I don’t always talk about all the deep dark negatives that come with living the special needs life. I like to stay positive and think on the things of God...of HIS truth. Ultimately, that’s ALL that matters. But I do live in the world. And it can sure be hurtful. And sometimes it’s beneficial to share those things, right?
I can’t speak to how it feels to be the target of racism. I never will. My skin color shields me from experiencing racism. However, I can speak on what I know about discrimination. I know that disability has changed the way I view the world. I thank God for autism and I thank God for how disability has changed my family. I thank God that Jacob’s struggles allowed my eyes to be opened to prejudice. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts me that people don’t look at Jacob as their equal. But I am thankful to have a greater understanding of prejudices in this world.
No, our situation is not nearly the same as what the black community is experiencing and I would NEVER imply that. But I’ve seen people avert their eyes when Jacob's acting odd more times than I can count. I’ve also seen people stare at us nearly everywhere we go. I've heard whispers, not just from kids, but from adults. I’ve seen many, many moms pull their kids away from him. Add in the service dog and we are stared at like a freak show.
It’s hard, y’all. Sometimes people look on us in fear, but usually just because we are odd. I’ve heard the rudest and most hurtful comments. I’ve felt judgement. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when he is making noises as a large male teen or adult. I’ve read articles of instances of police mistaking individuals with autism for people who are aggressive or non-compliant because they don't understand commands and harming them. I’ve heard of moms terrified about police encounters with their adult male children with autism.
This is not even remotely compared to the amount of horrific racist encounters, but enough to absolutely terrify me. What if Jacob won’t comply? What’s if Jacob won’t answer questions? I can’t even prep him for that. And all of this pales in comparison to what the black community experiences and the racism they’ve endured for years. But do you know what it has shown me? It's shown me that Jacob is NOT considered equal in the eyes of most. People abort babies just because of disability because they feel they aren’t even worthy of life! It’s horribly sad. This doesn’t even touch on what the black community is experiencing.
But, I'm thankful for God opening my eyes to this world. I am thankful for God showing me the incredible value of Jacob's life and every single life of individuals with disabilities. How differences are something to celebrate, not to discriminate against. I am thankful that is true for every race as well.
All I have is one tiny voice and our tiny experiences, but I will speak up for those that are marginalized. And a lot of tiny voices add up to one BIG voice. I see how incredibly disgusting and wrong it is. Im thankful to God for opening my eyes to my biases and convicting me to my core. God reveal our racism and help us to love as you do! We are ALL created in Gods image.
If you haven’t searched your heart yet, if you’re confused about all that is going on or if your heart is hardened to this because of riots or protests, I urge you to pray. No, violence is NEVER the answer. The riots will end, by the grace of God, but the racism will continue.
I beg and plead with you to ask God to reveal these biases to you so that you can repent and learn to love like Him! I ask you to share your disgust about racism publicly and stand up for truth in any way you can to be productive and helpful. Please speak with your children about racism, about differences, and about standing up for what's right. It's not an easy subject, but when you say nothing, it says a lot. Do not insight more anger and violence, but encourage people to love, respect, and unify together.
What I know from my very small life is that God can create something new from something very broken. The old me is gone and I cannot give enough thanks to God for that. God can give you a new heart, too. A heart that sees things differently. A heart that loves all of God's creation the way HE does.
'I once was lost, but now I am found.' To God be the glory.
"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory." James 2:1