Sunday, May 4, 2014

Using a Privileged Voice Responsibly


If you are an allistic person, trying to be an ally to autistics, there are things that you don't do.

First and formost:


Do not say things about Neurodiversity, the movement, that are flagrantly untrue. Four hundred of us will say "um that is wrong" and yet people will say Well This One Able Mom Said and they'll listen to you.

If you are our ally, you do not "if you don't X you aren't human".

You do not. You do not. You do not. Learn some history, learn the changeling myths of the past--so many were about us, and so many of us got killed.

Learn some recent history. It's May and already a dozen disabled people were killed, the stories that were told not even saying our names. Instead they were about our 'loving' killers.

We aren't human. That is the cultural meme. Do not spread that. Do not wave your privilege around to reinforce the most harmful of cultural memes. Use it to destroy them or you are not doing good.

To use your privilege voice for good, that's what you have to do. You have to tear them down. Guess what? People aren't going to always like you, when you use your privileged voice for someone other than themselves.

If you only lend us your privileged voice when things are all fuzzy lovey warm for you, then some other privileged asshat comes by and doesn't like it and you completely dump us in the dirt, you're not helping.

Indeed, that is less than helping. Because you tricked us. You trick us into thinking that maybe our words will be listened to when they come out of a privileged mouth and then you say "oh well actually it's ok to say fuck autism, if you don't you aren't human" and you're back to completely untrustworthy.

Use your words responsibly. And do not make alliances you have no intention of keeping. If your motivation is love and hugs, be up front about it. If you want everyone to like you, you're shit out of luck. Allies need to earn trust, and other privileged people don't like being told they're wrong by a real person.

When I tell them they're wrong they make shit up (you believed some of it!) and they make excuses for not listening, but if you're a human they have to at least take it under advisement. Selfish people don't like that.

But it is so much easier to backpedal and throw us under the bus you dragged us out from under, isn't it? That makes you not an ally. That makes you using us for popularity.

I wasn't your project in high school and I am not your project now either. If you want to be popular, make a kitty blog. If you want to do what is right, prepare for some blowback.

1 comment:

Maria T PhD said...

Would you like to enter into a collective discussion about what it is like to be autistic from a cultural perspective? Would you like to have your voice heard in a formal realm, with a level of control and participation that extends beyond a statistical analysis and diagnostic assessment of what the APA calls "a deficiency"?

If you are, and you want to tell the world through YOUR eyes what it means to be autistic so that the NT world can see what THEY are missing, contact me. I have a couple journal editors that very much would like to see a HUMANISTIC study of the autistic culture where your strengths and gifts are explained to the academic and "expert" community.

I am tired of reading in journal studies that my autistic son does not have a Theory of Mind. That is total crap. How can a kid that does endless videos of himself as vlogs or watches videos of bible stories and Veggie Tales NOT have a Theory of Mind?! And yet, THIS is what is being shoved down our throats as students of psychology!

The way to change it, is to challenge it. You are right. I may really piss off a few white privileged males in the APA, but my dissertation chair will LOVE LOVE LOVE it because SHE knows how stupid it all is at times.

The biggest problem with the way things are believed as being true, is not every voice is heard.