The View From My Brain
Autistics vs. Non-autistics (aka “allistics”)


I just wanted to say that I’m tired of this constant fighting between autistics and non-autistics. Why can’t we just get along and have respectful discussions from both parties?

Because a lot of people don’t give a shit whether we live or die, much less give us respect and thus many of us don’t feel terribly inclined to respect them in return I’d say is pretty much why.

Besides, the whole “why can’t we all just get along…?” yeah that’s what my boss said to me when a male coworker of mine had just poured his nazist sexist dungheap of an ideology onto me by putting me down because I’m a woman.

Don’t ask the people at the bottom of the heap why we can’t get along. Order the ones on top to get off of us. And then maybe we’ll see how great friends we can find it in our hearts to be to people who’d rather kick us while we’re down. Maybe. Unless we have more fun things to do. Like clean our drain pipes or the cat’s litter box.

I hate it when my fellow autistics discount the feelings and experiences of non-autistic people with autism. Yes, there are some asshole non-autistic people, but telling a non-autistic person that their frustration with their autistic family member/friend is wrong, doesn’t make you any better of a person.

You seem to have misread people’s intentions. They aren’t doing these things to be better people. They’re trying to get it through the non-autistics’ skulls that in order for *them* to be better people they should stop seeing their autistics relatives as burdens, curses, sub-humans, and what-have-you. Just because an allistic person does not ping as an asshole on your radar does not mean someone else cannot correctly have identified them as one. Of course you could also be right about them not being an asshole, but what are *you* losing from someone else being an asshole to someone who isn’t you? Nothing. The thing is, most of us do acknowledge the feelings and experiences of allistics, just not when it comes to actually having autism. And most of us will also be cool with allistics going “Phew, it’s tough to help [autistic relative]” but we will not accept them going “Phew, [autistic relative] is a fucking pain, because they make my life awful.” There’s a difference there and it’s important. Context matters.

You are alienating a person who can, through respectful discussion, become an ally with the autistic community.

That is by no means certain. If that person is a potential ally of the really good kind, they will figure out that one or two autistic people lashing out at them because of horrid experiences is not a reason for them to not support our fight for rights. In fact, if the actions of a few angry people can make an ally stop being an ally - or never become one in the first place, then they’re a pretty worthless and insincere ally anyway.

Autistic people, sadly, don’t get enough respect for our experiences.

Truth! Yes, this!

Most people don’t actually listen to us, but when a non-autistic person joins us and speaks WITH us, our case becomes more valid.

I’m not actually sure how you believe our case becomes more valid through this. More valid in the eyes of the allistics, maybe, but that’s exactly the kind of validation that’s poisonous and counter-productive to actual progress.

The goal is to make allistics realise that our case is valid on its own, whether or not an allistic has OK’ed it. Just like women can have good points without the blessing of a man.

Additionally, don’t confuse an allistic speaking with us with an allistic speaking at us and only pretending to listen. I see a lot of the latter. Much too much, in fact.

Yes. I know it sucks that we can’t instantly get respect for our experiences and that we need non-autistic to validate our experiences, but this is our life. 

It sucks indeed. The thing is. We don’t need allistics to validate our experiences, we need them to accept them. They cannot validate our existences, because we already have value. We exist and experience the world, whether or not allistics want to acknowledge that. This is our life, indeed, and we should not clamour for the validation of allistics, we have value, whether or not they agree with us.

We HAVE to change our tactics of getting respect.

No. Like I said in an earlier post, no one ever got rights by calmly begging for them from people who’d rather ignore us. We have to be loud, we have to be obvious, otherwise we’ll be too easy to ignore.

Attacking a non-autistic person hurts our cause.

Depends on what you mean by attacking and why it is happening. I reserve the right to call a bigot a bigot, and if that’s an attack, then I also reserve the right to attack people for being bigots.

We need to approach people and gently and respectfully explain to them the error of their ways. 

I kinda love the naïve optimism here. But no. I have tried this. Being gentle and respectful only ever made it easier for people to ignore me. It made it easier for them to convince themselves that I was just being silly, and that I could totally just get my act together and not be triggered/over-loaded. After all, I was so composed when talking about my difficulties, surely my difficulties weren’t really difficulties. Oh and my personal favourite as a response to my explanation of my needs: “Well, we’re all a little weird sometimes.” Yeah, except I’m a lot weird all the time, and you people are asking me to stop being weird, which I can’t. It’s not helping.

People seriously do not believe that my disability even exists (despite their multiple complaints about my weirdness) until they’ve stubbornly refused my requests to not be touched (or similar) so many times that it has sent me into a screaming crying meltdown. And these were people with benevolent intentions, I might add.

When agreeing to be gentle and polite when putting knowledge to the allistics I have to also be willing to put my health on the line for as long as they please, until they have seen the very literal damage they can do to me and thus acknowledge it as real. I do not owe anyone gentleness. And I definitely do not owe anyone my health. And these days my health = my future, because without my health I won’t get through my studies and without those and the job they should lead to, I won’t ever be able to take care of myself in any significant way. I do not owe any allistic person, however well-intentioned, my very future.

If you feel you need to approach allistic people in a specific set of ways, that’s great, you do whatever works for you. But don’t do like they do and discount the experiences of other autistics, who have tried this and seen it fail with much greater damage to us than the short, sharp and dismissive method.

You do what works for you (and I’ll repeat that as many times as necessary :-p). Hopefully you’ll run into allistics who are receptive to your method. But don’t presume to know what all of us need to do in order to make things work, because frankly: if you think your method has not been tried ever before, and if you think being nice to people will erase their bigotry, then you’ll find yourself waking up to a harsh reality one of these days.

I once thought like you do. If only I patiently explained everything, then everyone would be cool with it and all would be fine.

I can’t even begin to explain how often that openness and willingness to explain was not just dismissed but outright ridiculed and used as yet another argument why I was just too weird to be human, and too strange to hire. Not to mention used and abused for my helpfulness and willingness to put others before myself.

After so many years of that, I cannot do it anymore. And if you think I need to do it again, then you need to ask yourself whose need this is. Because it sure isn’t mine. I need to never lay myself open before them again, I need to never allow myself to be portrayed as vulnerable because of my oddities ever again, despite the fact that they do make me very vulnerable in certain circumstances. And I don’t need anyone to be nice on my behalf either. What I need is for allistics to stop thinking they are the paragon of the human phenotype.

I also hate this autistic vs. autistic fighting. Everyone’s feelings and experiences with their autism is valid and should be respected. 

This simply confused me… you don’t want us to disagree but you want everybody’s views and opinions to be out there openly how will that work? And why would you want us all to be a monolithic unified force? I thought the whole point of our cause was to make allistics realise that we’re actual persons with individual personalities. Room for individuality means there’ll be fighting over disagreements. Inevitably. Allistics do it all the time, too.

I will admit that sometimes I’m not very civil so I’m at fault too, but I’m trying to work on that.

We all have faults. You don’t owe it to anyone to be a perfect angel. Having emotions is A-OK :-) even if they’re negative. Goodness, gracious! You’re human. Being angry is part of the human range of emotions and you’re allowed to have them and show them and stuff. It’s cool! If people piss you off, you’re under no obligation to hide that fact. Really! Don’t strain yourself towards an impossibly high standard. It’s okay to be angry - I mean, shit, I had to tell my mum that, when my father left her for another woman. She literally thought it wasn’t okay for her to be angry! Like hell! If she felt like being angry as hell, than THAT IS OKAY!!! And it is for you, too :-)

I’m sleep deprived right now so I don’t know how articulate this sounds, but I just had to get this out. 

That’s fair enough.

I’ve given my reasons for disagreeing with you (and there was that point where I was just plain confused). I hope I haven’t been too blunt. If so, I’m sorry. A lot of people (allistics) have given me a lot of grief, as you can see, so I’m simply not as optimistic as you seem to be. And I really do mean that I kind of envy you that optimism :-)