Lessons from the past

For those of you that know me, you’ll know that I’m very passionate about certain subjects. Injustice being one of them. Racism and bigotry are in there too. I think this could be connected to my condition– Asperger’s Syndrome, that I’ve mentioned in previous articles. The other adult Autistics I have come across seem to share similar feelings regarding fairness and equality. We are thought of as having no empathy too! I strongly disagree with that- we have plenty, too much sometimes. We’re even thought of as aloof.

My husband jokingly calls me ‘The Ice Queen’ because he says I’m cold! Well, at least I stay fresh in the summer! We do have emotions but don’t always show them how you’d expect. There are many misconceptions about us, I don’t think Rain Man helped either– that damn film! When I tell people I have Asperger’s Syndrome, some presume I’m a mathematical genius. Quite frankly, maths has never even been my strong point! I also think some of my opinions could come from my family history. My Jewish great grandfather escaped Lithuania before the Holocaust. Had he waited a few years; he probably wouldn’t have survived.

As a family, we’ve never held racist or bigoted views. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, given what we were told about our heritage. Something that’s bothering me now is the derogatory language used about Chinese people. I appreciate the government in China have made mistakes regarding Covid-19. But I’m seeing some people call for a total boycott of Chinese trade. This even includes the Chinese businesses here in Spain! It’s so unreasonable- some Chinese immigrants were here before us. I fail to see how you can blame people for mistakes a government have made in a country they no longer belong to!

This must be a worrying time for them. They must be aware of the hostility. It bothers me to think of people feeling frightened and unwelcome. I think of how terrified the Jewish people in Europe must have been, even before they were persecuted. There were warning signs and that’s why my great-grandfather left to settle in the UK. He escaped the same fear, resentment, suspicion and paranoia. This is their home and they are no more responsible for the virus than we are. I for one will continue to use the Chinese Shops– isn’t there always something we need in them?! Chinese food is delicious too, I won’t be giving that up in a hurry! Once normal life resumes, I think we should do our best to support everyone in our community, including the Chinese. We’re all in this together. I’m proud to belong to a coast that’s a melting pot to so many races, cultures and interesting people.
Long may it continue!

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Julie Frank