‘Is this yours? … Did you write this?’
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Without laying claim to a working-class background, my experience of educational achievement was accompanied at school by a characteristic refrain from teachers in response to any work of mine which was of a particularly high standard. The underlying assumption seemed to be that being a high achiever and a Black girl were mutually exclusive. The acquisition of a first and a higher degree belie this. Nevertheless, my efforts to build a freelance creative career in London can only be undertaken by still living at home and these efforts certainly don’t offer any guarantee of the kind of security my parents’ paths gave them. That early refrain established an awareness that has grown over time of others’ low expectations of my abilities that continues to inform and shape the way I move through the world as a Black woman—movements illustrated here through poems.
KeywordsLow expectations Entitlement Stepping aside Museums Silencing
- Coard, B. (1971). How the West Indian Child is made Educationally Sub-normal in the British School System. London: New Beacon.Google Scholar