I was an inquisitive child. My grandmother called me nosy, but I like to think I had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I would often ask questions that were answered with an, “It’s none of your business.”
“Why did he never marry?”
“It’s none of your business”
“Why does she have so many friends?”
“It’s none of your business.”
Sometimes, when my questions became too invasive, she would end those conversations with a simple statement: “Stay out of grown folks business.” I knew then I needed to fall back. The use of that phraseology informed me that I’d overstepped my boundaries by venturing into an area off limits for someone with my limited experience. It said I was ill-equipped to comment on the subject at hand.
This is a lesson some white folks need to learn. Their socialization in a culture permeated by white supremacy makes many think they have the right to participate in conversations where they do not. A recent example of this is when Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams referred to Stephen Curry and other players for the Golden State Warriors as “little monkeys.” Instead of allowing those who might be offended to voice their concern and lead the discussion, many felt the need to jump into the conversation and defend Adams by referencing his New Zealand heritage—as if white supremacy is only an American phenomenon. It’s not.