assumption vs. perception

i assumed that when i came across the sign above that Haltestelle ausser Betrieb (Busstop out of service) meant the bus wasn’t going to stop there anymore. but i could be wrong maybe the bus stop is just broken. how does a bus stop get broken? i thought the primary function of a bus stop was to let you know where to stand. the stop part still works. there’s no bus but you can still stand there all you want.

and when i read this quote:
Agba Mangalabou, who arrived from Togo in 2002, recalls his surprise when he moved here from Europe. “In Germany, everyone knew I was African,” he said. “Here, nobody knows if I’m African or American.”
More Africans Enter U.S. Than in Days of Slavery
– SAM ROBERTS – 21-2-2005-NYT

it became clear to me that assumption often passes as perception. probably everyone feels good being perceived for what they are. yet somehow being assumed for what you are comes from the same place as being assumed for what you are not. it’s the same ignorance in a different context. just like nobody in the states is asking him about Togo, nobody in Germany (or Europe), in an everyday context, is trying to hear that a dark-skinned Black person is from anywhere but Africa. i will never forget a train ride in paris where a strange white man, so surprised that i was not from Senegal, had the nerve to tell me that most black Americans look mixed with something. you know like Whitney Houston, he said. another (dated) assumption with no experience behind it. in agba’s case, i can’t imagine that everybody knew anything. they were just assuming instead of asking a question. how simple is it to ask, where are you from? instead of trying to relate.

ironic note: i’m assuming “everybody” meant white folk.


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