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Monday, August 8, 2011

When is an NT ally not an ally?

I've done a few essays on the gratification that NTs have when they try to do autism activism. The whole "LOOK AT ME! LOOK, LOOK IMMA HERO" shit that they seem to perpetuate no matter what they do. This isn't an essay critiquing it. This is telling my NT readers how to avoid getting the side-eye.

How to be an ally not an asshole

*) Don't compare an autist with your autistic sibling/cousin/friend/co-worker etc.
One of the biggest pet-peeves some self-advocates have is the tenancy of contrast and compare NTs do when they talk to them. It seems as soon as an autist outs himself or herself to an NT the first thing that comes out of the NT's mouth (besides "Oh I can't tell you're autistic") is: "Oh I have {insert relation} with autism!" Suddenly they have this idea that know they can relate to your issues and problems instantly because of this off-hand and distant connection. Despite whatever your relationship with this other autist is, it's not fair nor is it appropriate for you to compare or believe your in the same ball-park as the other autist. Every autist is unique. Whatever your sister/friend/yoga-instructor is like has nothing to do with the other autist.

Nor do we give two shits if you know someone with autism.

*)Telling an autist that they are doing "so well" is not a compliment
Don't try to praise an autist for passing as normal. It's not a compliment it's a constant reminder if the facade we put up every single day. It's an indication on how "other" we are in relation to you. Every time you praise an autist for passing it's patronizing and continues to divide NT from NA (Neuroatypical). You don't need to remind us that were doing a good job with making eye contact/not stimming/speaking clearly. The only time I see it as ok if the autist and the NT have been friends for years and the autist is struggling to correct a behavior (like stimming in public) only then I see the praise as genuine.

*)Don't try to pity us and say how much of an inspiration we are.
I am not your fucking "feel-good" moment for you. I am not your "precious moment", saccharine coated proverb that you can masturbate to when you feel depressed. Don't go on about how "brave" we are for being autistic, it's condescending and rather asinine. Don't fucking recount our struggles as a disabled minority like you actually understand. It only adds to your privileges as an NT and makes you look like an ass. I have had people compliment me for being brave and strong, but that's only after time has passed and one actually sees the challenges I face than assuming my autism is some-sort of "trial".

*) Do not play "Oppression Olympics"
Don't feel like your disability or sense of otherness is an excuse to invalidate an autist when they are venting out their issues and struggle. Don't jump into the discourse lamenting that having bi-polar is so hard and that autists should be grateful that we are not medicated 24/7. This is frustrating and starts a us/them dialogue that does shit. It's not rude for someone to use their otherness as a frame of reference to gain empathy, but say that you have it worse is inappropriate when the stage is set for an autist to vent. Their are other places to vent about the struggles of other NA statuses.

*)Don't correct our autistic behaviors
You're not our damn therapist. I am sick of allies trying to pretend they are helping when they remind me that I am not making eye-contact or stimming in public. I had a friend tell me that I was toe-walking and I should stop in the middle of the grocery store. It's not your god damn job. Shut the hell up. It's embarrassing to have our behavior brought up and shamed. Not all autistic behaviors should be modified, and it's not an ally's job to judge which behaviors should be modified.

*)Don't tell us we need more empathy
It only indicates you have no empathy. Allies feel it's important for them to go and say: "Don't paint us with the same brush and you should have empathy for "so and so" because of {insert issue with their autistic whatever}." It's not helpful and once again pushes the arrogance that only NTs have empathy and autists just have echoes of it. If an autist feels that they need to state phrases like "I hate NTs, I am sick of NT's making choices for us, I am sick of this NT parent treating their child like a burden" then you should shut up and let us get it out. Listen and don't judge or critique an autist for their anger. Don't play devil's advocate, don't try to make us see "another point of view" just listen for once.

We kill for NTs that just would listen and understand our anger.

*) Don't say that were better off than so and so
Don't try to ignore the issues of an autist by telling them that they dodge a karmic bullet by not being non-verbal/classically autistic/mobility impaired/intellectually disabled etc. Not only does it degrade the issues that autistic with verbal communication or those that can pass, but you're feeding the lie that having a severe disability is "wrong" and "bad" and growing the divide in the spectrum not only that but you're also continuing the constant stigma of having a severe impairment.

*)Don't use terms like HFA or LFA
Don't try to call an Aspie HFA because he can talk, far as you know he could struggle with learning how do laundry and might need guidance with doing simple task. He probably struggles with keeping a job too and deals with unemployment. Don't assume a classical autist is incompetent or LFA because they need staff and lack verbal speech, they could use AAC have skills that you probably could never do.

Don't use stereotypes to construct and feed myths that continue to do more harm than good. Get to know a person.

*) Encourage the autist to speak for themselves don't speak for them.
Don't try to assume you know our needs, don't assume you're being a good ally by telling off the jerkface that called your autie friend a retard. Don't think you're bridging the gap by bragging on how you want to be a special needs teacher and how awesome you think being a self-advocate is. I don't give a shit.

If you want to be an alley, be aware of your privilege be ware of the gaps, don't ignore them. Encourage our voices, and make them stand out in the chorus of opposition and hate.

VLog: Problem with Goldilocks Rhetoric

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vlog: Rant on Passing

BRB with post

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rev 3:15-16

‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
-Rev 3:15-16

No one can ever be neutral when it comes to something that effects them so strongly. They have an emotional stake which tethers them into the debate. One cannot be neutral to Gay Rights, when he or she themselves is queer or have a family member or close friend that is queer. One cannot be neutral to immigration policies when one is part of immigrate community. One cannot be neutral to environmental ethics agriculture ethics when one is a farmer or a conservationist.

One cannot be neutral to disability socio-ethics when one is disabled or has a disabled family member/friend.

Picking sides and using reason to be skeptical on both ends isn't being neutral. You have a set of socio-ethics that don't change. You have a set of core beliefs that don't change when you feel they can't get you what you want. You don't warp them to fit both sides of opposing ends.

You have a side. You stand with it.

Call me militant, but I am not a fan of "neutral" stances. Especially when you can't really be neutral. If you wish to side with one side. Stick with it. If you feel the other one serves you and your family better than it's ok to the other side of the argument. But don't try to have your cake and eat it too. You can't claim to be for Gay Rights and Gay Marriage but have a copy of AFA in your bathroom or throw around "Fucking faggots" whenever you get pissed. You can't be religious freedom and then claim that Muslims shouldn't build their mosque near your neighborhood.

Hypocrisy is never pretty. But it's comfortable coat to wear. It's easy to be hypocritical it's easy to be lukewarm. I am not a stranger to waffling myself. Yet when I am told that I need to put on my big point pants and make up my damn mind. I do. If one wants to switch sides and serve another perspective because it benefits them then I see no problem with that. I won't judge them if they think B is more logical than A even though at one point the supported A. But don't say you support B but also claim to support A which have conflicting beliefs with B. Don't say you still support A even though you donate money to a B cause that works against A ethics.

Pick a Side.

Do not waver.