So, I was thinking.
There are a ton of marginalized people. Marginalized for different reasons. Race, sexuality, gender identity, disability…..and more. Sometimes people are marginalized in more than one way.
But something bothers me.
I remember, within the last year, someone (from one of these groups) was angry because they weren’t seeing their more privileged friends speaking out about terrible things that had happened.
And something in that bothered me. There was an assumption that everyone that they wanted to speak…even could. Or would be listened to if they did.
It’s not that I don’t think you should speak out and protest evil things being done to others. You should. But there are multiple ways to be marginalized, so if I don’t belong to your group of marginalized people, that doesn’t mean that I’m free from any type of marginalization.
I’d like to channel my privilege into something productive, but I’m not free from marginalization myself.
And again, the assumption that everyone even can speak out..is just not true.
I am autistic. (Or I am a person with autism, if you prefer.) For me, this creates trouble in understanding language, as well as producing it. I mean, I realize that I sound like there’s no problem, but here’s the catch: the problem I have is applying the proper words to the right contexts. I have a rich vocabulary, but I can’t use it effectively.
And as your emotions grow (and mine too), my ability to express myself even passably falters greatly. I know that the event at hand was awful. I am appalled that people treat each other with such disregard for their common humanity.
But I also know that your heightened emotions require carefully planned words, because I want to be supportive. I want to help you, not hurt you. I don’t think that you need my faltering, stumbling words in such a moment. You need someone who can actually say the things that don’t hurt.
I mean, when I’m hurting badly, I really don’t need more pain, even if the other person means well. I would need friendship and love at such a time. I want to be that person for you at this time.
I just..I want you to remember this when you are upset about how few of your friends decry a horrible event.
Sometimes, I just can’t say anything, because I just do not have the language skill that I need to express myself. Sometimes, I can work it out. Sometimes, too much time has passed and it feels like saying anything would just get me yelled at.
Please remember that there are real reasons for people to not be speaking when it would be helpful for you for them to do that.