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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Can't See Ableism? That's Privilege.

Trigger Warning: Discussion of Ableism, r-slur

"Dear Illumination Project, last year you told me you don't address ableism because you don't see it. I heard the rslur 10 times in under a minute. How are you not seeing this?"

Yeah, really. There is an anti-oppression theater group called the Illumination Project (not my campus) and one Neurodivergent K asked them (yes her campus) about covering ableism. They said they didn't see it.
Part of being in a privileged group is that you generally don't need to see the institutional discrimination against the marginalized group. Not needing to see it is part of being privileged and of supporting the oppressor class. 
An anti-oppression group (that's what they consider themselves) would never be able to get away with racist or homophobic slurs, but ableist ones? Like the r-slur K speaks of? Yeah, they can get away with that, and if you bring it up, you are too sensitive. That's derailing. That's privilege. And guess what? If you use the r-slur and don't see ableism, that's because you are ableist. 
Being anti-oppression in general is difficult because there are so many axes of privilege and oppression that you need to be careful of, which is not to say that you shouldn't try. It does, however, mean that if someone from a marginalized group tells you that something is oppressive or asks you about an -ism, "We don't see it" is not an acceptable answer. The POINT of the system is that you aren't supposed to see it. Unless you are from the group, saying that you haven't seen the oppressive systems relevant to that group means exactly zero. And no, I am not prepared to believe that there just isn't ableism on your campus. "rslur 10 times in under a minute," remember? 
Yes, people's reactions sometimes sound like "Ableism is all done, we have the ADA and those words don't mean that anymore omg why are you so sensitive???"
And that's NOT OK. If you're claiming to be anti-oppression in general, you have no excuse. You have to get this right. That's what being anti-oppression means. It means that if someone tells you about oppression, you can't deny its existence and then be the oppressor. Which is what seems to be going on. 
This is why it's hard to be an ally. You have to actually pay attention to what you are doing, and if the group you are trying to help tells you something is oppressive or -ist, you need to listen and stop doing it. It takes work. It takes re-examining what you thought you knew about how things work. It takes not using *-ist slurs unless you are in the group they are used against and you are reclaiming them. Which you probably aren't if you're an ally. (Though you can be in one group and an ally for another, at which point, yes, you can reclaim the slurs for the one you're in, but not the one you're an ally for.)
Long story short, being in a group that calls itself anti-oppression and then using ableist slurs or claiming that ableism isn't an issue is not OK.

1 comment:

  1. What the? 'Don't use the r-slur' is like, disability 101. I get people who think the 'no empathy thing' (rubbish, of course but)


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