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

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Responding To A Blog My Teacher Sent Me

 This is the post my teacher sent me: Carestathis, Anna. "Intersectionality & Feminism." N.p., 13 Feb. 2008. Web. 24 May 2013. (Yeah, I actually wrote this post on May 24.)
She said she would be happy to discuss it with me at length- I suspect my initial response (below) makes it pretty clear that I've got a decent handle on disability stuff, but that my knowledge about gender stuff and race stuff isn't quite as strong. Which she could probably have guessed given that I said in my introduction how I was coming from disability studies and was taking the class largely because I know I can't be clueless about any marginalizations that can co-occur with disability (basically all of them) and properly understand disability. 

Trigger Warning: References to ableism, racism, sexism, and eugenics.

The word "intersectionality" coming from a metaphor about an actual intersection (Carestathis) makes sense. I'd wondered where it came from. When it can't be determined which "driver" (marginalization) caused the harm, it seems likely to me that it may have been both. I know I've seen times where it's both- I remember reading about how the eugenics movements often used ableism as a weapon with which to be racist.
It looks like discrimination along multiple lines at once, where all the different ways a person is marginalized are relevant, is harder to check for and harder to protect against, at least in our system. I wonder what kind of changes to a legal system it would take to fix that. Maybe a Venn diagram sort of approach would work better than looking at everything individually. People might also not think of the idea that people who are in multiple such groups even exist. I know that happens with being Queer and Autistic because so many people assume that people with disabilities, especially cognitive ones, aren't sexual in the first place and therefore couldn't have a non-normative sexuality. It also happens sometimes with being a woman and being autistic- I know someone who had autism taken off her record at one point because the psychologist actually said "Can't be. She's a girl." Dealing with legal discrimination issues against a group is a lot harder when people don't necessarily realize or accept that the group even exists.
When we get to reproductive rights, this article is talking about what essentially amounts to eugenics where ableism, classism, sexism, and racism are all working at the same time (Carestathis.) I've seen this one a lot from my disability studies stuff. Recently I saw a case where two people who really do have cognitive disabilities were having trouble finding a place to live together after they married, with the husband's group home OK with the idea but unable to provide a place for them to cohabit and the wife's group home insisting that she was incapable of consent. They recently found a different placement where they could cohabit (Dolak.) Given that it was the woman who was considered unable to consent despite other psychologists agreeing that she could, this history of sterilizing the women, and the fact that I have seen court orders forbidding autistic women from sexual relations (Beckford) but not autistic men, the recent cases look like an intersection of disability discrimination and gender discrimination. When ableism gets used as a weapon for racism or classism, it does sometimes also get used against people who actually have disabilities.
On work, I think of the stereotypical black "Mammy" who does domestic work long past slavery legally ended, allowing the white mistress she serves to concentrate on other things. The Live-in Caregiver Program looks disgusting, for all the reasons that they mentioned. It might also tie in with the "White Saviour" trope, though I'm not sure because I'm not quite as familiar with it. If the presumably white people who are putting forth this program think that it is somehow doing a favor for the workers on this sort of visa or is helping them, it sounds like white saviour. The wages for housework thing reminds me of Venezuela's recent move to provide pensions for those who are full time mothers and recognize certain kinds of work traditionally done by women (Ponniah)- this looks exactly like what the people demanding wages for housework were asking for, and might still be ignoring the fact that many people already were doing so in other people's homes for wages while also trying to do so at home. Since Venezuela is a Latin@ country, this might be less of an issue there- it could also be less of an issue if full-time is defined as 40 hours per week and the pension is given to those working at least 40 hours per week as "mother" even if they also do domestic work outside the home.
The state I don't know as much about, but I remember seeing somewhere that many Middle Eastern countries had more women in government than most Western ones, including the USA, and that white feminists as a group tend to get angry when this is brought up. Getting women of color into the government, not just white women and some men of color, could make some difference, but the way Canada's government looked when this was written (and presumably still looks) along with how the US Federal government looks speaks to racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and ableism all keeping people out of government. It makes sense, considering that government perpetuates all of those things.
I definitely understand the "privileged feminists claim their experiences are universal when they aren't" bit from the perspective of being androgyne-identified, biromantic, and Autistic, but I also know that I do not and will not experience it from the perspective of being racialized.

Works Cited (Links are in the titles.)
Carestathis, Anna. "Intersectionality & Feminism." N.p., 13 Feb. 2008. Web. 24 May 2013.
Dolak, Kevin. "Mentally Disabled Couple's Legal Battle Ends with New Home." ABC News. ABC News Network, 23 May 2013. Web. 24 May 2013.
Ponniah, Thomas. "Venezuela's New Labour Law: The Best Mother's Day Gift." N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 24 May 2013.

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