Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yesthattoo.blogspot.com/post-specific-URL.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Actual empathy

I'm taking a literature class this summer because it's for a general education requirement. To graduate from my university with a bachelors, you need to pass a literature class. (Where besides education can you be forced to pay for a service you do not want? Well, also this health insurance thing, since some people in my country are deciding is the way to go: REQUIRE people to buy health insurance from a corporation to fix the fact that these corporations have lots of problems and our health care system is a mess. But there is a huge outcry at that, and none at this.)
Anyways, we read a short story where a blind man visits a couple after his wife dies. The story I actually liked. The narrator talks about how the blind man meets none of the stereotypes he had about the blind, and how this blind man can and does travel alone. The blind man is clearly competent and not asking for pity. I don't actually know anyone blind, but I could believe that a blind man like the one in this story exists.
My problem is with classmate and teacher reactions to the idea of being blind. No one went as far as to call it a tragedy, but they did call the concept of not having sight unimaginable. That's just not true. People imagine it all the time. People LIVE it all the time. It exists. They use seeing eye dogs and canes, or not. Some learn to navigate using something like echolocation. There are blind cyclists and all kinds of other things. There is a HUGE difference between being blind or deaf and imagining blindness or deafness by closing your eyes or blocking your ears. If you close your eyes, you who is used to seeing, you feel the loss. You are missing information you expect to have. If you are blind, and you have been blind for a while, you are used to not having that information. You are used to working with the information that you normally have, which does not include sight. It's like any disability: you learn to cope, and for you, it's just life.
What we imagine disability is like from an abled perspective is not true empathy. I'm not sure true empathy is even possible for an experience so different. But that doesn't mean we should claim that our tragic view of disability has anything to do with empathy. It really doesn't.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not so sure that empathy can happen all that much between any two random people, to be honest. Sympathy, yes. But...how can you FEEL another person's emotions?

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