Compton

This is an interesting and promising development. Instead of criminalizing students from rough parts of town (usually from less privileged races and classes), how about we acknowledge and accommodate their trauma and therefore give them a real chance to learn?

If we can keep the pathologizing and ableism down to a dull roar, that is.

“They argue that attaching the stigma of disability to kids because they come from poor, high crime neighborhoods would be devastating. “

Ok, people.  This “stigma of disability” line is a load of tripe. These kids are already actively being disabled.  Calling attention to this fact, acknowledging it for what it is, reminding people of and enforcing social responsibility is hardly going to be “devastating” to the students.  

These students are already being raped, shot, brutalized, starved, and left homeless- plus then they are activley penalized and even thrown out of school when their PTSD interferes with class.  

Let me reiterate:  1.  Adults responsible for these students know what is happening and neither attempt to help with the root trouble nor with the results:

“throughout his school career, Compton school district teachers and administrators knew of the issues that caused him to act out and do poorly in school, but offered no help, even last year when he was homeless. He lived openly on the roof of the [school] cafeteria”

And 2.  They actively penalize students known to be traumatized with suspension and expulsion, thereby denying the students even an education-  *even though* the students’ maladaptive behavior is caused by PTSD itself:

“acording to scientists, is that the brains of traumatized children are essentially re-wired so that the smallest upset can cause them to lash out in anger in a fight or flight state or to withdraw, removing themselves psychologically from a situation.”

but naming the (secondary) trouble as “disability” would be devastating?

I hope that having to acknowledge and address the secondary trouble might eventually erode the denial of social responsibility for the root causes of the trauma itself.  You know, some day.

deviance

“Sometimes I ain’t so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he ain’t.  Sometimes I think it ain’t none of us pure crazy and ain’t none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way.  It’s like it ain’t so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.”

-from William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

 

I need to rereadthat one.  That’s the one that hooked me on Faulkner. 

Right now, though, I need to read Howard S. Becker’s Outsiders first.

the Tone Argument, is it?

So you’re saying that if an autistic person stays calm, level-headed, and reasonable during a heated discussion, while still maintaining their right to a different opinion, that proves autistic people lack empathy and the ability to relate to other people or understand human emotions.  That they are mind-blind. And therefore should not be heard.

(Such as under the subheading “Different standards for autistic and non-autistic people” here·)

But if an autistic person gets fired up during a debate, that proves autistic people are irrational, simple-minded, and way too child-like for them or their points to be considered.

Convenient, that.

I can practically see you rub your hands together with glee at the prospect of taking down an autistic woman.  Will you dismiss her for being a robot with no feelings or for being a hysterical female?  For being both?  In any case, nobody needs to listen to her.

Maybe you’ll claim that the fact the autistic person is making so much sense proves they’re not really autistic at all!  And therefore should not be included in this (or any) conversation.

Your tone argument is not proof of anything except that you will make up any excuse necessary to keep autistic voices from being heard.  Your tone argument is just a weak, pathetic, transparent excuse, and we’re throwing it in the trash where it belongs.

“We’re all a little autistic”

(On my mind partly because of this read.)

1.  “We’re all a little autistic.”

Really?  You’re okay with saying that?  Then how about “We’re all a little black.” “We’re all a little female.” “We’re all a little Jewish.” “We’re all a little gay.”  “We’re all a little paraplegic.” “We’re all a little homeless.” “We’re all a little bit PTSD.”

Fun game:  See which minority groups you’re okay with disenfranchising from their full humanity!  Are we all a little blind, perhaps?  Maybe we’re all a little deaf, old, mad, depressed, bipolar, schizophrenic?  We’re all a little poor?  We were all kids and teenagers at some point (and our point of view is still the same, I’m sure).  Hey, we’re all a little Native American in there somewhere, right?

So no need to listen to those people.  Because we’re all alike!  We can speak for them!

Do you see what happened there?  It looks like you’re being inclusive, but you’re really just making an excuse to shut people out of discussions and decision-making.  Great camoflauge, there.  You still get your way without really looking like an ass.

2. “We’re all a little autistic.”

Are we all “a little pregnant” too?  What about “a little dead”?

There is no such thing as “a little autistic”.  You are either autistic- ie, you have an innately, fundamentally different neurology (from that of neurotypicals) which corresponds with autism specifically- or you are not. There’s even a word for not being autistic:  alltistic.  You might be neurodivergent even, but unless you’re actually autistic, you’re not autistic, not even a little, and you won’t ever really have the same lived experience as being specifically autistic.  

So, no, there’s no such thing as “a little autistic”.  (Or “a little neurodivergent”, or a little neurotypical”.)

There’s also no such thing as being “a little bit human”.  There’s no degrees of humanity.  You are either human or you’re not.  Really.  All humans are fully human.  Being human encompasses a lot more than we act like it does.  There are many ways to be human, and each way is equally valid, important, and worthwhile.

3.  So, to recap

We are all human, and all our voices matter.  We are all different, and we really have to listen to each other to understand.  We all have important contributions to make, and each one of us brings us to a fuller realization of the beauty and resilience of being human.

Real things do not exclude
because we are all part of each other
in the real world.
Real things do not exclude,
they embrace and
sometimes we wish they wouldn’t but 
we have to accept all of it
in order to work with it and
to be fully alive.

excerpt, “I am of this world”

And also, we are not all a little autistic.

That’s not help

I have a long and harried history of people claiming they’re trying to help when, in fact, they are making things worse.  I was thinking about it all again- and why this is a problem- today after  this read.

“It is because of the systemic ableism that is ever present in our lives, because we are seen as not human enough. Even as I am very conscious of that, I still refuse to comply and please people who don’t value who I am.”
– Amy Sequenzia

[Me]:  The mindset that someone is less than human- that someone’s essential nature needs to be fixed, repaired, changed, or cured; that someone adult is childlike and infantile; that someone’s differences make them more of a robot, a savage mindless animal, a hollow shell, a ghost or shadow, alien and forever unreachable, other, criminal, evil, or possessed by the devil- is hateful and destructive to both the people it is directed against and the people who wield it.

We are all human and any help (advice, therapy, treatment, support, accomodation, policy, law, etc) not grounded in that reality is not a help but a means of controlling the deviant others.

Saying that an autistic person must have ABA (etc) or end up being institutionalized is, in fact, saying that an autistic person must learn to conform to and appease the neurotypical world or the neurotypical world will lock them away.  

[Emily Dickinson]:
Much Madness is divinest Sense –

To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain –