Younger people like to express this short sentence – inevitably – when a question is asked that refers to a past that is historically longer ago than these younger people are old or can remember. For in this way they legitimize very simply that they cannot offer an answer or even reflections in the context of this question – precisely because they were not yet born then. What a strange statement: After all, the overwhelming majority of what makes up a world with people took place “before my time”.
In this way, each individual biography becomes the substance of history and everything before it is disregarded. Even more: The assertion “my time” pretends that there is a private time and ignores how much any biography is shaped by history as well as by social formation. “That was before my time” persists in its own mirror image and does not even recognize that the mirror really only provides an uncritical reflection.