Sometimes, activism means talking to the people and groups that have power now. Sometimes. Not always.
Sometimes, the day-to-day can make a huge difference. Maybe not in terms of systems, but in terms of something important clicking for one person. That's how change starts.
I want to talk about some of those things that happened.
My tutor and I were talking about computers. That's because the unit we're working on in Chinese is one about international business (whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.) He asked a bunch of good questions, getting me to think about stuff and answer in Chinese. That included things like what you would do for a computer getting used where it's really cold (the case should probably not be metal,) where it's hot (you need a better cooling fan,) and things like that. Then he asked a question that confused me. I remember hearing how when someone tells a sexist joke, one of the things you can do is to feign confusion and try to get them to eventually come out and say that it's funny because girls are *insert insult here.* Yeah, no. I was actually confused. He asked what changes might be needed to market a computer to girls. So I was confused. I said I didn't know what gender had to do with it, because I don't. He asked me what I use my computer for. I use it to do homework, surf the web, write stuff, and play games. I also use it to store documents. He said, "Oh," because that's pretty much the same stuff he does with his computer.
And rather than get annoyed at me for thinking that trying to market a computer to a gender wasn't the best idea and it'd be smarter to market it based on what people are going to do with it, he agreed that marketing based on use was smarter. Then he asked a different question. He asked what a person using their computer for art would want (my guess is a touch screen and high resolution.) He asked what someone using their computer for games would want (I don't need to guess- a good graphics/video card and a lot of memory!)
Little things: my tutor may well have one stereotype less. [He also now knows that the same computer can get used by the same person for both art and gaming.]
My roommate studies English. It's not her major (teaching Chinese as a second language is her major,) but it's a class she takes. She'd been looking for a book that's in English and uses fairly simple language. I handed her my contributor copy of Loud Hands: Autistic People Speaking. I told her I had a piece in it.
She's reading it. And the first person she associates with "autism"? An adult. Specifically, me. I'm no more representative of the entire population of autistic people than any one person ever is, but she's actually going to know, first-hand, that autistic adults exist.
Little things: my roommate is reading Loud Hands to practice her English.