“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.” — Arundhati Roy
That quote is atop Lydia Brown’s blog, Autistic Hoya.
It is, in a nutshell, why I do what I do, and in particular, why I feel compelled not only to seek out autistic voices, not only to listen to and learn from their perspectives, but to ensure that others hear them as well.
I have a platform here at Diary. One that I stumbled into over time, but one that now presents an undeniable opportunity. An opportunity that comes, as all opportunities do, with responsibility. And it’s a responsibility that I take to heart.
Because I’ve seen what the silencing of autistic voices does.
I’ve seen the effects of telling those who struggle to communicate to stop talking.
As a devoted fan of irony, I’d take a moment to bask in that sentence were it not so horrific.
I’ve seen what happens when we make laws and create movements and fight to influence public opinion without consulting the people for whom we are making, creating and fighting.
I’ve seen what happens when we become so entrenched in our own ideology that we simply refuse to allow anyone in who isn’t part of our own personal sycophantic chorus.
I’ve seen what it does when we pervert the language of the disability rights movement into fodder for inside jokes at the expense of the people we say we are fighting for.
I’ve seen the effects build over time until people — real, live, beautiful, strong people — finally break.
And I can’t unsee.
“When you know better, you do better,” said Maya Angelou.
Eight years into this journey, I know better.
So I am now accountable to do better.
For my daughter, and the adult that she will grow to be, I’m trying.
In the sidebar, you will find links to all of the following, listed under Vital Perspective from Autistic Adults. I urge you to visit them. Get to know them. Hear what they have to say.
Autism and Empathy
Autism Women’s Network
Bec at Snagglebox
Illusion of Competence
Kate – Aspie from Maine
No Stereotypes Here
Tiny Grace Notes (Ask an Autistic)
Yes, That Too