"See, what had happened was..." Do white folks ever say this?

As a preface to a poor excuse or flat-out lie?

The first time I ever heard this expression it was from Will Smith’s character on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since then, I’ve only heard it from black people. I hear it very frequently, but it never fails to make me laugh.

Just curious if this comical expression is completely foreign to white people.

I’ve never heard white people say it. Actually I haven’t heard anyone say it in years.

Absolutely not. Their mouth is incapable forming the words. :rolleyes:

There are billions of people on this earth, and you can count on many white people saying that exact phrase.

I hear it at work often enough. I work in a factory that’s about 50% white, and liars of all races freely employ that set-up.

For a living, I spend a lot of time in my office listening to college students offer up all sorts of interesting excuses for poor behavior. I can attest to the fact that “See, what had happened was …” knows no boundaries. It is truly universal.

If it means anything, I recently had a black friend use it in the wrong context. She and I had big weekend plans coming up, and towards the middle of the preceding work week, I got an e-mail from her, the subject line of which was, “See, what had happened was . . .”

So I fully expected the message to be an excuse as to why she would need to back out of our plans. Turned out, it was just an anecdote about something she’d done to prepare for our upcoming rendez-vous.

So. For whatever that’s worth.

I say it sometimes, and I’m white.
But my usual preface is “The thing is . . .”

Wait, that’s how I begin all my stories. Uh oh.

(The joke is that I realised that I’m a liar, not that I’m black. I just noticed that there could be ambiguity.)

It’da been funnier is if that’s how you realized you were black.

I always find myself using it just when I’m about to blame a black person for something.

Like this “See, what had happened with the global warming was…” raise eyebrows & gesture toward Monstro.

I cannot recall having heard it - and I know a lot of white people. :slight_smile:

I knew I shouldn’t have eaten all those beans yesterday!

I say it. Not too often, but often enough.

Have a buddy back in Texas who talked about something he called “Aight, it’s like this, see?” stories. Usually a student in a Professor’s office explaining why he needs this extra bit of wiggle room to pass a class that he would have otherwise failed. My friend was pretty good at it, but on top of that, he was also an extraordinarily hard worker, so that probably helped him too.

Short, broad-shouldered dude with red hair and a beard. Liked to chop down trees for fun. We called him “Gimli”.

I’ve heard it plenty, and also the related “Aight, it’s like this, see?” from white people.

I don’t believe black people do the classic “No shit, there I was…”, however.

That would be the Society for Creative Anachronisms, from what I understand.

"So no shit, there I was, up to my tits in the elephant grass, sweltering desert sun, raining sideways. There were a million of them, and only one of me, armed only with a rusted dagger.

It was a good day to be me." :smiley:

My favorite variant is the audience-participation one:

Braggard: "So there I was… :smiley: "
Audience: "…Noooo shit… :rolleyes: "

The only time I use it is when I’m telling a joke lie and want to clue people in as to the fact that I’m kidding.

I always thought it was a phrase used by Hollywood for comedic effect.

i’m white, and i vaguely knew this phrases origins but we’ve all heard it in many situations. people reference it frequently. but any time me and my friends of various races tell a story that’s complex or hard to believe (we get up to some shenanigans + the world is a fever dream in ways our barely adult selves never knew it was lol) if we have to say “so what had happened was” we stop and repeat it with emphasis, though i never knew it was a phrase with specifically Black creator origin. we just stop, because anytime you have to say that in the middle of the story… shit’s going down, lol. but i asked around and apparently none of us knew the exact origin of it; it’s so widely referenced that even those of us who grew up with the fresh prince airing at bedtime and watched it to fall asleep did not know that- but we were at most 8 years old then.

tl;dr: yes, but it’s a phrase so widely referenced no one in gen z knows where it came from, it’s just a meme to us.

also, i know this is an old question, but i was just googling the origins of this phrase and this was like the fourth or fifth result, lol!