I saw an article today and there was one particular line that really stood out to me. So I fixed it.
Allies or self appointed allies aren’t supposed to tell other people to listen to other allies. That’s not how this is meant to work.
I am referring to this recent quote from an article published yesterday, 22nd of September 2016 which you can find here:
The title of the article is what grabbed my attention, because I am very passionate about my own Bewareness Campaign about Autism Moms™ (aka Autism Warrior Parent).
And Shannon does reference autistic writers and activists but it is disappointing to see she focuses a lot of attention on non autistic people and calls them experts. Autistic people are continuously being silenced and that is something, in *my* opinion, a good ally avoids doing that to the group that they are trying to support.
EDIT: Due to a few questions on my Facebook page, I felt I should go into this a little further and why I find this article and other like it – problematic.
Shannon outlines issues with Autism Warrior Parents and refers the reader to various autistic writers and activists – that is true. But then *instructs* us with far greater emphasis to “Listen to people who listen to autistic people” and then goes onto name three people, a doctor, an activist and a writer, that to my knowledge, are not autistic.
Allies of autistic people are supposed to signal boost autistic people – not other autistic allies.
Shannon writes phrases like “autistic people’s perspectives can help you tremendously” but places more emphasis on her own advice. There is a far higher proportion of her words than those of #actuallyautistic people. So there’s another contradiction and it’s not always obvious, but it’s definitely there if you know what to look for. It’s kinda like she’s just name dropping.
I also find disturbing that in the first paragraph, Shannon notes that the murder and abuse of autistic children can be partially attributed to the AWPs, and acknowledges the public’s tendency to sympathize with the abuser/murderer when these incidents occur, but then in the last paragraph tells the reader if they want to avoid being an AWP they need to “start by being kind to yourself” and excuses their behaviour because they simply “condition themselves to forget that their children are fully human.”
What? Seriously…. What the fuck did I just read? You forget your child is human?
Anyway, to wrap things up, because the more I look, the worse it is becoming – I saw inconsistencies and I know this pattern all too well. This article is not the words, in my opinion, of a true ally of autistic people.
❤ The Bullshit Fairy x
Image Description: A white square with a multicoloured watercolour border and coloured text, “Listen to people who listen to autistic people” with the first four words crossed out purposefully, leaving just the words “Listen to autistic people”. The original quote is by Shannon Des Roches Rosa, from Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. The Bullshit Fairy logo is underneath and website address http://www.thebullshitfairy.com.au