“What is wrong with our community?”

That’s a question I’ve just been asked. I gave a short answer, which I was then told was a “cop out”. I have no idea what that person meant by that, as I had thought I was just making a statement of fact, so I’m going to attempt to give a more thorough answer. And I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s a “cop out” or not.

By “our” community, I’m assuming the person meant the autistic community. And by “what’s wrong with” I’m guessing they meant the in-fighting that goes on in it.

I’m not going to deny that there’s in-fighting. There are differences of opinion, arguments, personality clashes. There is also some actual bullying, which I intend to address in a later post. Most of these clashes are to do with language use and choice of words. And they’re not exactly trivial because words matter. People often have entrenched views and burrow into defensive positions when called out on their words.

I don’t actually think there’s anything “wrong” with that. It’s unfortunate, yes, but it’s also perfectly natural. It’s what humans do. And autistic people are humans. I don’t think there’s anything unique about us in that regard.

I think maybe the problem might be in thinking that there’s such a thing as “our” community. There isn’t. I’ve observed that any group that consists of more than about fifty people eventually breaks into splinter groups. It’s happened in every single community I’ve been in. No matter the neurotype. It’s just a simple fact. We will never be one giant united community. And I’m ok with that.

I don’t need everyone to agree with me. I don’t need everyone to get along with me. I don’t need us all to hold hands and sing kumbaya. I’m a realist and realise that’s never going to happen. I’m not about to make a moral judgment as to whether it’s right or wrong that we can’t all just get along. I just accept it as part of the human condition and further proof that autistic people are very much human.

2 comments

    • Yeah that’s an annual one! I was asked to be on a panel discussing that very topic at a conference this year but I declined. I’ve never spoken on a panel and it could go one of two ways – is either freeze and not say a word, or I’d dominate and not let anyone else speak! Especially as I’ve very complicated thoughts on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

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