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aquafelix
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29 Aug 2019, 2:15 am

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”

This seems to be mainstream wisdom and given that people with my brain wiring (autism) only make up 1-2% of the population I’m keenly aware that my needs aren’t weighed heavily in society, if they are even recognized or understood at all.

However, the various civil rights movements have also demonstrated that the needs of the few, if noisy and outspoken enough can be heard by the many. Particularly If they can organise enough people to be noisy and outspoken together for long enough on an issue. But there is a lot of competition in that space at the moment.

Most autistic folks I know, including myself neither like noisy nor find it easy to be outspoken in a way that neurotypical people understand or are sympathetic towards. Also, most autistic folks don't seem to be a naturally organised or competitive group. Also, I wonder how united an effort can be made by people who tend to be non-conformist. It could be like herding cats (lovely animals, but also non-conformist individualists).

That makes me feel a bit hopeless that we can effectively advocate for our needs to the mainstream attention.

But, then again I’m also aware that many autistic people have a strong sense of social justice and fairness and can intensely focus on a project they feel passionate about. We are so diverse a group, surely the skill set is there.

Can our strengths as a group make up for our limitations in this area? Please comment cause this is getting me down.

I'm fairly new, so if this exact topic has been discussed to death already, please let me know where it has been discussed.



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29 Aug 2019, 3:24 am

"Disability" is the process which happens when one group of people with the power to do so create barriers by designing a world only for their way of living taking no account of the impairments other people have.

I believe it is fair to say that neurotypicals have used their numerically dominant power to create such barriers, to serve their own needs largely regardless of impacts on others.

The first sentence, to me, summarises what neurotypical privilege basically is. It oppresses AS people and many others who in some way deviate from the mainstream neurotypical type.



aquafelix
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29 Aug 2019, 3:50 am

B19 wrote:
"Disability" is the process which happens when one group of people with the power to do so create barriers by designing a world only for their way of living taking no account of the impairments other people have.

I believe it is fair to say that neurotypicals have used their numerically dominant power to create such barriers, to serve their own needs largely regardless of impacts on others.

The first sentence, to me, summarises what neurotypical privilege basically is. It oppresses AS people and many others who in some way deviate from the mainstream neurotypical type.


Thanks for the reply. If that's true then I doesn't the first sentence summarize most oppression. Using overwhelming power in numbers (or resources) to suppress minority rights.



ASPartOfMe
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29 Aug 2019, 4:01 am

Getting a bit PPR here IMHO the definition of “Privilege” should never have been expanded to involve groups. Members of the “privileged” group do not automatically receive unfair advantages and members of “underprivileged” group are not automatically discriminated against. What is often described as privilege is basic fairness, people getting what they deserve, not getting more then they deserve.

The above does not deny that if you are a minority it is more likely you will be put at an unfair disadvantage. IMHO a lot of what members describe as the curse of Autism and personal character flaws and personal failures is a partial or total matter of discrimination so pervasive it seems fair and normal. When you consider the combination of how small of a minority we are, the we are different in ways people most prioritize communication, and that it is not agreed upon as to what autism is it very likely an autistic person will be put at a very significant disdvantages.


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aquafelix
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29 Aug 2019, 6:37 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Getting a bit PPR here IMHO the definition of “Privilege” should never have been expanded to involve groups. Members of the “privileged” group do not automatically receive unfair advantages and members of “underprivileged” group are not automatically discriminated against. What is often described as privilege is basic fairness, people getting what they deserve, not getting more then they deserve.

The above does not deny that if you are a minority it is more likely you will be put at an unfair disadvantage. IMHO a lot of what members describe as the curse of Autism and personal character flaws and personal failures is a partial or total matter of discrimination so pervasive it seems fair and normal. When you consider the combination of how small of a minority we are, the we are different in ways people most prioritize communication, and that it is not agreed upon as to what autism is it very likely an autistic person will be put at a very significant disdvantages.


Thanks for the reply,

I think I'm going to have to read that a few times to absorb it all



Mona Pereth
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29 Aug 2019, 7:29 am

aquafelix wrote:
However, the various civil rights movements have also demonstrated that the needs of the few, if noisy and outspoken enough can be heard by the many. Particularly If they can organise enough people to be noisy and outspoken together for long enough on an issue. But there is a lot of competition in that space at the moment.

I wouldn't see it as competition, actually. To the extent that ASAN has had whatever limited success it has had, it has been thanks largely to its alliance with the larger disability rights movement.

aquafelix wrote:
Most autistic folks I know, including myself neither like noisy nor find it easy to be outspoken in a way that neurotypical people understand or are sympathetic towards. Also, most autistic folks don't seem to be a naturally organised or competitive group. Also, I wonder how united an effort can be made by people who tend to be non-conformist. It could be like herding cats (lovely animals, but also non-conformist individualists).

That makes me feel a bit hopeless that we can effectively advocate for our needs to the mainstream attention.

In order to have a truly effective civil rights movement, you need to have not only the civil rights movement itself to be organized; you also need a much larger organized community for the civil rights movement to draw its support from. (Examples: The LGBT rights movement draws most of its support from the larger organized LGBT community. The African-American civil rights movement has historically drawn much of its support from black churches.)

We need, among other kinds of groups:

1) A lot more local in-person peer-led support groups.

2) Primarily online-based, but locally-focused, groups for autistic people who work in or desire to work in particular professions / occupations / job categories.

3) Locally focused groups devoted to particular hobbies.

4) Primarily online-based leadership councils for the leaders of all these various groups, to share information and help each other develop leadership skills.

Speaking of leadership skills: Sounds really tough for socially disabled people, doesn't it? However, for some of us, leading a group is actually much easier than, say, participating in casual chit chat with more than one person at a time.

I need structure and focus. If I'm the leader of a group, I get to impose the structure I need in order to make the group manageable, at least for myself. I just need to make sure I'm making it manageable for everyone else in the group as well. When leading a group, my main focus is on making sure everyone has chances to speak, including the people who (like me) would normally have great difficulty jumping into conversations.

See the separate thread Building the autistic community?, especially my posts on page 2 of that thread.

See also the following threads: Autistic-friendly workplaces and Autistic-friendly social skills vs. blending in with NT's.


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29 Aug 2019, 8:09 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Getting a bit PPR here IMHO the definition of “Privilege” should never have been expanded to involve groups. Members of the “privileged” group do not automatically receive unfair advantages and members of “underprivileged” group are not automatically discriminated against. What is often described as privilege is basic fairness, people getting what they deserve, not getting more then they deserve.

I remember having a reaction similar to the above when I first encountered the word "privilege" in a political context. I remember wondering how it was that just being treated fairly could constitute "privilege."

However, can you think of a better (yet non-clumsy) word or phrase to mean "relatively non-marginalized"?

Group privilege is, of course, relative and on an other-things-being-equal basis. Of course, for example, a wealthy black person will in most ways be more privileged than a working-class white person. Nevertheless the working-class white person may still be more privileged in some ways. For example, in the absence of a prohibition on racial profiling, the wealthy black person might get stopped by police more often.

But, one might ask: Why even talk about "privileged" (relatively non-marginalized) people at all, in the first place, rather than focus just on the unfair disadvantages of the marginalized?

Because their privilege (relative non-marginalization) affects how they see things. Often, for example, the privileged are just not aware of the unfair disadvantages of the marginalized, hence blame the latter for their resulting difficulties. Often the privileged (relatively non-marginalized) not only fail to see, but outright resist seeing, the unfair disadvantages of the marginalized. On the other hand, even those who do see them and are well-meaning may fail to use their privilege to stand against the injustices. (For example, many white people don't bother to try to refute racist remarks that come up in casual conversation with other white people, even if they are aware that the remarks are unjustified).

There needs to be a language to talk about things like this. Can you think of a better word than "privilege"?


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29 Aug 2019, 8:31 am

Male-privileged
White - privileged
Severe mental illness- non privileged
Asperger's - non privileged
Probable learning difficulties - non privileged
Economically in relation to others in the UK-non privileged

Dishonest people will focus on the first two to the exclusion of all else .



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29 Aug 2019, 8:33 am

People who believe in "checking your privilege" should really learn how do thorough research.

I have found that these sorts of people tend to be "privileged" themselves----and they really don't want to lose that "privilege."

I find there is a considerable amount of "projection" within those who tell you to "check your privilege."



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29 Aug 2019, 8:46 am

^ So true . I think most of us straddle both positions .



ASPartOfMe
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29 Aug 2019, 10:07 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Getting a bit PPR here IMHO the definition of “Privilege” should never have been expanded to involve groups. Members of the “privileged” group do not automatically receive unfair advantages and members of “underprivileged” group are not automatically discriminated against. What is often described as privilege is basic fairness, people getting what they deserve, not getting more then they deserve.

I remember having a reaction similar to the above when I first encountered the word "privilege" in a political context. I remember wondering how it was that just being treated fairly could constitute "privilege."

However, can you think of a better (yet non-clumsy) word or phrase to mean "relatively non-marginalized"?

Group privilege is, of course, relative and on an other-things-being-equal basis. Of course, for example, a wealthy black person will in most ways be more privileged than a working-class white person. Nevertheless the working-class white person may still be more privileged in some ways. For example, in the absence of a prohibition on racial profiling, the wealthy black person might get stopped by police more often.

But, one might ask: Why even talk about "privileged" (relatively non-marginalized) people at all, in the first place, rather than focus just on the unfair disadvantages of the marginalized?

Because their privilege (relative non-marginalization) affects how they see things. Often, for example, the privileged are just not aware of the unfair disadvantages of the marginalized, hence blame the latter for their resulting difficulties. Often the privileged (relatively non-marginalized) not only fail to see, but outright resist seeing, the unfair disadvantages of the marginalized. On the other hand, even those who do see them and are well-meaning may fail to use their privilege to stand against the injustices. (For example, many white people don't bother to try to refute racist remarks that come up in casual conversation with other white people, even if they are aware that the remarks are unjustified).

There needs to be a language to talk about things like this. Can you think of a better word than "privilege"?

As mentioned above it has gone beyond politicalization to weaponization. It is meant to say because you are born privileged your opinion is invalid.

What is the right word to say advantaged and disadvantaged that I use. How about instead of using the weaponized guilt tripping “Check your privilege” explain it in a similar manner I did above.

While the expansion of the term privileges was probably made with good intent it turned into intersectionality which turned into “oppression olympics”. It is a fine line between being clear eyed as to what we are likely to face as a minority as wallowing in victimhood. I would not want to see the Autism Rights movement turn in an Autism Justice Warriors Movement.


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29 Aug 2019, 10:24 am

Daily Effects of Neurotypical Privilege

Imagine these 30 statements being spoken by a neurotypical person, and then let me know if you think they are accurate representations or not. These statements are drawn from a list of about 200 similar statements, allegedly representational of "Neurotypical Privilege". Thank you.

• "I am automatically suspicious of anyone who does not make eye contact with me, and no one thinks this is weird."

• "I am called a 'creep' only when I intentionally act 'creepy'."

• "I am completely unaware of my neurotypical nature."

• "I am easily drawn into the same emotional state as those around me."

• "I am in control of my life -- no one makes decisions for me without my approval."

• "I am not considered more dangerous and more likely to commit a crime because of my neurotype."

• "I am not constantly reminded that I need to work on the things which I am very bad at, at the expense of things which I am good at and enjoy doing."

• "I attended school in the same classrooms as most people my own age."

• "I can 'settle down and get married' at about the same time my friends and relatives of the same age and become a parent within a year or two of those same people."

• "I can ask for technical or social support on the job without being labeled as a troublemaker or charity case."

• "I can automatically adapt to and share in the interests and beliefs of others in my immediate social environment."

• "I can be myself without anyone accusing me of being weird."

• "I can buy things I do not need with money I do not have to impress people I do not know."

• "I can call on 'That Aspie Kid' down the street to fix my computer and pay him with pocket change and a few cookies."

• "I can choose to have a mutually supportive relationship with a life-time partner."

• "I can choose to not act like a 'creep' if I want to."

• "I can comfortably access crowded buildings, sidewalks, parks, bathrooms, et cetera."

• "I can communicate regularly in analogies, inside jokes, metaphors and cultural references that only another neurotypical person would understand."

• "I can discuss my interests at length without this being viewed as a 'symptom' of my neurotype."

• "I can easily ignore the physical discomfort of wearing stylish clothing."

• "I can enjoy a group hug without going into a panic."

• "I can enjoy new situations and meeting new people."

• "I can enjoy social occasions to the exclusion of other interests."

• "I can expend the minimum amount of effort to adequately compete in society."

• "I can feel confident that anyone who does not like me simply does not know me well enough."

• "I can feel confident that employers will hire and promote people of my neurotype."

• "I can feel confident that every group I join will be led by people of my neurotype."

• "I can feel confident that I am more likely to receive sympathetic understanding than a scolding if I display signs of anxiety or grief."

• "I can feel confident that I am more likely to receive sympathy than a scolding if I am not feeling well and decide to stay in bed."

• "I can feel confident that I can easily adapt and possibly even thrive if my daily routine is disturbed or interrupted in any way."


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29 Aug 2019, 11:36 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
As mentioned above it has gone beyond politicalization to weaponization. It is meant to say because you are born privileged your opinion is invalid.

What is the right word to say advantaged and disadvantaged that I use. How about instead of using the weaponized guilt tripping “Check your privilege” explain it in a similar manner I did above.

I agree that weaponized guilt-tripping is counterproductive in many situations.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
While the expansion of the term privileges was probably made with good intent it turned into intersectionality which turned into “oppression olympics”.

Actually “oppression olympics” (by which I assume you mean a tendency to dismiss the existence or significance of oppression X on the grounds that oppression Y is worse) has been around since the late 1960's, when some black civil rights activists reacted against all the other budding civil rights movements that had been inspired by the black civil rights movement. The concept of "intersectionality" arose later, as part of a remedy for “oppression olympics”. IMO the basic concept of intersectionality is sound, although there are people who wield that concept in unproductive ways.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
It is a fine line between being clear eyed as to what we are likely to face as a minority as wallowing in victimhood. I would not want to see the Autism Rights movement turn in an Autism Justice Warriors Movement.

Yes, we need to be focused on finding solutions, rather than on paralyzing ourselves with endless fault-finding.


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aquafelix
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30 Aug 2019, 2:41 am

[/quote]
In order to have a truly effective civil rights movement, you need to have not only the civil rights movement itself to be organized; you also need a much larger organized community for the civil rights movement to draw its support from. (Examples: The LGBT rights movement draws most of its support from the larger organized LGBT community. The African-American civil rights movement has historically drawn much of its support from black churches.)

We need, among other kinds of groups:

1) A lot more local in-person peer-led support groups.

2) Primarily online-based, but locally-focused, groups for autistic people who work in or desire to work in particular professions / occupations / job categories.

3) Locally focused groups devoted to particular hobbies.

4) Primarily online-based leadership councils for the leaders of all these various groups, to share information and help each other develop leadership skills.

Speaking of leadership skills: Sounds really tough for socially disabled people, doesn't it? However, for some of us, leading a group is actually much easier than, say, participating in casual chit chat with more than one person at a time.

I need structure and focus. If I'm the leader of a group, I get to impose the structure I need in order to make the group manageable, at least for myself. I just need to make sure I'm making it manageable for everyone else in the group as well. When leading a group, my main focus is on making sure everyone has chances to speak, including the people who (like me) would normally have great difficulty jumping into conversations.

See the separate thread Building the autistic community?, especially my posts on page 2 of that thread.

See also the following threads: Autistic-friendly workplaces and Autistic-friendly social skills vs. blending in with NT's.[/quote]

Thanks Mona, your reply was helpful, especially the bit on leadership.



aquafelix
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30 Aug 2019, 2:49 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:

However, can you think of a better (yet non-clumsy) word or phrase to mean "relatively non-marginalized"?



Thanks Mona, Clearly you have givied alot of thought to this kind of issue.

I actually like the term"relatively non-marginalized" cause it actually emphasizes the actual problem (as I see it) better. Calling a group "privledged" sounds judgmental and whiny and is likely to shut down any kind of dialogue, thus defeating the purpose.



aquafelix
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30 Aug 2019, 2:54 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
People who believe in "checking your privilege" should really learn how do thorough research.

I have found that these sorts of people tend to be "privileged" themselves----and they really don't want to lose that "privilege."

I find there is a considerable amount of "projection" within those who tell you to "check your privilege."


I too hate the phrase "check your privilege". I think it comes across as arrogant and disrespectful and yes privileged, as if the person saying it has privilege to the Truth (with a capitol T).

I believe you can hold someone to account without having to humiliating them.