On Diversity, Equality and Stereotypes

© Donna Williams

If there's one thing that really worries me, its bigotry.

I will speak out against it in what ever form I find it.

So please forgive my rant, but having received letters from people who are similarly nervous about such things, and honoured by their trust, and hearing their voices and that, unlike those of us in positions of 'spokespeople', they are largely unheard, here I speak for myself and hopefully open our minds to those like them too.

Nobody should create an image or stereotype of Autism based on their own image and status is no right to do so.

I have never seen myself as a case of 'pure autism' and worked with hundreds of people on the autistic spectrum in my capacity over 8 years as a consultant in the field of autism I can say I found such diversity as to be certain there is no such 'pure' thing.

We are a wonderfully diverse group, we contain some wonderfully talented human beings who are not scientists, engineers, techies and don't even have that orientation! We have some wonderfully moving PEOPLE on the spectrum who are contributing to society just by allowing us to know them and move in their world and we don't need a planet that only worships intellect for we would lose all sight of emotional depth. I will never be an Einstein but given he is equally well known for the vibrant, social, womanizing, rounded human being that he was, I recognize that a percentage of non-autistic people do speak late, do slack off in early education and can have the conscientious-obsessive compulsive personality trait to a degree they may become great in a given scientific field and I struggle to label him any more autistic or stake a claim to him as representative of me. I don't need to be that superior. I'm quite happy among the extraordinary subtleties and extremes of so called ordinary people in whatever form they be. I know that non-auties come in fascinating differences and are not at all 'one type' (it would be narrow and bigoted to assume they, or any group are).

For those of you who would like to view a different viewpoint, here's a recent on-line interview of Temple Grandin so you can hear her own words, by contrast and decide what you believe in.

WrongPlanet.net Interview with Temple Grandin

Equality has nothing to do with superiority and reverse prejudice leaves only a bitter taste in the mouths of the victors.

Promoting equality in difference and diversity, is what I believe in and I'll strive for the opportunity to do that, wherever I find it.

Any derogatory or dismissive stance relating to non-autistic people as a group is no less a form of prejudice as any in history.

To use the word 'neurotypical' as a derogatory slant to mean 'mundane', 'mediocre' or 'expendable' insults real whole, diverse human beings in a world I am a human being within and, hence, it offends me, it offers me no safety upon some pillar of superiority, I feel safe only in a world that promotes FULL recognition of equality in difference- FOR ALL.

I will not join a march nor build my 'pride' (autistic or otherwise) upon disregarding the worth, achievements and equality of others, whoever they are and regardless of any harm I've received by any human beings I might see in terms of their 'group', for the individual is not ALL people in any group.

More than an autie, I'm a human being and more than feeling safe in a separatist clique, I would feel very unsafe in a world which divides us by label, whether it does so to raise us in superior fashion above others or not.