Talking About Trayvon Martin
I have been thinking a lot about Trayvon Martin this week (If you aren't familiar with the case, please start by watching the clip from the Chris Hayes show embedded below). One reason I've been thinking about Trayvon is the danger that our own autistic men of color face. Most recently, Stephon Watts was killed by police for attacking them with what his family says was a butter knife. Ernest Vassell was killed by police last year for carrying a toy gun.
I especially wanted to show the above sequence from Melissa Harris-Perry, which features young black men reacting to the tragedy. They are the people I am most interested in hearing from, just as I want most to hear from autistic people about events that affect us.
After the jump, I also include a clip from my favorite MSNBC show, Up With Chris Hayes. One of the other reasons I've been thinking about Trayvon Martin so much this week is that Ta-Nehisi Coates, my current favorite writer on the web, has been writing brilliantly and passionately about him. Coates appeared on Hayes' show yesterday to discuss the case, and the entire panel ended up talking about bias in a very nuanced and intelligent way that I wish we could bring to similar discussions about autism.
Coates talks about how we think of racists as "evil trolls who live under the bridge." We do not recognize that we all carry bias, that we are all guilty of bigotry. We want to say these things exist only in the other, and only when they approach cartoon villainy (like The Help). He says that bias also operates in this way:
Absolute sympathy for some people, and absolute skepticism for others.