I’m one of the little white girls in the group photos below. From Kindergarten through fourth grade, I was in classes where white kids were the minority. I always thought that my social difficulties were because I was white. Maybe it was actually because I was a little Aspie…
As the years went by, more and more white kids dropped out and went to other schools. This was during the early days of integration, the end of segregation, and a lot of white parents didn’t want their children around black kids.
My parents weren’t like that. In fact, when a black family moved in next door to us, and everyone else on the block put up “For Sale” signs in their house windows, my parents refused to do that. Eventually, some signs came down. Other neighbors moved on.
Over the years, I became increasingly frustrated and turned around with regard to socializing. I had a hard time hearing the differences between sounds, and I thought that I had trouble because I was a white girl surrounded by black kids. But I was having a ton of different problems — total sensory overload.
Socially, it was very difficult for me to interact, not least because I didn’t know the rules for how to interact with other kids. White kids had one set of rules. Black kids had a different set of rules. I couldn’t figure it out. Plus, I couldn’t figure out why I was being treated like a girl, when I was obviously a little boy.
I called myself “Billy”. There’s an old bulletin board in my parents’ house that still has “my real name” on it. I put it there with magic marker.
Oddly, my parents never said anything about this.