In a world where information is at our fingertips, it seems strange that true ignorance can be a reason for racial bias anymore.
A couple of taps on your phone and most erroneous facts can be dismantled.
Ashley C. Ford is a writer, who notably became pen pals and then IRL friends with Lena Dunham at the height of her Girls fame.
She shares personal stories on her Twitter account because she believes, 'in the power of personal storytelling to reveal the greater truths of humanity. When people from all walks of life respond to my story with stories and beliefs of their own, the bigger picture is impossible to ignore.'
And 'impossible to ignore', this was.
Ashley explained in a thread that she has come across a lot of white people (in America) who think that Black people go to U.S. colleges for free.
One particular time, she recalls working at a summer camp when she was 19-years-old, the year she would head off to higher education.
Whilst working there, another camp worker asked her about the college brochure she was looking at (keen bean or what?), she replied, and then asked him about his plans for University, to which he replied, 'Yeah, I didn't even apply for college.'
When she asked why, he replied, 'Can't afford it. I'm white, so you know, it isn't free for me.'
He wasn't the only one at the camp, and they were all genuinely surprised by the notion that black people didn't get a free education.
Moreover, the white camp peers also had tales of 'affirmative action' (for us Brits, we might interpret that as 'political correctness') being the reason their male family members had been passed over for jobs - the same family members who had explained to the teenagers that black people had free access to College.
Not only did they think black people were shoe-horned into jobs they weren't qualified for, or got College places for free, but lots of other things too, like housing and food.
Ashley has an amazingly resilient perspective, saying that, 'Before that summer I thought racism was something people did, not something they believed. I was naive af. But hey! We all gotta learn.'
Since she wrote the thread, Ford has commented on the different responses she has received.
Some people calling her racist.
Other POC (mainly black and native American people) saying they had experienced the same thing.
And white people admitting they, themselves, had heard and thought that.
Many people attempted to prove to Ashley that black people do intact get college for free (Ashley herself is black and paid for college, but whatever, details details) by saying black people sometimes get scholarships.
Ford said in a first-person article for Refinery29:
Do I believe that all white people think Black people get to go to college for free? Nope. Do I think we should be talking about the ones who do, and how that belief feeds the enduring narrative of economic anxiety in some white families and communities? Absolutely. And until we start having those conversations, uncomfortable as they might be, the cycle of ignorant racism will only continue.
And to think this is only a problem in the U.S. would be misguided.
We recently covered a story about a black Cambridge student and blogger, Courtney Daniella, who was dealing with racist trolls claiming she didn't deserve her place at the prestigious University, and that she had gotten in purely because of her ethnicity.
These myths are deeply harmful- people should be celebrated for their achievements and applauded for their hard work, particularly if life hasn't afforded them the same care and privilege as others.