When You’re Black and Autistic

Hate to start the week with a bummer, so first:

Because I forgot to take a picture of me in my red tights – twice – I decided to make my banner rock Red for Acceptance all month long.  Yay!

Okay, stop. Bummer Time.

I’ve written about my fears around being black with a mental illness and being terrified about police abuse before. But in most cases, I am able to communicate, either with my words, or with my phone.  And the thought of pulling out my phone in front of a cops just terrifies me so much that it’s one of the reasons why I don’t leave the house much.  Hell, I’ve make it clear to local friends that if I’m ever in crisis mode, DO NOT CALL THE POLICE. If I’m dying, I’ll be the one to take myself out.

Then I imagine not being able to speak.  Not being able to understand why these people with guns are yelling at me, grabbing me, hurting me. Having my routine interrupted by being thrown into a concrete box for years.

Or why I’ve been shot. Why am I dying?

It’s no surprise that black people aren’t treated very well in our society. We have less wealth, thanks to fucked up laws and redlining that kept our foreparents from investing in homes. Schools in our neighborhoods tend to be even more underfunded. And, as I’ve experienced, you get some real bullshit when you seek medical care.

With that in mind, guess how much later our children are screened and diagnosed with autism? By two years (CN: one of the links below the article goes to that piece of shit Autism Speaks, but the article itself seems solid). Two years that could have gone into early detection and beginning treatment. Two years of not getting a solid answer.

Two years doesn’t seem like much, but for any neurodivergent condition, it could really make a difference.

Also, we’re just not as well informed about what autism is, and how it’s just a difference in how the brain works. Not to mention the usual barriers for care. The number of sites I’ve looked up that still suggest crappy ABA as a treatment to try to make their kids be “normal” was saddening. I fear that the criticisms will reach our community late, subjecting too many children to ABA. Others have moved on to Autism Acceptance; we’re still working on Awareness.

*sigh* I told you this was a bummer.  No funny ending here folks.  Just, fuck this society that doesn’t value our lives at all, least of all the disabled.


When You’re Black and Autistic