? Click waitlist, and you’ll get 14 days free access while you wait for someone to pay it forward.
Already have an account? Sign in here.