Years ago, a small band called the Crickets from Lubbock was booked to play in NYC at the Apollo Theater, the center of the black entertainment community. When the curtain parted after an introduction, those in the packed house were shocked to see Buddy Holly and his two bandmates. They were white!
Years later, during a televised Country Music Awards program at the Grand Ole Opry, millions of viewers had assumed that Charlie Pride would be nominated because of his hit song, “Just Between You and Me,” but were shocked to learn, when he came out to sing it, that he was black!
Since 1983, Bill Rhoden has been writing about sports for The New York Times. Over the years, many blacks called him an “Uncle Tom” or an “Oreo” because they assumed he was white, prejudiced against blacks. Meanwhile, many whites assumed he was black, prejudiced against whites.
Assumptions are not certainties and, in fact, many of them make no sense whatsoever.
It’s worth the effort to validate assumptions, especially your own, because they really can be what Henry Winkler characterizes as “the termites of relationships.”