Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tone It Down Taupe this April!

As we all know, April is Autism Awareness Month, the month of Light It Up Blue! and alarmist rhetoric 'for autism'. In the spirit of this, Judy Endow posted this picture:
[image is a white box with an arrow pointing to the upper left hand corner. Text reads "I heart someone lacking autism"]

What followed was a discussion of how we need awareness of those who lack autism and how different their experiences are. A man who lacks autism thanked us for acknowledging his plight and requested more awareness. We need ribbons. We need a walk. Lia suggested we


for those lacking autism.

About the ribbon:

It is taupe (or tan. Or beige. A non offensive, non obtrusive color) to symbolize the toned-down sensory and emotional experiences of those lacking autism.

[img is a standard rectangular pin back attached to a beige ribbon]
The eyes represent the incessant demands for eye contact from people lacking autism.

The large size represents the size of the epidemic. 49 in 50 people lack autism! Help us find a cause! Help us develop more effective therapies! Help us integrate those lacking autism into a functional society with autistic people!

This campaign, while sounding a bit silly, is also a bit serious. Tone it down. Tone down the fear rhetoric. Tone down the alarmism. It is not necessary to light anything blue to show support and love for an autistic individual-that can be accomplished by, well, actually supporting autistic people. This is an opportunity to actually raise awareness and educate people: when they ask what that giant ribbon is for, we can explain why we are toning it down taupe, that fear rhetoric hurts real people, and that what autistic people want is not to be fixed, not to be prevented, but to be given the supports we need to be part of society. It's a way to make people think.

Would you like to Tone It Down Taupe with your very own ribbon? Lia has been making some and made a tutorial for those of us capable of making our own:

You will need:
-Taupe/beige/tan ribbon. Something neutral. The ribbon in the pictures is 1" wide.
-A ruler (if you want precise measurements)
-Googly eyes
-A pin back, or a button if a pin back isn't something you can make work
-A hot glue gun with glue

1. Cut a length of ribbon. For a large one like we are making here, cut 11". Cut the ends to points.

[img is an 11" length of beige ribbon stretched next to a ruler]

2. Fold the ribbon into a big "awareness" loop. Ours here is about 1.5" between the points. Play with the ribbon & make a shape that you find pleasing.

[img is the same beige ribbon crossed over itself into a large loop, awareness ribbon style, next to a ruler]

3. Then hot glue it into place where the ribbon crosses itself. Our ribbon crossed itself 3" from the end. Allow to cool & dry.

[img is a closeup of a beige ribbon next to a ruler. There is a dot of hot glue on the ribbon at the 3" mark]

4. Place 2 dots of hot glue where the ribbon crosses itself. These are for the googly eyes-have them ready!

[img is a closeup of a beige ribbon in an awareness loop. There are 2 dots of hot glue where it crosses itself]

5. Press googly eyes into the hot glue dots you just made. Again, allow to cool and dry.

[img is a closeup of a beige ribbon in an awareness loop. There are 2 googly eyes where it crosses itself]

6. Find the pinback or button you are going to use. Put hot glue on it.

[img is a standard rectangular pinback with hot glue on it]

7. Press the pinback or button or what have you onto the back of the ribbon in whatever direction is most useful for you.  Ours is horizontal, but the ribbon is large enough for the same pin back to be vertical as well. A small button will also fit. Allow to dry.

[img is a standard rectangular pin back attached to a beige ribbon]


[img is beige ribbon with googly eyes, attached to a rectangular pin back]

If you would like to Tone It Down Taupe, but do not have the spoons or other skills to make your own, Lia has graciously offered to make them & send them out. Email her at krystinesha (at) gmail (dot) com and she will set you right up.
with thanks to Lia  and Judy Endow for the brainstorming, and Lia for the craftery as well

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You don't get to do that here.

In response to able people behaving badly, I'm going to clarify some things about how it does-or more accurately, how it doesn't-work around here. You might get to beat people over the head with your privilege everywhere else, but around here, that does not fly. Here, I am the baseline for normal, and the views and safety of me and mine are paramount. Let's look at what that means.

So you can waltz in here. Or prance. Or skip. Or roll. I really don't care what means of locomotion you use. But after you get here?

-You may not demand a free education. This is not a 101 level blog. Clearly  you  have internet. Google your questions. Otherwise everything I tell you is at my whim. My tutoring rate starts at $20/hour and goes up from there, depending on subject and difficulty dealing with the client. If you want guaranteed 1 on 1 education, you can pay for it.

-You really may not demand a free education in the tone you want it in. Absolutely not. Shit, even if you're paying for it I snark and swear. My first language model is a snarker & I am echolalic as fuck. That's just how I talk. Suck it up, buttercup. My blog, my words, my rules.

-You may not make any demands whatsoever about tone or "civility". That is a silencing tactic. No silencing tactics in my house. If you do not have a real argument, then you don't have to say anything. "You are angry and mean and swearing!" is not news, nor is it a bad thing. You'd be angry too. "Civility" is the last refuge of the privileged when they're scared that they're losing their privilege, and I don't think you need to have all that special treatment.

-You may not be the language police (this is a corollary of the above). I know I have a potty mouth. I don't care. I know many of my commenters can articulately swear. You don't get to decide that we don't have to swear just because we can put words together pretty. That's both an access issue and another flight to privileged bullshit. I will not have it.

-Your ableist shit? It will not fly. I intend to write more about this later, but refusing to acknowledge someone's access needs is every bit as ableist as slurs or talking to someone like they're 4. Don't fucking do that. If someone has an access need & you refuse to abide by it, & they misunderstand you or whatever, you don't get to cry about it. You fucked up.

-Defending ableist shit? Also will not fly. Even giving the impression that you are defending ableist shit will not fly. So if you're "misunderstood" because you're ignoring access needs and look like you're defending ableist garbage? That's kind of your problem.

-Corollary: The devil doesn't need any advocates. If you're "playing devil's advocate" and defending ableist shit, I am inclined to believe that at least part of you believes the trash you are spewing.

-Ultimately moderating decisions are mine alone. If you're doing any of the above things, I'll probably let it through, because I do think the world needs to see what shitheaded crap I deal with on a daily basis-but I will not shield you from much that other people respond with. Just about the only things that I don't let through are dox dropping and detailed 'go kill yourself'-especially when I am out of spoons from dealing with able folks behaving badly.

-Do not put words in my mouth. I will swear. I will say your behavior is shitty, ableist, and fractally wrong. It is very rare indeed that I call a person any one thing. If I tell you to fuck off, it will be in those words. And especially do not do this and then get all whiny that I summarize you. Do not be a fucking hypocrite (see? There's me calling people a thing. Enjoy.)

-Here, you are not the arbiter of acceptable. I am. You follow my social conventions here. You may swear. You may not be oppressive. It's really that simple.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Autistic people are...strong

This is a post for the flashblog in response to google's autofill suggestions to complete the query "autistic people are". Clearly they need some better ideas, since what is there now is offensive and horrific.

You know the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? Well, if that's true (which I will debate another time), autistic people are the baddest asses around.

Autistic people are born into a world that doesn't want us. Even if we don't have a diagnosis, we know from a very early age that who we are is not who those around us want us to be.

If we are not diagnosed, we go through torture, only they call it bullying and say if we don't want to be bullied we'll act normal. If we are diagnosed, we go through torture, only they call it therapy, and say it is to help us act normal.

And yet here we are. Here we are standing strong, together, saying we are people, we are worthy as we are, and we do not deserve to be hated just for being.

Autistic people are strong. We endure. We are resilient. We may take damage, yet here we stand, even so. We may have come through bruised and broken, but still we stand, and still we stand fighting.

Because we are strong.

We are so strong, that here we stand together against google and against a huge majority-we're only 1 in 88, after all, and many of our number old enough to have blogs don't know the word "autism" applies to them, or they don't have access to computers because of poverty or because they live in institutions. So here we stand, a tiny minority of the population, with precious few allies who belong to the majority, saying "you need to stop this".

Because we, Autistic people, are incredibly, amazingly, strong.