When I meet other people, ‘autistic’ or not, there is something instinctive in me that looks for where systems in them match systems in me.

When I am around non-autistic people I soon know they function according to a generally alien system of functioning that makes little match with my own. I know this is because they are essentially multi-track and I am essentially mono.

Source: Autism: An Inside-Out Approach: An Innovative Look at the ‘Mechanics’ of ‘Autism’ and its Developmental ‘Cousins’ by Donna Williams

See also: Posts tagged monotropism

The Trump administration is a continuous reminder that racism is “the most slovenly of predictive models”.

Needless to say, racists don’t spend a lot of time hunting down reliable data to train their twisted models. And once their model morphs into a belief, it becomes hardwired. It generates poisonous assumptions, yet rarely tests them, settling instead for data that seems to confirm and fortify them. Consequently, racism is the most slovenly of predictive models. It is powered by haphazard data gathering and spurious correlations, reinforced by institutional inequities, and polluted by confirmation bias. In this way, oddly enough, racism operates like many of the WMDs I’ll be describing in this book.

Source: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

It’s easy for people to dismiss online activism as somehow fake, or at least not significant. When it comes to disability in particular, that’s a mistake. Twitter is the most accessible real-time conversation. It is not perfectly accessible, but its text-based public nature allows people to talk to one another who have radically different modes of interacting with the world. People who have difficulty leaving their homes for reasons of physical or social disabilities, people who are blind or deaf (or both), who do not speak verbally and communicate by typing (regardless of appendage used to type), and those with other disability-related access needs can all use Twitter to talk to each other. I have been in wildly accessible physical spaces, with captioning, ramps, sign, and warnings about a lack of scent. It is possible to make accessible spaces, but Twitter brings us together by design. It’s a space, therefore, where the disability community can manifest as a powerful constituency. And it doesn’t hurt that both journalists and political operatives also hang out on Twitter.

Source: Where the Heck Is Joe Biden’s Disability Plan? | The Nation

Also: Bring the backchannel forward. Written communication is the great social equalizer.

The joyful celebration of pluralism through song perks me up when the world gets me down. I started an inclusion song playlist. What should I add?

Aww. I love these affirmations from neurowonderful.

  • Your stims are stupendous; your happy makes me happy
    • I would talk on the phone for you; please don’t make me
    • You’re on my red list; let’s get out of here
    • I want to know everything about you; do you mind if I take notes?
    • I want to spend time in parallel existence with you; let’s be alone together
    • Your echolalia is enchanting; let’s back and forth

Selected quotes on the ableist framing of “normal”, “natural”, “defectiveness”, and “overcoming” from the opening of Eli Clare’s “Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure”.

On “overcoming” disability

Overcoming bombards disabled people. It’s everywhere.

To pose individual hard work, rather than broad-based disability access, as the key to success for people with dyslexia is absurd and ableist.

Sometimes disabled people overcome specific moments of ableism—we exceed low expectations, problem-solve lack of access, avoid nursing homes or long-term psych facilities, narrowly escape police brutality and prison. However, I’m not sure that overcoming disability itself is an actual possibility for most of us. Yet in a world that places extraordinary value in cure, the belief that we can defeat or transcend body-mind conditions through individual hard work is convenient. Overcoming is cure’s backup plan.

Declaring disability a matter of social justice is an important act of resistance—disability residing not in paralysis but in stairs without an accompanying ramp, not in blindness but in the lack of braille and audio books, not in dyslexia but in teaching methods unwilling to flex. In this declaration, disability politics joins other social change movements in the ongoing work of locating the problems of injustice not in individual body-minds but in the world.

On “normal” and “natural” and cure

As an ideology seeped into every corner of white Western thought and culture, cure rides on the back of normal and natural.

First, cure requires damage, locating the harm entirely within individual human body-minds, operating as if each person were their own ecosystem. Second, it grounds itself in an original state of being, relying on a belief that what existed before is superior to what exists currently. And finally, it seeks to return what is damaged to that former state of being.

The vision of me without tremoring hands and slurred speech, with more balance and coordination, doesn’t originate from my visceral history. Rather it arises from an imagination of what I should be like, from some definition of normal and natural.

At the center of cure lies eradication and the many kinds of violence that accompany it.

On “defectiveness” and eradication

Defectiveness wields incredible power because ableism builds and maintains the notion that defective body-minds are undesirable, worthless, disposable, or in need of cure.

Cartwright and the rest use the ableist invention of defectiveness in order to explain and justify the practices of enslavement, imprisonment, institutionalization, and state violence. In essence, they fortify white supremacy by leveraging ableism.

The list of body-mind differences, illnesses, and so-called defects that the medical-industrial complex wants to eradicate goes on and on. This kind of elimination benefits some of us in significant ways—saving our lives or increasing our comfort. At the same time, it also commits damage, routinely turning body-minds into medical objects and creating lies about normal and natural.

as a widespread ideology centered on eradication, cure always operates in relationship to violence.

On the bright side

We take constraints that no one would choose and build rich and satisfying lives within them.

Source: » Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure | Eli Clare

It’s basically a lens, a prism, for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other. We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality or immigrant status. What’s often missing is how some people are subject to all of these, and the experience is not just the sum of its parts.

Intersectionality is simply about how certain aspects of who you are will increase your access to the good things or your exposure to the bad things in life. Like many other social-justice ideas, it stands because it resonates with people’s lives, but because it resonates with people’s lives, it’s under attack. There’s nothing new about defenders of the status quo criticizing those who are demanding that injustices be addressed. It’s all a crisis over a sense that things might actually have to change for equality to be real.

Self-interrogation is a good place to start. If you see inequality as a “them” problem or “unfortunate other” problem, that is a problem. Being able to attend to not just unfair exclusion but also, frankly, unearned inclusion is part of the equality gambit. We’ve got to be open to looking at all of the ways our systems reproduce these inequalities, and that includes the privileges as well as the harms.

Source: Kimberlé Crenshaw on What Intersectionality Means Today | Time

The Neurodiversity Movement arose from the resistance of neurominority activists to their exclusion from employment, health, and education etc.

But if the movement is fully understood and used properly, it will find itself humanizing the working conditions of all humans, and providing an adequate standard of living for all, not just those with inherited wealth, paid employment, or entrepreneurial abilities.

Source: NeuroDiversity 2.0: Is “Paid-Employedness” the new “Next to Godliness”?

Whether your goal is competitive advantage or human service, you should be able to meet your goals better under a Neurodiversity at Work banner, as opposed to an Autism at Work one. In both cases the supports needed are similar, but the neurodivergent population is substantially larger than the “only autistic” population so your chances of success are magnified.

While labels like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or PDD-NOS may be useful for therapists and childhood educators, the community-sourced alternative “neurodivergent” is probably better suited for colleges and workplaces. In those spaces, medical labels carry stigma that leads to conscious and unconscious marginalization. Expectations are always lower for people with disability diagnoses.

Neurodiversity is a new concept but the underlying reality has been part of human society forever. In the modern era work and school programs designed for the average person have excluded those whose cognitive styles fall outside that narrow midrange. Despite that, workplaces – including colleges – already contain plenty of neurodiversity so a primary program goal should be the better support of those people. Neurodiversity at School and at Work is not just about bringing new people into the fold.

The newest Neurodiversity initiatives recognize this fact.

By embracing the neurodiversity model instead of autism, employers can move toward a more inclusive welcoming environment.

Source: The Next Step for Neurodiversity | Psychology Today

I agree. At my company, we’re framing in terms of neurodiversity at work.

Cone lectured on his new book, A Black Theology of Liberation. After class, Dad approached the professor.

“What is your definition of a Christian?” Dad asked in his deeply earnest way.

Cone looked at Dad with equal seriousness and responded: “A Christian is one who is striving for liberation.”

James Cone’s working definition of a Christian described a Christianity of the enslaved, not the Christianity of the slaveholders. Receiving this definition was a revelatory moment in Dad’s life. Ma had her own similar revelation in her Black student union—that Christianity was about struggle and liberation. My parents now had, separately, arrived at a creed with which to shape their lives, to be the type of Christians that Jesus the revolutionary inspired them to be. This new definition of a word that they’d already chosen as their core identity naturally transformed them.

Source: Kendi, Ibram X.. How to Be an Antiracist.

“A Christian is one who is striving for liberation.” I like that. Far better than the Southern Strategy Christianity I grew up with.