O is for Outrage

by Amanda Burkhart from [introspection intensifies]


[CN: filicide]

When I googled “autism and outrage,” just for laughs, the immediate results were almost all of the same theme:  Some celebrity said something horrible / misinformed about autism, and this caused outrage.  The most popular results have our outrage mentioned like it’s merely a thing that appears every so often in response to something else!

Far too many of us are intimately familiar with outrage as a near-constant state of being.  That’s not a criticism of our anger but rather the system that perpetuates it, one in which people get too comfortable in their “awareness” and feel that working towards acceptance is too lofty a goal, or they simply can’t be bothered, or they outright refuse because of where the demand for it is coming from.

It’s tragic.  (Outrage.)  We’re not really autistic.  (Outrage.)  Well, if we are autistic, we should listen to not-autistic “experts” on what is best for us!  (Outrage!)  Wanting to be considered human, deserving of respect and autonomy is asking for too much!  (Outrage!)  Expecting laws to be upheld that were put in place for us is unreasonable.  (Fucking yes, outrage.)

Neurotypical parents and caregivers of autistic children often turn all of these false statements towards their children, except for the “not really autistic” bit because having a damaged kid wins sympathy points with your pals.  Organizations claiming to “help people whose lives are affected by autism” barely give lip service to actual autistics, instead existing largely as support systems for martyr-parents, flocking to the side of those who kill their autistic family members.  Seeing this adds to our outrage, and primes kids to grow up with the same outrage bestowed upon us in our youth.  If you’re an autistic parent of an autistic kid, you get the dubious distinction of having all that outrage layered inside you like a tasty toxic parfait.

I have no use for fence-sitters who say that “both sides are angry.”  Outrage in the autistic community is, largely, caused by the unwillingness of those outside the community to listen when we say, “This is what needs to happen!”  Some even scoff when we cry, “Stop killing us!  Stop torturing us!  Stop abusing us!”  Always will my finger point outward, and I’ll gladly say the onus is on YOU.

As I said, googling “autism and outrage” resulted mostly in articles over outrage in the autistic community.  One result was different, coming from (of course) a warrior-mommy-blogger who scoffed at outrage over inspiration porn.  “Is that even a thing?”  she asked.  “Sorry, I don’t sit at that table.”

You don’t fucking want to.  Neither, I add with my own outrage seething, do I.  Step away from your keyboard and unfounded “righteous” indignation and put more energy towards acceptance, and maybe one day neither of us will have to.

This is part of a series of posts addressing themes from the neurodiversity movement and paradigm which will be published during the course of April 2016. To read the rest of the posts, please click here.