|Image of a tweet from yours truly. The tweet reads: Tired of the claim that #Autistics & their allies divide the community. Saying no to fear rhetoric is self preservation. #AutismSpeaks10|
To begin one of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite musicians, Peter Tosh.
With my recent post about rejecting the term "Autism mom" I got push back from many "Autism moms". The whole -it's just semantics- dismissal was used. If you have the liberty to make light of language it is because you are too privileged to feel the damage. It's not just semantics when it is you that the world is busy defining in negative terminology. I also got the -you're creating division in the community- dismissal. I heartily disagree.
First and foremost, if you are unaware of the gaping divide between the Autism community and the Autistic community, you've got a lot to learn. The Autism community is comprised of both Autistic people and all those non-Autistic people who are vested some how in the area of Autism. Parents of Autistic children, professionals, teachers, friends, the whole big bunch of us. The Autistic community is strictly Autistic people. The clash between the two groups is what I have been writing about for four years. The divide. The difference. The discrepancy.
The divide is good. It's good because many in the Autism community do terrible things to those in the Autistic community. Filicide, abuse, use, bullying, attempts to "cure" with unsafe techniques, attempts to "fix" with repressive therapies, these are all things that the Autism community inflicts upon the Autistic community. When Autistics say no, they create the boundary with which the divide begins. It's a damn good thing they do this. As I said above, it's self preservation. How dare we do these things to a people, and how dare we insist on peace, while these things are commonplace.
My job, and your job too if you are not Autistic, is to stand in that division. Yes, it's an ugly place. I've said before, it's a lonely place. I stand there to both strengthen the Autistic community's hold, and to usher those from the Autism community into the divide with me. When I write refuse "Autism mom" it is a sentiment I have taken from my Autistic friends, and then offered to the other side. When I defend the murdered Autistic children, when I write about stopping therapy, when I write about the damage that Autism Speaks creates, I am writing in solidarity with Autistic people, and to the Autism community.
I am also writing for my family. I would never know my children standing in opposition to their being. It might be lonely in the middle, my work might not ever be done, but I am doing what every mother does. I am supporting my kids. I could never tolerate the treatment they receive from the Autism community and the larger world. Because they are young and cannot defend themselves, I support their people, who are defending them. My place in the divide is to usher in loving and accepting people, but it is to protect my children from the other side too. I will push back on you if you cross the line with me and mine.
So when you accuse me of dividing the community, I say I don't want no peace. I want equal rights and justice. That's what Autistic people are fighting for, and that's what they deserve. If you don't like division, get in the trenches with me and fight the good fight for our loved ones, for the Autistic community. After all, we all gather in their name. It's the least we can do.
Just an FYI: This tweet is from the #AutismSpeaks10 take down. Autism Speaks is attempting to celebrate their own 10 years of existence and continued dedication to smite the existence of Autistics. Meanwhile, the hashtag has been dominated by #ActuallyAutistic people and those that love them. Join in the fun. It's the best party I ever crashed!