It really was not big enough. Not for comfort. I needed it to be just a few millimetres bigger and then I would be happy, then it would be right, but there was no way I could make it any bigger.
When I was younger, I used to hear people say “the average person” a lot. In current times it is often replaced with “the general public” I would be puzzled by this term because, usually what followed was a quote about what the average person/ man wanted, needed or expected. Except I often didn’t know anyone who that applied to. It took me a while to work out that the average person was a white man.
But so much of England has been built around this average person. From everyday products to medical terms and testing. Many years ago my husband underwent moths of medical procedures because they thought that he had something wrong with his liver, it was when a black consultant that bought it to an end when she pointed out he had no symptoms of illness and everything was based on a blood test which compares his results to those of a 40 year old white man in the 1960’s!
So why I am I talking about size? Well because this is an area that is where black people are forgotten, and the measure is that average person.
Glasses. It is estimated that 59-77% of the UK wear glasses. That is a massive number. With most of the population wearing glasses you would think that they would be easily accessible for everyone. Surely, I am not suggesting that there is racism in the glasses manufacturing realm.
Yeah, I am.
It’s all about size.
You see the average person (that white man) has a small nose bridge, around 15 mm, the world majority do not. But guess who glasses designers and manufacturers build glasses for? Yeah, the average person.
So now imagine a household with a couple of teenagers and 2 parents. They all need glasses. But they are not average. They struggle to find cheap glasses at Specsavers, nothing for them in the budget range and so they either wear glasses that don’t really fit, (something I see a lot of), or they spend more than the average person to get a basic essential. The thing is we are talking about a few millimetres to make glasses suitable for the global majority. Glasses with a bridge measuring of 20mm and up would make all the difference.
Now this might seem like, you know, just one of those things. Some things cost more in life, you might think that you are not in the global majority, but you also have a face shape that requires more expensive glasses. And there are companies that make glasses specifically for black and brown people. They cost around 3 times as much, but they are there.
But here’s the rub.
Black women are often paid less for their jobs than their white counterparts and all men. Make up, tights, hair products (the average visit to a hairdresser is 3 times that of the average person) all cost them more, because these is made for the average person. They will travel further to find suitable childcare, and so on and so on. Life is more expensive of you are black and in the UK.
This constant strain on our finances takes away choices. The Runnymede trust recently reported that Black and minority ethnic people are 2.5 times more likely to be in relative poverty, and 2.2 times more likely to be in deep poverty, than their white counterparts. In May, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) thinktank published analysis warned that Black, Asian and other ethnic minority households will experience an average increase in the cost of living 1.6 times greater than their white counterparts.
All of these extra expenses are crushing families, deepening racial inequality and for the most part they are unnecessary. It would be a minor thing for major corporations and manufacturing to level the playing field in these areas. To actually look again at average.
The black pound remains untapped in so many areas and this is a loss to communities and the economy.
I am not an economist; I have no insight into the treasury or the world bank. I am just a woman who would really like not to have to spend so much time and money trying to buy a pair of glasses and someone who is once again thinking. There is a better way
The Deconstruction of Humanity's Voice, But We Are Still Standing by Jesse Yaw Published: 30 November 2022
We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba