As an autistic being, why has been a basic need my whole life. Love a given the moment anything is new and requires learning. Someone once accused me of exoticism, to that I no know a reply: if that were accurate their history wouldn’t grieve me nor would their traditions shift that which pains me traumatically. I see each culture a gift full of knowledge for the full rainbow of living. So many have given me that life vest to carry on life’s river forward flow.
Many times in my life racism has been explained historically, socially, and even personally through one on one connections from people of many shades. The most disturbing of these conversations come from people my shade. Some innocent and observational, others directly hateful and willfully ignorant from what is clearly a fear space gained ancestrally. Nothing that deep runs from one lifetime after all.
The first I can remember may be here somewhere else within these achieves: there was a beautiful girl from preschool. Her eyes clear as ice and skin akin to milk chocolate. Her hair always neatly arranged with beautiful bows and beads of color and glitter. I remember begging for some just like hers. This was the girl who taught me how to snap, in fact! Her sweet smile and wave alerted my mother to what I meant, as I didn’t have a name for such things (to this day thats my life: probably forgot what she told me then). Mother sighed and had us wait till the car where I learn the social reality for beings mixed. She was sad as she explained no one would claim that beautiful child, that racism was against her in all ways. As an adult there are movies about this pain people carry I have seen and wept for the girl’s true struggle. As a child I had pretended my mother was just cruel. It didn’t make sense to me.
Many years past. Very few POC in my next schools. I knew the difference was due to location and wealth distribution. Local KKK chapters. I had heard of a couple events they were active in during my high school years. I was astonished no names ever came to light. Forced to watch roots, I realized a higher price to the silence I had given in my private life around such ignorance. Not that anything surfaced aside from my own awareness to those around me. Its almost like I stalled to gather enough information to counter the obvious ignorance. After-all, in my mind at the time, hate came from a lack of exposure learned due to my many moves and seeking of connection. Seemed simple enough…if only that were the sole role at play.
So many years spent listening and gathering knowledge from as many sides possible. Asking why’s strategically. Looking for something beyond their one experience that sounds like a Paul Bunion tale. At that time I didn’t know what I connected with falsity was really just a triggered being attempting to recall. Words so tangled and fast speaking, added in wide eyes with pupils dilating: all signs of adrenaline dumping. These beings had never reached regulation on the events recalled. No surprise in a society thats about ramping up and holding on while stuffing in instead of letting it out and go for good. I get it, still reprograming here.
Finally, living in the south, I came to a decision to respectfully avoid the topic unless within close connections. Personal boundaries have included no hate speech for much of my life. It hurts me, and even as a child I would go elsewhere when the N word started somewhere. Though at that time it had been explained to me through misconceptions that it was okay to say once friendships had commenced. Now I refuse, even if someone did grant it, simply because somethings are too tied to hate to absolve themselves. The word FEELS like hate to me, even in music. (That audio-tactile synesthesia explains so much of my experiences.)
So there I was living in the government housing, a long term cigarette smoker by this point. I sat on my porch regularly. A lady across the street eventually became friendly over months and months. Eventually she began using the N word as she complained about her black neighbor. The first few times I attempted to sympathize while intentionally replacing the phrasing to something less abrasive. We are ripples in action, but it failed that time. I had to directly address her hate.
One day after she said it I called a full stop. Explained to her that I don’t feel the same and explained that I could not sing praises if she could avoid the blunt racism. She agreed. For months I thought the matter was settled and that I had made a true friend with this mother figure like white lady. One morning I was outside and wished the POC a good morning on her way to work. She flipped me off. I was baffled as our only exchanges had been smiles and politeness for the whole year I had been there.
That night I sat with the friend on her porch casually, as was common more than half the week. It was nice to have a friend so close. Well…. the neighbor came home in a huff and tense. I stayed sitting and casually asked for her time once she was available since she had just gotten home. She was immediately screaming. The “friend” jumped up and got in her face. I sat and defensively said it was just so I could understand what the issue was, just in time for the “friend” to shove her causing her to grab me by the hair and pulling me over the rail, thusly beating me senseless into the concrete. I refused to fight over nothing. My mother called the cops once she heard. Next day I found out the “friend” told the neighbor many lies. My agoraphobia intensified, but I didn’t learn to be racist. A white lady’s hate proves nothing, no matter the force used against me. Her point failed to be proven regardless of all her manipulations.
In the last several year there have been many a racist bark near me. Rarely do I participate these days. I just know who not to trust. Any being that needs to be higher than one wants to be higher than all as they are living in trauma and fear as a standard. This is my new understanding of racism. A term of tribalism thats internalized and automatic for survival and connective control in sameness. Only civilized minds are not in this space and unfortunately with the wage gap higher than before the French Revolution, not many have the space to have needs met and escape that traumatized mindset. Living in scarcity is bound to have its draw backs on more than our bodies and budgets, the mind focuses to seek those basic needs by any means.
Since coming out autistic, many beings have assumed the nazis were accurate in my lack of ‘theory of mind’. My traumatized being feeds into this misinterpretation of my being-hood via hate blind science and a current unwillingness to see outside of the observer’s opinion. Because of this ignorance embraced by even medical professionals within my society, people have continually attempted to convince me to believe whatever they do instead of my own developed opinions over time. People have told me everything from be less kind to explaining why I deserve what comes with my skin color.
Understand, there is nothing more disgusting to me. And yet people who barely know me have taken the time to explain to me why racism is acceptable using examples like black women beating whites etc. I have outright blocked more people than I have added in the past few years for attempting to convince me of such ignorance and doing so with such gusto. People in person misidentifying my clothing with labels that don’t even resemble the attire, as if they are announcing their total ignorance while also attempting to slur me for not standing with their hate willfully attempting to convince me that I already misappropriate. (Shaw is the word for that item people: it looks Nothing like a Kimono: from its tight elbow length sleeves to sheer and totally open worn style; its even boarder-less without a waist tie. Inaccuracy drives my autistic self annoyed easily especially with hateful projections. )
Most recently, someone attempted to convince me to sell something that is adapted from about four cultures to help self sooth and remind myself to breathe. Within this conversation this man belittled me for my consideration of those who have cultural rights to each aspect of the tool. He would say a kind word laced with hate waiting on the other-side just as easily as a little kid would explain to a parent about the monster they just knew was under the bed. His speech sped up, pitch raised, it was clear his adrenaline had dumped. He then spouted off about his native blood and how white people took from him too, so it might as well continue as we are all one now. His sentiment a twisted version of the respect of the all I am familiar with. We can be one people and still respect individual rights and practices. We can respectfully partake without making gains. Thats where the threshold sits. He said the N word and was blocked.
Just two days ago, an internet friend of many years started in with the N word. She pretended to abide by my boundaries. Two more times later within thirty minutes and she was proclaiming to me that I need not be afraid, we had won. I told her only the hateful are afraid and blocked her…but isn’t that it? Fear the root of hate. Survival the root of tribalism and all internalized -isms? Even if it is, why are we in scarcity while someone accrues billions? It doesn’t make much sense to keep a world in hate and war due to a natural trauma reaction of the mind to avoid civilized/logical thinking. I mean unless you’re the one making m/billions.
Can we decide to override it as a society without those basics met? Are minds psychologically capable of overcoming need deficiency at a time of need for unity? Or is that the exact recipe for revolution: noticing our similar suffering and connecting because of empty bellies? All I know is, minorities together, including the working poor, massively outnumber those that are making unjust profits off us all. To overcome the injustice for us all, we have to see the value in each, which means releasing old pains connected to trauma minded black and white thinking. Thats where stereotypes live. Mechanisms of protection that over simplify reality on the basis of pain past. Judgements of entire groups over singular events or something passed ancestrally… whatever the case, fearing each other is in the way. We’ve lost sight of thriving in the name of surviving, but we can change that as a community connected and willing to be accountable for the real abuses we each face daily as members of the majority suffering.