We are not equal

Not everyone has the same experience with autism.

I’m sure the person who made this comment to me thought it needed to be said, but this is actually quite the cliche by now. And like most cliches, it’s both partly true and largely misleading. At the most basic level, no two people have the same experience with autism, or with any other matter: each human lived experience is unique. Likewise, each human lived experience is equally valid—who, after all, can say that another human’s experience is objectively right or wrong?

Well, I can. Because we are not equal. Your experience of me and my experience of myself are not two equally valid differing perspectives worthy of equal weight. The “autism experience” of a non-autistic person does not, cannot, hold the same weight as that of an autistic person. “Not everyone has the same experience!” you say as you flit about trampling over the direct, firsthand life experiences of those you treat so condescendingly. This is the sort of arrogance that makes the “autism community” so insufferable. My life is not a democracy. My lived experiences are not subject to popular vote. You and I do not get equal say in what I am. We are not the same. We are not equal.

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5 Responses to We are not equal

  1. John "Hai" Knapp says:

    I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism. When the economy was in decent shape I could actually hold good jobs that had the health insurance benefits. When the economy tanked my job and insurance got taken away from me. Trying to compete with my neurotypical counterparts for a halfway decent job having the health insurance package is a nightmare. I’ve had to take what I can get jobs, (as in minimum wage). Aspies don’t need health insurance any less; neither does anybody that lost their jobs when the economy tanked. I sure haven’t seen a democracy; other people still get to take having good health insurance for granted. Other people still swear “we have the world’s best healthcare.” (We actually don’t have the world’s best care; we are 37th.).

    Besides having AS I am a folk musician/singer/songwriter, wrote 4 songs in the autism awareness theme. Here is one of my songs in an MP3 format, http://kyleknapp.com/jwknapp/A Colorful Group of People.mp3 . I also wrote songs voicing concerns over the heatlhcare crisis. Those not able to obtain health insurance benefit through job or buy with their earnings are not equal those who have the right job with great benefit.

    I like the words of Larry Norman in his “Great American Novel” ‘You say all men are equal, all men are brothers, than why are the rich much more equal than others? Don’t ask me for the answers I only have one, that a man leaves his darkness when he follows the sun.”

  2. Chris says:

    “My life is not a democracy. My lived experiences are not subject to popular vote. You and I do not get equal say in what I am. We are not the same. We are not equal.”

    Gee… What a self-centered, existentialist approach… Almost smells like Rayndian Objectivism.

    I am an Aspie. My world is a constant blur of people disliking me before I realized we had officially “met” and of cruel, soulless betrayals by people I thought were Family. I have had many jobs, but nothing even approaching a stable career.

    My world is also a dizzying snow-globe of sudden romances, winding up at the beach on a day I thought I was going to be doing yard work, frozen margueritas and of watching “normal” people try their DAMNDEST to rise up and be BETTER than just Normal.

    It is what it is, y’all.

  3. neuroaster says:

    This had to be said, and you had the guts to say it; you are braver than I (((((HUGS)))))

  4. Melissa says:

    I stumbled on your blog….

    My daughter is 3, and autistic. Frankly, I don’t think this is particularly self-centered at all… or if it is, maybe it’s in a good way. Sometimes I think self preservation, self interest, and a little self-centeredness is important too.

    We tend to ask ourselves, with each new program, how it’s going to make my daughter feel… weighing the program benefit to HER vs her stress level in achieving the intended goal. Certain goals aren’t worth the fight so far.

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