A few thoughts on dissent and communities and crap.

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I’m still dealing with asthma problems and those are my top priority at the moment. It’s been difficult to turn my ideas into words lately, except in direct response to others, and even that is incomplete. But a few things:

Working within an organization and critiquing its power structures, even harshly, are not mutually exclusive.

Communities that can’t handle dissenters aren’t real communities, but can certainly grow into them if they learn to handle dissent by doing something other than a Chicken Little routine.

Good allies don’t threaten to cut off their support every time they hear something that makes them uncomfortable.

Conflict won’t destroy a community, but thinking it will just might. So will incessant pettiness.

Critiquing the priorities and power of a group that someone belongs to might just be a sign they care about that group, not a sign that they are evil incarnate or “infighting” or all that crap.

Critiquing power structures that benefit certain people above others is not the same thing as saying these are bad people who must go away and leave us alone and that we don’t appreciate them.

Having impure motives doesn’t make someone wrong or wholly evil or to be castigated for those motives while ignoring some of their real points, focusing entirely on speculating about people’s motives is a good way to avoid issues though.

At the same time, it’s not always our job to reassure you that you’re not evil and awful and stuff. At some point just decide that as axiomatic and move on to something constructive like figuring out what’s right and wrong and trying to do what’s right.

Disagreeing on how things should be done doesn’t mean people can’t work together or that the entire community is falling apart at the seams.

Sometimes a person’s disagreement comes out forcefully because they’ve been hiding it for a long time, knowing what kind of reaction they’d get if they said anything. Doesn’t make it less valid.

Anyone who thinks the web is or should be a comfortable safe place like their living room hasn’t been paying attention. (Edited to add: Anyone who thinks everyone even has a living room, or that everyone’s living room is comfortable and safe, hasn’t been paying attention either.)

Communities aren’t about liking each other, they’re about bothering to do things for and/or with each other even if you don’t like them. Likewise advocacy involves sometimes gritting your teeth and doing things alongside people you don’t like, rather than sitting there grumbling about why you don’t like them (and by “don’t like” I’m talking personality conflicts here). Even if they’re grumbling pettily about you.

Just because someone agrees with you on one issue doesn’t mean they have to agree with you on everything.

Nobody has a right to be comfortable, for certain values of ‘comfortable’ anyway. Your feelings being hurt shouldn’t determine large-scale political stuff.

Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t suddenly mean they’ve taken every single stance against you that is possible to take, it just means they’ve taken at least one stance that might conflict with some things you believe in.

Disagreement won’t tear apart a community. “You’re with us or against us” thinking will. Responding to disagreement in a Chicken Little sort of manner will. The sort of thinking that gives rise to “You’re with us or against us” and “The sky is falling” was in existence before the dissenter in question ever opened his mouth, and is a serious problem that needs to be worked on if you want your community to last. And the very existence, magnitude, and nature of the reaction he got, proves he had a point, and you don’t have to agree with him (or anyone else) 100% to notice that.

This sort of thing is too petty and stupid to make lasting enemies over (although some people sure seem to be trying, and it ain’t Larry who seems to be trying the hardest to make enemies here), and it’s why the autistic community doesn’t stand a chance until people move beyond petty personality conflicts and into shared principles.

I’ve seen this all before. I’m not at my most articulate right now, I’ve mostly been struggling with breathing all day in between trying to comment sometimes. But all I’m struck by is how Larry saying one little thing seems to have set off something that already existed within this community and that was just waiting to ignite. And that thing that existed worries me a whole lot more than anything Larry said. Don’t see dissent as a threat, see it as a source of strength. Don’t issue with-us-or-against-us ultimatums and lash out and bicker yourselves to death about who said what. Otherwise you’re doomed even if you never do get open dissent of this nature again: If this community is that fragile it’ll be ineffective in ever getting things done.

Breathing trouble has a funny way of shaping one’s priorities really fast. And I know that I would rather not literally waste my breath trashing people I’m mad at on a petty personal level and feeding the flames. I’d rather respond to the parts of this that I can find that are constructive and get on with trying to do the right thing. I have limited energy and I’m not going to waste it either lashing out at people or coddling and reassuring people who as a whole have some combination of more air, more energy, and more political power than I have at the moment. They can do that for themselves. You can turn this into a constructive discussion to make this community stronger. Or deal with the consequences of not doing so. It’s your choice. I have to go to bed.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

23 responses »

  1. It is interesting that in religious terms I belong to a group that have traditionally been called “dissenters”

    What was it they were dissenting from, way back when the reformation and religious wars were in full swing.

    They were protestants, dissenting against other protestants, who had not given room for reform to go far enough and had become ossified like the ones they were protesting against to the extent that they vigourously suppressed opposition on there own side.

    It took a long time for dissenters to be granted full legal rights not only to practice there religion uninhibited but to have full civil rights as well.

    I am proud to be a dissenter, in religion, in politics and in the cyberworld.

  2. What you said, Ma’am. Please get some rest and some air. King Larry can be annoying on the ‘net, but I betcha he and I’d get along sharing a pint or two, and our respective weirdnesses.

  3. Hi, Amanda,

    Thanks for cross posting this to my blog. I’ve taken that as an invite to stay in the conversation, for now. :)

    You are absolutely correct in that breathing (or the lack of it) tends to overshadow everything when it is a problem. Sorry that the asthma is acting up. Do take care of yourself. First things first. The issues raised won’t go away overnight, and I don’t think any of the major players won’t either, unless forcibly pushed out.

    Working within an organization and critiquing its power structures, even harshly, are not mutually exclusive.

    Agreed. I guess my quibble is defining what exactly “The Hub” is. I have seen it as an online literary magazine with a variety of contributors. I’m not sure that it constitutes a community, though I do feel more connected to many who post there than others who post elsewhere, so perhaps it is also a virtual community. I definitely don’t see it as an organization. Organizations have written rules, meetings, and officers. I see them as qualitatively different beasts.

    Communities that can’t handle dissenters aren’t real communities, but can certainly grow into them if they learn to handle dissent by doing something other than a Chicken Little routine.

    Also agreed. But I think when someone feels like they’ve been blindsided that what looks like a Chicken Little routine may be an honest attempt to step back and re-evaluate their own previous writings, thoughts, and motives prior to responding. But I’m also not attempting to speak for others here, as I can’t read minds.

    Good allies don’t threaten to cut off their support every time they hear something that makes them uncomfortable.

    I’m not sure anyone has. Again I’ll speak for myself. As the parent of my autistic son, at this point (he’s 7) I have no choice but to advocate for him. I try to teach him how to advocate for himself, but it will be years before our roles reverse and he becomes the chief advocate for himself (and his aging, ailing father). And advocating for him involves (in my mind) working to change society’s ill formed, restrictive, and destructive attitudes towards autistics and disabilities in general. It doesn’t matter what services I can get for him now, if the world he does go out into is not improved. And whether I agree or disagree with specific aspects of what the greater autistic community sees as priorities, I also see my job as supporting those things as a whole, recognizing that I am not autistic, and therefore don’t have the same perspective on what may be most important.

    Conflict won’t destroy a community, but thinking it will just might. So will incessant pettiness.

    Agreed. But I also feel that throwing accusations out without backing them up with specific examples is destructive, too.

    Critiquing the priorities and power of a group that someone belongs to might just be a sign they care about that group, not a sign that they are evil incarnate or “infighting” or all that crap.

    I agree. I just want to see a fair discussion, instead of unsubstantiated lobbed accusations.

    Critiquing power structures that benefit certain people above others is not the same thing as saying these are bad people who must go away and leave us alone and that we don’t appreciate them.

    OK, but when Larry puts out objections to all the stuff “the parents” are doing that is harmful on the Hub, but doesn’t put out what he sees are the solutions, we are left to fill in the gaps. And the only way I see to fill those gaps is with censorship or asking people to leave. Neither of which I see as constructive. That being said, the individual owners of blogs (or blogrings) have the right to set their own rules. And if I don’t like those rules, then I can take myself elsewhere. I personally don’t feel comfortable on any space where my opinion is going to be edited for anything other than the usual (extreme rudeness, vulgarity, porn). If what I write is deemed generally not reflective of what the group is about, then I’ll go my seperate way rather than conform to someone else’s idea of what I should write.

    Having impure motives doesn’t make someone wrong or wholly evil or to be castigated for those motives while ignoring some of their real points, focusing entirely on speculating about people’s motives is a good way to avoid issues though.

    I haven’t tried to focus on what motives Larry has in this. Again, I’m not a mind reader, and can only respond to what he has said. And I think he’s made some very good points. Some of which (Like “Nothing about us without us”) I always assumed to be true. Other points (like posts on mercury take away from other problems) I don’t agree with, because of the other baggage that comes with the “mercury=poison” philosophy.

    The things I object to in Larry’s collective posts and responses are unsubstantiated attacks. I don’t mind being “dissed” as part of a group of parents, if you’ll spell out specific reasons why you’re dissing me, so that I might respond. Because I say so just doesn’t cut it.

    At the same time, it’s not always our job to reassure you that you’re not evil and awful and stuff. At some point just decide that as axiomatic and move on to something constructive like figuring out what’s right and wrong and trying to do what’s right.

    I’m a big boy, and older than most on the Hub. I figured out a long time ago who I was (for the most part, anyway).

    Disagreeing on how things should be done doesn’t mean people can’t work together or that the entire community is falling apart at the seams.

    Agreed. All stew pots need to be stirred every now and then.

    Sometimes a person’s disagreement comes out forcefully because they’ve been hiding it for a long time, knowing what kind of reaction they’d get if they said anything. Doesn’t make it less valid.

    Understood. I just have a problem with unsubstantiated claims. I just want specific instances and examples, so a two sided discussion can take place, instead of one side lobbing platitudes at the other.

    Anyone who thinks the web is or should be a comfortable safe place like their living room hasn’t been paying attention. (Edited to add: Anyone who thinks everyone even has a living room, or that everyone’s living room is comfortable and safe, hasn’t been paying attention either.)

    Many neighborhoods I’ve lived in weren’t comfortable or safe, but most of the time my house (and friends’ houses) were relatively safe. I view the Hub as a friend’s house. I guess you view it differently. Even at friends’ houses disagreements and arguments may happen. I just expect all my friends and acquaintances to “fight fair” when that happens.

    Communities aren’t about liking each other, they’re about bothering to do things for and/or with each other even if you don’t like them. Likewise advocacy involves sometimes gritting your teeth and doing things alongside people you don’t like, rather than sitting there grumbling about why you don’t like them (and by “don’t like” I’m talking personality conflicts here). Even if they’re grumbling pettily about you.

    I view this as similar to work situations. I often tell co-workers similar things when they have disagreements with other co-workers. It’s not like you have to go home with them or sleep with them. Just work towards common goals together. But we still do have rules of decorum at work, and as stated above, “fight fair”.

    Just because someone agrees with you on one issue doesn’t mean they have to agree with you on everything.

    Agreed.

    Nobody has a right to be comfortable, for certain values of ‘comfortable’ anyway. Your feelings being hurt shouldn’t determine large-scale political stuff.

    Again, I think this comes down to how one sees “The Hub”. I don’t see it as an organization. As a repository of disparate contributors writings, there will certainly be opposing philosophical and political viewpoints. But I think all will be more comfortable if those viewpoints are backed up with facts that can be checked and refuted. Tossing accusations doesn’t help anything move forward, IMO.

    Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t suddenly mean they’ve taken every single stance against you that is possible to take, it just means they’ve taken at least one stance that might conflict with some things you believe in.

    Never thought it did.

    Disagreement won’t tear apart a community. “You’re with us or against us” thinking will. Responding to disagreement in a Chicken Little sort of manner will. The sort of thinking that gives rise to “You’re with us or against us” and “The sky is falling” was in existence before the dissenter in question ever opened his mouth, and is a serious problem that needs to be worked on if you want your community to last. And the very existence, magnitude, and nature of the reaction he got, proves he had a point, and you don’t have to agree with him (or anyone else) 100% to notice that.

    Not to repeat myself too much, but I think it was the manner Larry’s posts came out (accusations without facts that could be argued) that sparked the outcry, not the accusations themselves.

    This sort of thing is too petty and stupid to make lasting enemies over (although some people sure seem to be trying, and it ain’t Larry who seems to be trying the hardest to make enemies here), and it’s why the autistic community doesn’t stand a chance until people move beyond petty personality conflicts and into shared principles.

    I agree with you. And since Larry feels so strongly (and I have followed him for so long), I hope that he can come back and put out the reasons why he feels the way he does. Give the specific examples. Have a spirited discussion. But not continue to throw out unsubstantiated accusations.

    Joe

  4. With regard to the ‘unsubstantiated’ thing, sometimes all you can get out is what the problem is. Sometimes you can’t give the solutions. Sometimes you can’t even go back and give the specific examples. And sometimes you shouldn’t be treated like you’re an awful person for doing that. I’ve been where Larry is in that regard, and it seems that a lot of people would have preferred me never to say anything at all rather than say what I could say, because what I could say was never enough for them. Sometimes a person is saying all they’re able to say, and the flak Larry is getting right now so closely resembles the flak I’ve gotten in similar situations in the past that I’m not going to hold it against him that he can’t lay out every single part of what he’s thinking at the moment. Especially not when I’m sitting here myself unable to say most of what I’m thinking.

    I’ve also known him longer than almost anyone on the Hub has. I know that when he says things, he can’t always provide full explanations. Any more than I can. But that there always is an explanation whether I agree with it or not in the end. And that it’s better to assume that he has some background to what he says, than to assume he’s just “lobbing accusations” with nothing backing them.

  5. I hate that I’m so behind in reading the posts from the Hub. This whole debacle is something I only found out about yesterday (well, this morning when I got home from babysitting).

    Infighting and politics are not something I am comfortable with, in any organization. (By politics I simply mean who gets to decide things in a group, officially or otherwise.)

    However, I’ve also done a lot of soul-searching on the ‘ally’ front, and been accused of having less-than-ideal reasons for being involved in advocacy. I check myself periodically still, to make sure I’m not in this for the wrong reasons.

    I understand people getting upset about things Larry says. I understand people taking offense at things autistic people say. It’s rarely a big problem for me, but I have the advantage of having corresponded online with autistic adults for several years. Many of the non-autistic people we’re talking about in this situation don’t have that. Or, at least, not in the same fashion I have. (Usenet is a very special place to learn about people.)

    I’m going to let this percolate, read a few more posts on the subject (maybe I’ll eventually get caught up), and then I will probably weigh in on the ally concept. It might be easier to hear it from someone who isn’t autistic.

  6. I don’t know anything about Larry or The Hub but when I read this post I immediately wanted to send it to everyone at MPOW.

    Thanks – and take care!

  7. Pingback: Debate and Controversy in the Deaf Community « ReunifyGally

  8. I’m not familiar enough with the current argument(s) in Autism Hub to comment directly. But much of what Amanda says here about handling debate generally I think has a lot of relevance to how minority communities (including the Deaf community) handle controversy of any type. So I’ve written a blog post entitled “Debate and Controversy in the Deaf Community” that was largely inspired by this one. I included some pull quotes from this one (I hope that was okay) but with a link back here.

  9. I’m still trying to catch up with what’s going on, but I wanted to comment on this:

    With regard to the ‘unsubstantiated’ thing, sometimes all you can get out is what the problem is. Sometimes you can’t give the solutions. Sometimes you can’t even go back and give the specific examples. And sometimes you shouldn’t be treated like you’re an awful person for doing that.

    I do that, too. It’s a matter of efficiency of brain resources. It’s hard to store events for very long, so I tend to process them, store the conclusions (which are in a much more natural format, and therefore take up less space), and forget the events (which involve all kinds of sensory input and tones-of-voice and things-happening-sequentially that’s hard to experience, much less store).

    That does lead pretty regularly to me acting on conclusions that I’ve come to, without being able to remember the events that led me to those conclusions in the first place. That generally works well from a functional standpoint – for example, I can connect two events that were separated by years, if the latter happens to trigger the thought process started by the former – but it does make it hard when I’m dealing with people who want to know why I’m doing a certain thing with more detail than “because experience shows that it works”.

  10. I also by the way saw attempts to substantiate things by pointing out comparisons to other communities and stuff, but doing so in a fairly vague manner.

    Then I saw those attempts at providing background for his ideas getting shot down as posturing and irrelevant before he could even begin to get into details.

  11. Its gone too far, when I have time I will blog more fully about this but as an outsider from the hub and I will not answer other peoples questions, why do I have to? This is not a hearing or a grand jury?

    I will excercise my freedom of speech in my way, and if people don’t like it, then don’t read it.

    What am I, a puppet who must dance to a particular tune all the time?

  12. I understand that Larry might have been able to get out his feelings about the subject, without being able to retrieve the specifics at the time, or being able to formulate possible solutions.

    And I fully realize that he’s very upset (it would be hard not to notice).

    And I’m willing to wait for further explanations and expounding on the subject.

    But having been the subject in the past of unfounded internet attacks on a listserve (not saying that anything Larry said is unfounded, but it has yet to be substantiated), I know how much that can hurt. So, yes, I don’t feel that anyone (autisitc or not) should be able to make accusations without providing concrete examples. I am willing to wait for them, but I am not willing to patronize Larry and hold him to a lower standard because he is autistic.

    Joe

  13. I notice that a lot of people think that certain kinds of discrimination are okay as long as they say it’d be patronizing not to. It seems to me like just a way of justifying not having to look at or do things differently, to oneself, while making it sound high-minded.

    I got the same crap when I said I’d read something somewhere, but couldn’t remember where. People demanded to know where I’d read it and when I couldn’t immediately produce a reply they said I was lying about having read it. When I talked about trouble with deliberate memory they accused me of seeking special treatment and told me it’d be patronizing to allow me to get away with not saying where I’d read this, even though I didn’t know. It was okay to accuse me of lying, though, and all kinds of other nasty stuff.

  14. For clarity’s sake: The memory thing is part of the disability. Expecting us to just… not work that way, or something… IS discrimination.

    A possible alternative, instead of demanding examples from the past, is to look for examples either in the here-and-now or in the future. If whatever Larry’s concern is is accurate (and I still haven’t had time to find/process it yet, so I have no idea) then whatever he’s said has happened will keep happening and we’ll be able to see it if we look. I think that’s a reasonable accomodation to make.

  15. So am I the only person who thinks that giving specifics in this case would be a bad idea? I think that what Larry was talking about is obvious. He used the unfortunate term “good parents,” and now people are wondering, “Am I one of the good parents? Or am I a bad parent? I want the details! What exactly did I say that makes me a bad parent?” It isn’t about that at all, as far as I can tell. I *think* Larry was saying that allies are great but not immune from criticism. Or something like that. Maybe.

  16. You have to remember how often many of us are accused of being bad parents. In public. On forums. To our faces. And we work very hard to be good parents to our children, and good members of our community.

    When I am asked for specifics, if I cannot remember them- which is more and more often due to my own issues- I go back and track them down. But then, I am trained to do that. I was an academic, once upon a time and a different life ago. I also know it is expected of those who would contruct logical arguments, but that is the bias of working for those who test for such skills.

    If its my livingroom/familyroom/comfy spot analogy that is being taken as offensive in the references here, my apologies for offending. I was just trying to get across how I personally experienced the Hub and the blogs and connections I was making through the Hub. I also wanted to communicate how I hoped other viewed my own contributions to the Hub, which is an attempt- a poor one, I’m afraid- to help others understand the experiences I am having , and hopefully offer information to other parents who may be at the headless chicken stage. I did not intend to imply it was the only way to experience the Hub, cyberspace, or anything else. You are welcome to construct your own sense of experience.

  17. A few different people used the living-room analogy, actually.

    As far as being called bad parents… that’s something that probably does contribute to the weird power relations.

    Dave Hingsburger wrote a book about power where he mentioned that front-line staff in institutions honestly view themselves as at the bottom of a power hierarchy, since they are generally at the bottom of the employee hierarchy. In doing so, they don’t realize how their power affects those beneath them (the inmates).

    In my old post The Meaning of Power I described this in terms of a rabbit. I quoted Cal Montgomery quoting Hingsburger (yeek lots of quoting), saying:

    “I don’t believe that most people realize,” he tells us, that “they have power,” that “they routinely abuse that power,” that “their behaviour is invisible only to themselves,” and that “their responsibility isn’t diminished because they ‘didn’t mean to’ ” (Power Tools, p. 4). That’s not merely a description of most “direct care” staff; it’s a description of most people.

    Similarly I think that parents in this community can become so used to being “under attack” from above, that they fail to tell the difference between someone attacking them from above and someone trying to crawl out from beneath them. (And yes the same thing can happen with autistic people. Who will sometimes deny to their last breath that they have, or are abusing, power over some other sort of people.)

  18. You have to remember how often many of us are accused of being bad parents. In public. On forums. To our faces. And we work very hard to be good parents to our children, and good members of our community.

    I know that I’m quite weird in this area, but my thought on that has always been that if you’re accused of something, and you’re not doing that thing, all the accusations in the world mean nothing. (This doesn’t preclude reacting to threats relating to false accusations, but in that case you’re reacting to the threat, not the accusation, and the accusation itself is still irrelevant outside the threatening situation. And you’re not being threatened here unless I’ve really missed something.)

    Also, to my eye, Larry’s definition of a bad parent wouldn’t encompas anyone on the Hub anyway.

    “…there are ‘good parents’ who agree with that [proper recognition and a place in society] and want it as an aim for there as yet young children”

    The idea of autistics having the right to recognition as worthwhile people with a place in socety is core to the Hub as far as I know. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    When I am asked for specifics, if I cannot remember them- which is more and more often due to my own issues- I go back and track them down. But then, I am trained to do that. I was an academic, once upon a time and a different life ago. I also know it is expected of those who would contruct logical arguments, but that is the bias of working for those who test for such skills.

    Some people are able to do that. Some aren’t. Some are only able to do it some of the time. My explanation above was a simplification, and doesn’t really convey how, just, GONE the original dataset is once the conclusion is reached sometimes. Or how long it takes a lot of those patterns to come together. Or how some of the pieces that form the patterns that we see can’t even be expressed verbally sometimes because language wasn’t built with our cognitive styles in mind. Yes, it would be nice to have specifics. But just because they’re not, doesn’t mean that the issue at hand isn’t valid. And I’m not saying that it should automatically be assumed to be valid, either. I’m just saying that other validation techniques can and should be used.

  19. Larry,

    Your last post posted while I was composing mine, so didn’t see it before mine posted.

    Of course I can not make you answer any questions. And I have considered you anything but anyone’s puppet. My cyber impression of you, though, was that you were a stand up guy, and wouldn’t mind being challenged on things you said.

    I “dared” to post something about this because I thought the dialogue would be useful. Because I thought that it was patently unfair to post accusations without backing them up. I haven’t tried to imply that you are an awful person. I wouldn’t have read your blog over the past several months if I thought otherwise. But I do stand by my stance that to defame others without putting facts to it is unfair.

    I figured that by posting on this subject I ran a good chance of being villified as “just one more example of the problem”. Well, so be it.

    Joe

    p.s. Amanda, I still don’t see how submitters of posts to an online magazine change the power structure of a non existent organization. The Hub isn’t an organization or a movement.

  20. I’m not in the Hub, so I can’t comment on who’s right and who’s wrong and who’s living on an uncharted planet…

    I do want to say to Ballastexistenz, as a fellow asthmatic in flare: take care of yourself, we’ll all likely be here, and your words will remain valuable if you give your body a bit extra of whatever it needs (sleep, rest, time recovering on neb etc.) that you’re already giving it *before* writing. Like in this post, your point would have been equally valid this morning after you’d given your body any extra time in bed it might benefit from. It might have just been easier for you to deal with the task if your body was a little less stressed.

    Not being patronizing, since I “push” myself consciously or unconsciously frequently as well — I wouldn’t be in the condition I am otherwise. Just concerned that you are ultimately adding to your physical problems (asthma plus much more) in the long run. (I figure you likely know this already, but a reminder once in a while doesn’t hurt.)

  21. This is a shame. I’m neither autistic nor a parent of anyone autistic, but I’d love a good discussion of the role of parents in disability rights, the general role of “allies” (relatives, professionals, special educators) in disability rights and rights movements in general. I’d particularly like to see such a discussion where someone acknowledged that neurotypical parents had sometimes similar, frequently overlapping, but different interests from their autistic children (for instance, when it came to things like sexual decision-making, and parental authority to make decisions for their adult childre), and talk about how to deal with that.

    Instead, it’s all about deciding who’s being a jerk, reassuring parents that they’re not doing anything wrong, and accusing anyone who wants to question the role of parents of undermining the “real activism” (which of course has nothing to do with autistic adults being free to make decisions without a neurotypical Mommy and Daddy having to approve /sarcasm). A shame.

  22. Hope you’re breathing better. I ran across this website while goofing off at work looking at pictures of rabbits (I have two houserabbits who completely rule the roost).

    Thought it might be a nice morale-booster to see such a nice family, who at least publicly cherish and value their autistic son. Speaking of cute kids! Also they take good care of bunnies they foster, which you’ve mentioned in other posts is something you care about.

    http://www.mybunnies.com/family.htm

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