Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Social justice barrier mode activate.

Superficially many social justice communities appear to be for the rights of disabled people, right up until those people are autistic.

Barriers in social justice if you have autism are numerous, here are a few.

1. Most social justice stuff is written by neurotypical people for neurotypical people.

It contains all those delightful unspoken/unwritten and generally unexplained assumptions that so frustrate the average autistic in my experience. It operates assuming the reader is neurotypical. I find sometimes this means I have no idea what the person is on about, and I get a lot of the stuff others don't. To some of the others and to me before I learned through a lot of fucking up? You are writing in a language we don't have a dictionary for.

This barrier is chronically ignored, and downplayed by a largely NT social justice crowd.

2. The default assumption and working behaviour is that everyone is NT or that NT behaviour should be expected of them even if they're not.

I'm not kidding. I've been told so many times to "stop using your autism as a shield" by so-called social justice advocates who think not getting whatever concept they're not explaining is somehow being a bad person.

I can count on one hand with fingers to spare, the amount of times my difference has been taken into account, I've lost count of how many times I've dealt with "You should become NT right now! you're just not trying hard enough!11!!!1". For a movement that is supposed to be all about barrier dismantlement, that's one people like to ignore.

It's also privileged fucking behaviour.

3. Many "bad" reactions on the learning curve? To be blunt, are widely found in autistic people.

I've seen so many people go into one at an autistic person who doesn't understand or who has been misunderstood trying to explain themselves to a social justice advocate who just jumped all over their ass screaming and shouting about something.

Basically explaining yourself is treated like you just said "I'm an asshole". Even when people know you are autistic.

The reality is that as a result of living in a world where the majority of people operate on unspoken assumptions and go ballistic if you operate on different ones or fail to respond in the "right" way to their social manipulation? Many Autistics as a result do end up with a "explaining themselves in the hope someone gets it" reflexive action.

Also when every fucking person going is criticising everything you do, ie you breath too loud, because you're just different to them, and when people claiming to be for social justice act just like the ablist assholes, it's a bit hard to separate out "This is an incorrect harmful belief" from "warblegarble, you're a horrid fucking person because you're different to me, and I hate everything you do as a result" which is the constant background radiation of the lives of many of my compatriots.

If you're going to behave exactly like the ablist assholes, why would you expect to be treated any different? You're just another obnoxious person shouting at us for something you've never bothered to explain and which we cannot access.

4. The ends justify the means.

One of the biggest issues I have with social justice groups is their tendency to foster a "Anything I do is okay if it is in the name of social justice".

I fucking missed the memo that "We shouldn't have to be "nice" to be treated like human beings" translated into "We should have the right to be assholes to anyone we deem as part of the problem", this is especially infuriating when many of the people jumping up and down screaming at people are straight, white, cis-gendered, middle class and generally privileged as fuck.

To be honest, I feel unsafe that a movement that is supposedly about the rights of people like me has it seems no issue with some ablist fucking able bodied person screaming at autistic people for being autistic.

5. Explanations? Not only aren't designed for autistic people, they're often aggressively inaccessible and people often actively refuse to work with us.

See the whole "Assholery in the name of social justice is acceptable".

Seriously, if I'm asking you a question about an oppression I don't get? It's not because I expect you to educate me, it's because I need an accessible explanation, in a movement full of inaccessible explanations.

It isn't your job to educate me, but it is not your right to assume that the explanations given as adequate when they clearly are not and to fucking blame me and others for needing accessibility. Don't want to provide accessibility? Then give us some fucking consideration for the fact that we're working with a system not designed for our needs.

Or do you expect people who use a wheelchair to get up steps and then complain they're being too slow if they crawl up it?

6. NT social behaviour is often demanded within social justice spaces and the penalties for failing are extremely punitive.

Needless to say if we tend to flounder in normal society, floundering socially in social justice spaces is like dumping two tonnes of blood into shark infested waters and jumping in after it. It gets you ripped to pieces and people never forget either, even if you're know as autistic and go on to become a major campaigner, you will always be "that asshole" for the one time you didn't act NT or didn't get something that was shittily explained.

7. You are expected to be constantly on the ball 24/7 if your social standing and skills are not 100%.

I'm autistic, I have different "functional" levels, something I might get tomorrow, might baffle me today. Another day brain fog and pain may result in a crabby response that is deemed unacceptable.

Social justice groups often expect 100% perfection, all the time and right away from many autistics. Anything less? Well you basically get treated like you're running around lynching minorities.

Would it be nice if we got it right all the time? Yes. It would.

However, everyone fucks up, and we often don't have the "people like us" social NT privilege that NT people get to their fuck ups. If I and an NT person say the same fucking stupid thing, them because they didn't think and me because I'm having an autistic day and just not getting it, the NT person is much more likely to get a nice explanation, I'm much more likely to get screamed like I just murdered and ate 100 babies for breakfast.

Even if I twig, apologise and don't repeat it? I will forever be treated like an asshole by groups simply because I'm often disliked or not popular due to not having the social skills of others. Meanwhile privileged NT might go do the same shit later, but because NT people like NT people, their fuck up will be probably be forgiven and forgotten even if it took them six months to get why it's a fuck up and to stop fucking up in that way.

8. Social justice spaces tend to end up as tight knit groups of friends.

Autism as you may well know, tends to impact social skills. Needless to say, I often get rejected by whole groups because I hurt the feelings of one person. This is of course typically after a good dozen or so have trampled mine without consequences because they're integrated members of the group already.

As you can see some days I look at social justice and see a fortress designed to keep people like me out and which often puts privileged people on the rampants with the boiling oil which they tip over people for anything deemed bad behaviour, including just being autistic.

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