Saturday, September 7, 2013

An Anonymous Newtown Autistic: Blaming the Victim: An Autism Parent Story

Reprinted from An Anonymous Newtown Autistic with permission.

What do we call it when the family members of a group of people denied needed services by the state uphold the right of other family members to react in violent ways toward those people who have been denied necessary services?

Blaming the victim.

Reactions to the recent case in which Kelli Stapleton, who had long blogged about her difficulties raising her daughter, attempted to kill herself and her daughter through carbon monoxide poisoning have entirely confused the matter of who is the victim and who is the oppressor.

My fellow autistic activists, among them, Kassiane at the Neurodivergent K blog, Alyssa at Yes, That Too and Michael at Shaping Clay have brought this issue to light with great clarity, but I wish to add my voice to the cascade of other voices calling for justice.

Parents who are unsupported by the state are not the most major victims of ableism. It is their kids who are the victims.

We witness a national situation comparable to what it would be like if white racists began having black babies that spoke African languages. Many of these parents have children who are different from them, different in a multiplicity of ways which are not accounted for by dominant institutions.

Yet the parents have the nerve to claim that they are the one's being oppressed. Nay, they are one link on the chain higher than those facing true oppression.

Cultural competency, access, accommodations, patience and understanding---these things cannot be forced on anyone. Many do not naturally adopt these principals.

And so when someone who lives according to different cultural rules and customs is present in the lives of many people, the reaction is to blame the linguistic cultural minority group and not for the person privileged by their fluency in the dominant tone to engage in self-questioning.

When parents claim to understand the killing of autistic children, they are moving backwards in terms of cultural competency. Such parents are failing to recognize that the ultimate person effected by terrible state services is not the parent, but is the student trying to learn.

I have long been silent on these issues because I find them to be horrific, but we cannot mince words when injustice repeats itself.

Several, Kerima Cevik among them, have linked the killing of Alex Spourdalakis and the failure to convict his mother on full murder charges to the occurrence of this most recent attempted murder of Issy Stapleton.

The link is real. As hate crimes occur and no one is held accountable, they become justified, they become culturally legible.

We cannot allow these senseless murders to keep happening; autistic people are being actively dehumanized and blamed for their difficulties in assimilating.

The government is involved in not contacting present braintrusts on autistic needs and developing a plan to better help our needs to be met in the parenting, educational and professional worlds. Parents are involved to the extent that some of them argue and push for the assimilation of their children instead of trying to gain a better understanding their children's way of behaving.

The victim of an inaccessible system are not the parents, the difficulty non-diagnosed, established parents face is a symptom of the much worse oppression faced by autistic people.

Until we come to grips with who is truly being oppressed, the violence, the lock-outs, the inner-violence of quiet hands style assimilation will continue.

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