It’s an issue that plagues countless people, no matter the race, gender, or socio-economic status. However, no one talks about the particular kind of imposter syndrome that I, and many other black women face. I have spent innumerable hours overthinking all of the ways in which I wasn’t good enough; refused to raise my hand in class because I didn’t want to get the answer wrong and then be labeled “The un-intelligent black girl who got in due to a quota”. Jobs that I refused to apply for as soon as I saw even one little qualification I didn’t have. Shrinking myself, making myself smaller, limiting myself only to what was comfortable. I never wanted any more attention, negative, or positive, than what was already associated with how I looked.
And then I had a moment Junior year in my European history class.
During a class discussion, I had a comment on the subject material that I felt was valid and maybe even thought provoking. However, In my scared ignorance, I let the idea pass, listening to the other students share their thoughts. Just when I thought the topic shifted, a nondescript white boy raised his hand…and blurted out almost the exact thing I wanted to say! Just worse, with no nuance, or really any actual commentary. The class continued and that was that. I doubt he even thought about it, even as he was making the comment. I realized then and there that this same dude would probably go on to be CEO of a company because he, like most white men are socialized consciously, or not, to not fear inadequacy, since society validates the things they say, or do. Right or wrong.