Explaining hate crimes to a 10-year-old with autism

posted by Jeff | Friday, May 8, 2020, 8:26 PM | comments: 0

The Ahmaud Arbery shooting story is sad and strange. A black man jogging was targeted as a criminal for the color of his skin, and killed.  We have tried to explain that story to Simon, and it's difficult for him to understand.

Racism, throughout American history, has been a force diluted a generation at a time. It's a pace that's entirely too slow. But the sheer diversity of the nation, generation by generation gives me hope. I was born into the time of desegregation of the Cleveland school district. Starting second grade, I was bused to a school on the other side of town, so the composition of the class was roughly half white, half African-American. Being introduced to diversity at that age, certainly I noticed a difference in skin color between me and the other kids, but I cared for exactly two or three days.

Simon only knows school in Central Florida, which is nearly half Latino, but also composed of people of African, South Asian and East Asian descent. This is his normal.

There are still white people in the world who see a person of color and perceive them as a threat. I'm personally and admittedly naive to believe that this can't be possible in 2020, but it most certainly is. Like a lot of people, I think I was drawn into a false sense of progress just because we elected Obama. But hate crimes, white supremacists, they're still a thing.

If there's anything strange about being a parent, it's trying to explain and rationalize this to a child. There's nothing rational about it.


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