Fight or Flight

Recently, the brilliant Neurodivergent K published a blog post about hate, and about how autism “awareness” that abounds this time of year is just a cloak for bigotry. It’s a solid piece of writing that pulls no punches, and make no mistake, I agree with them – there is a solid chunk of the allistic populace that hates us. Yes, yes, #notallNTs, but enough. They may not hate all autistic people, but they hate us – the mouthy ones, the “high functioning,” the ones who preach acceptance and break it to parents that we will not call them allies or give them good-parent cookies solely because they bought some blue light bulbs and give money to a charity that actively calls for our neurotype’s eradication.

We are so often called angry. In the past few days alone, I’ve been called ‘angry,’ ‘aggressive,’ ‘mean,’ ‘petty,’ and, my personal favorite (not), ’emotional.’ For daring to speak up about things like parents casually airing their children’s toileting problems on semipublic Facebook pages, or informing a neurotypical that the majority of the autistic community does in fact prefer identity first language. (More on that here.) I said in another comment, and I’m going to say here, that of course we’re angry, but our anger has undertones.

Namely, of fear.

Many neurotypicals laugh when I say things like that. They ask what I specifically have to be afraid of – me, a fat, autistic, Jewish white woman living in a relatively nice area of a relatively nice city. The answer is a lot.

I have to fear unemployment. Our rate of unemployment or underemployment is approximately 80 percent. Being autistic and homeless is a very scary proposition anywhere, but especially in this country.

I have to fear being patronized, infantilized, and possibly “treated” for things against my will. If I have a public meltdown, there is a very real possibility I will be either arrested or taken to a mental facility – and I’m white. Imagine how much worse it is for POCs.

I have to fear losing friends to violence, or to suicide – autistics die, on average, 18 years younger than their peers, and our suicide rate is significantly higher than allistics’.

I could go on all day. But you get the point. And hey, maybe you took biology or psychology. What does the average animal do when it feels threatened and it can’t run away?

Exactly.

It fights.

[Image description: A broken blue pane of glass, in a shade similar to the light bulbs pushed by Autism Speaks.]

[Image description: A broken blue pane of glass, in a shade similar to the light bulbs pushed by Autism Speaks.]

April is a constant panic state for many of us. We are assaulted every which way, especially online (which is normally a safe haven), with glorified advertising for Autism $peaks. Which openly funds “global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism.” For “all who struggle with an autism spectrum disorder” (what, neurotypicals?).

We don’t care about causes. We’re here now, and always have been. Preventing us is eugenics. Treating us doesn’t mean “helping comorbid symptoms.” It tends to mean “making autistics as neurotypical as possible.”

And a cure … it’d be like curing brown hair. Like curing blue eyes or dark skin. But somehow, it’s okay to want to ‘cure’ who I am right out of me, “for all who struggle with an autism spectrum disorder.” Given that I don’t struggle with my autism, I struggle with societal ableism, that last sentence reads more like a threat to me than anything.

What does a person do when they are cornered? They yell at the top of their voice.

What do you think we’ve been doing?

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