No one wants to talk about how autism factors into the whole “gifted child to normal adult with self-esteem issues” thing and that’s how we get such nuclear takes as “you weren’t gifted or special you were just white.”
Somewhat unrelated but also it’s not a dichotomy between gifted kid and remedial kid, either.
I mentioned in the notes of the OP that I was reading at a college level by the time I was twelve. I was reading at a high school level in fourth grade at least. I often had to take the words-per-minute reading tests a second time, with my teachers watching me more closely, because they didn’t believe I was actually reading that fast. In second grade we had to write a short story each week, based on our choice of four given prompts. I often wrote two or three instead, just for fun. (My teacher ultimately told me that I could totally write as many stories as I wanted, but I could only turn in one for her to grade.)
I was also suffering from a learning disability that made math almost completely inaccessible to me. And this wasn’t subtle at all. I don’t mean I took longer than other kids but would ultimately get the answers right. I mean I would break down crying in the middle of class because I was so confused and overwhelmed. I almost had to go to summer school after second and third grade because I was so behind in math. I was struggling with times tables long after most of my peers had them down; I ultimately only learned them because my teacher started playing songs to help me memorize them. I still have to sing those songs in my head now, as an adult, to do multiplication.
But–in large part because I was gifted in this other area–this incredibly blatant disability went completely unacknowledged. No one believed I was struggling with math. They thought I was being intentionally disruptive, or that I was bored and wasn’t really trying. They got frustrated with me for embarrassing them.
And then that impacted my self-esteem, because how could I be so smart and yet have so much trouble with math? How come no matter how hard I tried, my brain wouldn’t pick it up the way it did language? I felt like I was the bad guy, like I was somehow deceiving the adults in my life into thinking I was smart. As an adult, I still struggle with this underlying fear that I’ve somehow tricked the people around me into accepting me, and that if they look too closely I’ll let them down.
So yeah, it’s more than just “aw poor white people having to deal with being normal #whitetears” or whatever. Like white privilege and the soft bigotry of low expectations etc are genuine issues in education, but also, public schools genuinely have no idea how to handle neurodivergent kids, and neurodivergent adults are allowed to be upset about it.
I keep saying that giftedness isn’t being in any meaningful way superior to other kids, it’s a neurodivergence. It’s about having a brain that works differently from most other kids’ and being handed a thick wad of half-baked stereotypes and gaslighty half-truths about it, and living long enough to realize how much you were lied to.