Which line? And when?

Thanks, John, for your confidence that I’m not issuing ultimatums or one size fits all solutions.

In the scenario you posed, and the context you provided, I would say those are different kinds of danger. When a black person says to a white person, “You don’t know what it’s like to live in a dangerous neighborhood,” I would interpret that as referring to an entire constellation of effects of which the personal experience of violence or threat of violence is one aspect.

As an autistic person, your experience of danger can also be placed within a larger constellation but I don’t think it’s exactly the same constellation. So, if I was quick enough (not a guarantee but a goal), instead of pointing out the ‘wrongness’ of the apparently blanket statement, I’d acknowledge that I don’t know what it’s like to live in the kind of dangerous neighborhood any person of color experiences.

Maybe it’s a kind of grace to allow for that to stand on its own, without need to qualify or argue about what I do know. My guess is this creates a better chance of moving into a dialogue that allows for you to share your own experiences, from your vantage point, with “living in a dangerous neighborhood.” Maybe then the two of you would discover how far the commonalities go, and where they diverge.

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