Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In which Anonymus Maximus talks about Identity and Words

Three things:

First: Autistic v. person with autism. Seems somewhat petty an issue to take a stand on, no?
Person first versus identity first language when talking about autistic people is really not important. It seems rather inconsequential, even. Except in all the ways it is important.

Part of the thing is that Autistic people are routinely denied self-determination. And like the Deaf and Blind communities, Autistics went with the idea that you cannot disentangle the person from the autism. See, everything I do is coloured by autism, because autism is pervasive, but not everything (nothing, really) I do is only autism.
And most of us don't care about how others identify. What does raise our hackles is when we get told by others how we are supposed to talk about ourselves. What others telling us to call ourselves mean is This person denies me my right to identify myself. It means This person denies my self-determination.
And this is why we tend to take a stand on it.
Not because it matters, but because it matters.

Secondly: A while back [Anonymus exchanged the awareness of time and scales and movement for the constant awareness of all textures.] there was a short, light hearted discussion among some autistics on tumblr - centering around "I wish more disability communities would do identity first language."  and I have things to say. Not very nice things.
I know that we have good reasons for identity first language. We have arguments, and essays and well thought out responses as to why identity first. We had a discussion and as a community came to the consensus of identity first.
Thing is, so do the communities who prefer person first. They have arguments and essays and well thought out responses. They had a discussion. And their consensus was person first.
And we want our choice of identity first to be respected. We want our self-determination to be respected. We want our self-identification to be upheld.
So do they.
So lets not talk about hypothetical ways in which it would be better for other communities to change how they identify. Instead, lets respect their choice, and keep telling others to respect ours.

Lastly: A lot of "correct" ways to talk about disability is using a language that minimizes non-disabled peoples discomfort. And then I spend a lot of time laughing so that I won't cry.
Who on god's green earth thought it was a good idea to name the self-advocacy curriculum in the special ed. programme:
Difability and Life


I challenge you to attempt to say this out loud and NOT sound as if you are mocking someone with a lisp.