Eater of Trees

Posts Tagged ‘autism

It’s not ableist to acknowledge that people have varying ability levels.  I mean obviously come on that’s like, one of the most basic points of disability theory.

Intelligence is ableist because it isn’t actually a thing.  It’s a bunch of things, and often they aren’t correlated at all (See for example specific learning disabilities; like I’m completely unable to remember things in the short term and get distracted all the time and forget what I was doing but as soon as something is in my long term memory it is staying there forever.)

Like the best way to put it seems to be to realize it’s not really one specific thing.  It’s not even that there’s lots of ways to be intelligent—which there are—it’s that if you talk about intelligence we have no way of knowing if we’re talking about being able to remember facts, being good at processing numbers, having a wide knowledge base (like knowing twenty five languages, for example), or even readily using wikipedia so you’ll have answers to other people’s questions.

It is probably worth breaking the idea down into its component parts here, because really my ability to grasp complex concepts quickly and my tendency to become completely lost if a person uses weird organization or is at all poetic are very different things, and they’d both be considered intelligence or lack thereof.  Plus, the way people talk about it now it doesn’t even really mean anything because it’s super vague and, well, a ton of unrelated things.

The other reason it’s ableist is because people without intelligence, or specific facits thereof, are treated like shit and get their autonomy denied them and generally are abused and unaccommodated so they can’t use the abilities they do have (like, I learn really fast and have a ridiculously good memory but then I have no ability to focus and can’t read books very well, so I failed out of college.  Even though basically intellectual things are basically what I’m best at, and actually because of my other disabilities are practically all I can do)

It should also be noted that it’s not “intelligence” that’s privileged; it’s a bit more complex then intelligence is privileged and lack of it is disprivileged.  In my experience it’s really productivity that’s privileged; I mean i got forced into segregated special ed classes and generally had no material ever that was remotely appropriate to my ability level (either because it was completely impossible for me to do—I completely left the essay portion of the SAT I took blank—or because it was stuff I’d learned years ago and they didn’t know anything better to do then teach it to me six times in a row), but I was generally regarded as “intelligent”.

Certainly there’s privilege in there, including my access to an education and resources and not being completely written off as uneducatable for any of various reasons.  But in my experience, testing at the ceiling of IQ tests mostly resulted in everyone insisting I needed to be perfect at everything, and punishing me when I was merely above average.  That’s… not privilege.

(But insulting people for lack of intelligence? That’s ridiculously ableist; like there’s no way it could be interpreted as not.  So seriously stop using words like “stupid” to attack people)

[Trigger warning: autism related self-injury]

…you know, with my “Actually guys if I want to peel off my epidermis or bite myself or stab myself with needles or bang my head on things, maybe you can let me decide for myself whether I can cope with the pain, okay?”

Yep. I’m the person who actually wants society to enable their weird behaviors and isn’t going to let allistic supremacy get in the way of my self-determination.

And it occurs to me that society has this habit of treating pain like it’s a nuisance and needs to be overcome when it comes to, for example, exercise (“No pain, no gain!”) or other things it has deemed beneficial, or will readily tell you that you need to be strong and magically get over your unpleasant reactions to things when said pain is coming from things that society doesn’t think should be painful.

I’ve been told to stop peeling scabs off my wrists, which, while physically painful, isn’t particularly an unpleasant feeling to me and generally makes me feel better, but when I point out that talking on phones can give me panic attacks just thinking about it and that I can walk to places I need to call and speak to people in person and there’ll be less sobbing in a ball on the floor, and I’m told Avoiding Things Is Bad.

It’s almost like society doesn’t really care about whether you’re hurting yourself and really just wants you to not look neurodivergent.

[End warning]

And related, I really want to start using “enabled” as a way to talk about people who aren’t disabled, especially wrt psychology.  Because the way enabling gets used in psychology to be like “We can’t accomidate your behavior! That would be ENABLING you to act neurodivergent!” (Because the goal is always to be Normal like the rest of the world) seems like… I just want to snark YES I KNOW THAT WOULD BE ENABLING MY BEHAVIOR THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!

Like, when you drive to a grocery store to buy chicken, the fact that there’s roads is enabling your choice to get around by driving and the fact that you can just buy it there is enabling your choice to not be a farmer.  But nobody ever calls those things enabling because they’re normativized. In fact, if you did choose to farm your own chickens in the city people would probably look at you weird.  They definitely often don’t seem to understand a preference for walking places because you can’t (and may or may not be able to) drive.

See, walking to a doctor’s office instead of calling them is dismissed as enabling your phone-phobia rather than “Yeah, that’s a really good idea, it also would get you excercise and that tends to help with depression too!”  That’s a problem.

(crossposted on tumblr)

So anyway, Cabbage was just applying for a job and one of the steps prior to getting an interview was like… fill out this questionaire where you say you’re extroverted and organized and have no disabilities.

I maaaay have taken down the problematic questions.  (There were about fifty questions total, problematic and un-.  About half were problematic in some way or another.)

Anyway it came out with ten questions that were blatantly discriminatory against people with autism, most of which would also be discriminatory against introverts or people with other social issues (because they related to liking being around people or knowing how to deal with people.)

Four of them were things like “I’m organized!” which would be incredibly discriminatory against people with ADHD—after all, organizing things as a job and keeping your house clean are so totally the same skillset. (sarcasm)

Five were discriminatory against people with mental health issues (“I’m calm when I’m stressed” = “I have no anxiety disorders” or “I’m cheerful all the time” = “Depression? Nope don’t have that”)

(Though I mean, you could maybe make a case that those can effect your ability to preform a job, because they certainly have for me; but there’s still like… a certain threshhold where your issues won’t be that disruptive but are still there.  Also? HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE IF YOU’RE TOO ANXIOUS TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE MOST DAYS?)

Also they asked about grades in school, which, I mean, doesn’t really seem like it would necessarily have much effect on the ability to do the job if they weren’t good, and often, you know, they can suck because disabilities with no or minimal accomidation.

SO: I am rather creeped out and certainly do not feel like this company is remotely as “equal opportunity” as they’re pretending.

And speaking of creeped out, here’s the creepiest questions: (They were “agree or disagree” type questions, for the record, so they’re in the form of second person statements)

“Any trouble you have is your own fault” = WOOO VICTIM BLAMING! Also: When we act like exploitative shits, or possibly when someone else in the company is an oppressive asshole, will you make trouble? We don’t want people to challenge the status quo here.

“People are often mean to you” = YEP BECAUSE THAT’S DEFINITELY SOMETHING YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER. (I have honestly no idea which answer they’d prefer; probably “disagree” on the grounds of they don’t want, you know, oppressed or marginalized people who’ll be angry at them :\ Regardless though it’s incredibly creepy.)

“When someone treats you badly you ignore it” = YOU MUST SUBMIT TO ALL OPPRESSION!

“You don’t care if people offend you” = DITTO! (I mean, “offend” is often used as code for “abuse and/or oppress and/or hurt” in popular culture.  Personally I don’t actually give much of a shit about offense.  But usually “offense” isn’t just that.)

And finally: “Your friends and family approve of the things you do.” = Approval from people who may have mistreated you for years or generally treat you poorly and who you don’t particularly have much say of whether they’re in your life of not? THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. (obviously this is mostly a problem for people with shitty families, but considering, you know, 40% of trans people have been disowned…*)

Also the whole thing ended with “Are you a woman?” and “Are you hispanic/Latino” which had an “I would prefer not to answer” option, but also is like… they’re going to look at Cabbage’s legal name and probably just assume both of those.  So like… not entirely confident that discrimination there would be avoidable. :\

Cabbage adds:

I really, really, really, really, hate online job applications because they are so completely discriminatory and so common. Every single online application I’ve taken has been exactly like this. You really have to basically be extroverted, normative, able, well organized, and have a perfectly normative past in order to look good on these applications. I hate having to lie because I’m really bad at it but I know if I don’t bullshit my ass off there’s no way I’m going to get an interview even though I know I’m an excellent employee. How is this equal opportunity if I can’t even get an interview because, despite my qualifications, I don’t fit the unattainable mold they expect their ‘preferred’ employees to fit in?

*EDIT: Double checking the statistics it’s ~50% experience some of of rejection; 40% for family refusing to speak with them. (according to the NTDS results)

(Crossposted from tumblr)

(Of psychiatric issues, that is)

It’s like…

By opposing self diagnosis you are telling people that they cannot understand themselves without outside help.  You’re opposing self-determination.  Like… How the fuck do any activist type people think that’s remotely okay?

And that’s not even getting into how fucked up psychiatric institutions can be.  I cringe every time I see people being like “YOU NEED TO SEE A PSYCHIATRIST BECAUSE YOU’RE WEIRD!”

Just because like… given my experiences that seems like it’s telling people to go subject themselves to abuse.

It also seems like it’s an attempt to stop people with brains outside the norm from forming communities.  Like: “Oh you shouldn’t associate with that community even though you have a LOT in common with them because you’re not really one of them”  Ooo ooo also: “Self diagnosis never helps anyone” because apparently being able to know that there are other people like you and that you can talk to them about how to cope with this stuff is unhelpful. YOU KNOW.

It’s creepy as fuck.  Like creepy in the same way demanding trans people have gatekeepery therapists and then insisting that they assimilate post-transition is creepy.  Because it’s pretty much exactly the same thing.  “Pass yourself off as exactly like everyone else because otherwise PRIVILEGED PEOPLE MIGHT BE UNCOMFORTABLE!  And for the love of god don’t form communities that would mean you might be able to discover that we have no fucking clue what we’re talking about and we’re systematically treating you like shit!”

…yeah.

And additional WordPress bonus commentary:

  • Self-diagnosis is not the same as self-medication; the latter actually is dangerous.  The former is not particularly.  Many psychiatric issues are not mental illness (say, autism) and there isn’t really any obvious way to medicate and “cure” is of questionable desirability.
  • Doctors are not infallible.  Psychiatric institutions are often seriously fucked up and coercive and dehumanizing.  Insisting that they aren’t all is derailing.  And insisting that there is danger in self misdiagnosis while ignoring the rather significant danger in professional misdiagnosis is really fucked up.
  • There is a huge difference between informed self-diagnosis and hypochondria (“Oh no I’m occasionally energetic I must have bipolar!”) or appropriation (“I put a lot of effort into sorting my music lol I’m so OCD”) and the best response to either of those is not to tell a person they can’t possibly have the condition in question, but to educate them on what the conditions actually are; as, for example, I do put a lot of  effort into organizing my music and this is a manifestation of my OCD, but it is hardly the only symptom, and the “can’t wash dishes without panic attacks” and “looking at raw meat can make me gag” symptoms are the ones that really disrupt my life.
  • In the US at least, professional diagnosis can be extremely expensive and in rural locations there may not be any nearby resources to provide it.  Going to a doctor actually requires a lot of privilege here.
  • Biases and stereotypes significantly effect who gets diagnosed with what.  Autism is significantly underdiagnosed in women, for example.  And because my depression was less dramatic than my brother’s, nobody noticed it until I was failing out of college.