Evolution of Eve | Autistics Recognized as an Ethnic Minority

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Updated the headline after some in-depth conversations about race, ethnicity and identity.

Autistics are an ethnic minority. This term seems to be more specific to intent and better description than the word race.

It has come to my attention that the Autistics have a sub-group of folks who believe in elitism. Hence, why they wanted to be recognized as a race. At least that is my understanding.

I really don’t understand the concept of Autistic elitism. We’re facing so much need as a community and people – housing, poverty, abuse, lack of care, stability and no workplace supports .  We have community issues that need addressed.

That is the goal here. It starts with getting peers at the table and the opportunity to be heard. And keeping community fundraiser dollars local to support our people now.

This is about hope for better quality of lives, acceptance and let folks know (because outside of the Autistic world they really seem to be surprised) that we are a people not just a diagnosis.

Peer voice is starting to be recognized in CA legislators offices as needed and important. They want Autistics at the table. It’s my hope you all want to be there too.

That’s a goal of the civil rights movement?

So, the choice is to continue to bash my success as getting us recognized as a people — or help the effort to get Autistics into positions of leadership and decision making at the Capitol.

We are a minority and have a community voice. It needs to be included. 

So, that’s what I’m going to continue to work on.

Help is always appreciated, if anyone is so inclined.

americanbadassactivists@gmail.com


I’m the whitest minority I ever met.

Yesterday, at the Capitol in Sacramento, in honor of Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Month, I spoke to legislators as an Autistic born into white culture.

quote-as-i-grow-older-part-of-my-emotional-survival-plan-must-be-to-actively-seek-inspiration-bebe-moore-campbell-72-9-0954I spoke as an Autistic person about my peers, my people, our community and Autistic culture; and communicated about needs of our no-served/underserved community, lack of resources for all Autistics and the utter devastation that our kids are facing upon adulthood.

Also, about how the cure culture robbed our community of the ability to be recognized as more than pathology and stigmatized stereotype — how the money raised by non-profits (Autism Speaks, yes you) to find the impossible cure was siphoned out of our communities ($220 million at least) and left us high-and-dry.

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Today, the very kids who wore blue in the 2000s on fundraiser walks, have been abandoned, stigmatized, demonized, marginalized and demoralized — and if female, existence denied.

Often we’re homeless, incarcerated, suffering severe poverty, and victims of gaslighting, physical, emotional and financial abuse. Death-by-suicide or murder is far too common.

(When we’re killed by caregivers, they get the sympathy and lesser sentences because it’s so difficult with Autistics.)

Adulthood has no Autistic support. There’s no help for us now. The Autism awareness gig was a sham. A call for Autism Acceptance and support by the #ActuallyAutistic went ignored, belittled and even threatened with prosecution.

In response the Autistic Civil Rights Movement was launched. 


(We don’t light it up blue, we are #REDinstead)

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That movement has expanded to include neurodiverse brains of all types, and is the driving force behind Neurodiversity Civil Rights Movement.  #nothingaboutuswithoutus

So how does all of that make me the whitest minority I’ve ever met? When I applied to be considered to participate in the Minority Mental Health Month advocacy talks, I wrote my race as Autistic.

That’s right, my race and minority status is Autistic. Like the Deaf, Blind and left-handed, we think different and that’s our identity, not the color of our skin. Our differences are invisible.

Social skills are patterns to be learned, and bounced back appropriately (mimicked), so even the cultures we’re born into are a learned skill as well. Your language is our second language, always. My first language is not one I can explain completely, but it is visual and multi-dimensional and I have to translate that into English when I communicate.

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Autistics have a strong culture. (Oh goodness, what a relief to be with others like me and not worry about integration skills, social skills and just be myself, all quirks, tics, stims included.) Autistics have a history of incredible achievements that are vastly understated, or entirely ignored, in typical history books.

Autistics are a people that need to be heard. It’s long past time for others to sit-down, shut-the-hell-up and let us talk. I’ve claimed my inheritance and started marking my race/culture/identity box as Autistic.


Guess what? When you speak about Autistics, those words aren’t going into some great expanse of space to people unknown. Dude, we’re right here. We can hear you. Hello?


 

I am now proudly Autistic first, and the rest follows. It was a very hard journey to self-acceptance. Now I’m campaigning telling the world, we are a people and deserve a far better quality of life.  NAMI California has given me the opportunity to do so as an Autistic minority.

When I checked that box on the application, NAMI California took the time to read and really took the time to listen as well. Then they recognized and honored our minority status.

I spoke as an Autistic minority to folks who can help, and they listened. Really listened. 

I was able to walk right into the Capitol, talk to the people in power about intersectional needs of our community — like how often Autistics are turned away from psychiatric wards in times of crisis because staff there isn’t qualified to help us. We’re pushed to ERs and back out again. In the end, often, we’re left with no help at all.

Each legislator (and representative) took the time to listen, really listen. Autistic community challenges were discussed, and the importance of lived-experience and peer voice in areas leadership acknowledged and supported. Greatly supported.

Already in areas of health and community, peer voice is being sought for inclusion. We’re wanted at the table with the big wig providers, health industry professionals and others of great importance to collaborate on solutions.

20046795_10154669852787823_8152858573367340225_nI’m in such awe and feel incredible honor at being included as an Autistic activist in NAMI California’s advocacy effort. In every meeting, our first ask was for the continuing support to honor Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. I asked for the continuation as an Autistic minority.

Mental illness is an equal opportunist of the purest form. It doesn’t discriminate on race, culture, social class, or religion. It doesn’t care what side of the tracks you grew up on. However every culture is different in their response to mental illness. The needs for breaking stigma, education and advocacy efforts are specific to each community.

I’m still in such awe. Earlier this year investigative reporter, Lila Luciano, spotlighted the challenges and the civil rights movement. Now it’s legislators in Sacramento taking note. 

Folks, we’re being recognized, and invitations to leadership and collaboration are coming. For now, #stayloudandproud. Be very proud.

For sure stay #badassandproud too.


It’s human to think different.


Eve Hinson | July 2017

Eve Hinson | July 2017


Evolution of Eve | Rediscovering life then and exploring the now 

By Eve Hinson, Badass Founder & Contributor |  @badassactivist | Facebook | Instagram Pinterest | Tumblr

Memory loss, scattered focus, inability to track time, and an ill-known stigmatized neurological disorder, plus PTSD symptoms, have erased or complicated recall of Eve’s first 37 years of life.

Now in her mid-40s, Eve is Autistic AF and left with a brain that doesn’t include filters (she says fuck. a lot), likes to glitch and, after the memory wipe, created a new personhood. Eve is different to those who’ve known her from childhood. She is unknown even to herself and seeking to learn about her life from back then, and embracing life now.

This series focuses on self-discovery after the onset of severe mental illness, memory loss and permanent disability. It’s a different life and a worthy life.

Contact Eve | americanbadassactivists@gmail.com


17 thoughts on “Evolution of Eve | Autistics Recognized as an Ethnic Minority”

  1. what is this White bullshit, autism is not a race

    go ahead and ignore autistic PoC why don’t you and ignore the fact that white Autistics still benefit from white supremacy and whiteness in this world

    go ahead and ignore the fact that the stereotype of autism is a white person (usually a man) a la Sheldon Cooper

    go ahead and ignore that Black autistic kids get diagnosed with personality disorders and Oppositional Defiance Disorder and treated like criminals and dangerous

    white autistics need to fucking stop this, you are white and autistic, your race is not autistic so fuck off with that

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is absolutely correct. I could never speak as an Autistic born into a community other than white. I can’t speak as an Autistic born into any other culture. So, note that I can’t share that experience of Autistic and black. I sure wouldn’t try either.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, and women are never Autistic either. and OMFG if we can speak we must not be Autistic. I get the stereotype. Though I don’t know who Sheldon Cooper is. Autism Speaks did a great job marketing Autistic white and male. I can again, only speak as an Autistic born into white culture. I don’t know what it means to be born Autistic and black — or how others prejudice define that experience.

      I know who I am. I’m Autistic. Like it or don’t. Identify as that or not — I’m going to keep on being an activist for my people. I can only be an Autistic white activist. There needs to be many more Autistic voices and that’s the point of this site. To amplify peer voice.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps you are quick to judge. I am Autistic born into a white community. I received an honor was for Mental Health Minority Month in honor or Bebe Moore Campbell. You can bet I was quite literally the whitest minority I met that day. You ever mark a box as Autistic and be honored to speak on behalf of your people, walk into a room being honored as the only white-skin minority there, be respected and accepted as such? Been able to share the horror of cure culture and how that affected an entire generation of kids left without support? I did.

      My identity is Autistic born into white, redneck culture. Can’t help that.

      Like

  2. YOU ARE NOT A RACIAL MINORITY YOU ARE WHITE

    YOU ARE WHITE

    THIS IS THE WHITEST FUCKING THING ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET

    Like

  3. Oh also your history was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

    The autistic civil rights moment started well before autism speaks was a thing. The autistic civil rights movement is at least 30 years old. Autism speaks is 12.

    Your history is wrong and your premise is wrong and you owe a lot of people apologies.

    Like

    1. I am not sorry for speaking to legislators as a recognized minority and asking for support, services, careers and everything that was never established due to local community dollars being siphoned out and now Autistic youth are suffering. No, #sorrynotsorry. I challenge your belief system and that’s fine. If Autistic history is wrong on my behalf, that only shows how much work there is to be done on behalf of our people.

      #AutisticandProud

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so sad and infuriating to see stuff like this. People always seem to forget that non-white Autistics exist. Ableism and discrimination against autistics are definitely a thing, but they are TOTALLY different from racism. To compare the two or equate them to one another is inappropriate at best and harmful at worst. To do so ignores that there is an intersection between racism and ableism which White autistics will never be able to understand. And this is what we mean when we say autism doesn’t make you exempt from being racist as a white person. Don’t forget your POC and non-white #actuallyautistc siblings. If your activism isn’t intersectional, it’s bullshit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting perspective. I spoke as an Autistic person born into white culture (and yes white skin) and made very clear when advocating for housing, job supports, education supports for Autistic people — I also made sure to state this is my experience as an Autistic person born into white culture (i know how white culture responds to differences is my lived experience) and that I can’t speak for Autistics in communities of color. Those are very different lived experiences. I’ve been very exact in stating what my lived experiences are and that they aren’t from the perspective of anything but white culture. The voice of Autistic POC absolutely need to be heard. That’s one I can’t share. Intersectional issues discussed were being Autistic and living with a severe mental illness no-served/undeserved population.

      Like

    2. The post below here talks about ethnicity and how it is possible to be an Autistic ethnic minority which is shared as:

      “Ethnicity, while related to race, refers not to physical characteristics but to social traits that are shared by a human population. Some of the social traits often used for ethnic classification include:
      nationality
      tribe
      religious faith
      shared language
      shared culture
      shared traditions”

      I do believe after reading about ethnicity that this word is more specific and inclusive of all our identities. I do understand and respect our whole-person, and also know we need to be better identified as a people to be able to gain the power of peer voice and address the overarching issues like employment, housing, medical care, appropriate education and do what we can to help create a better quality of life for future generations.

      Getting Autistics at the table in leadership and advisory positions from all cultures is also the goal. Thoughts?

      Like

  5. Autism could be an Ethnicity but not a race. Ethnicity has its association with race but also its complete difference which many seem to no longer know. Knowledge is power. After reading many sources including the dictionary definitions as well as the variations coming from the root Ethnos I believe it is accurate to refer to one’s Autism/Autistic Identity as an ethnicity.
    “Ethnicity, while related to race, refers not to physical characteristics but to social traits that are shared by a human population. Some of the social traits often used for ethnic classification include:
    nationality
    tribe
    religious faith
    shared language
    shared culture
    shared traditions”
    “Definition of ethnic; chiefly in the US.
    A member of an ethnic group; especially : a member of a minority group who retains the customs, language, or social views of the group”
    Those two quotes to me help argue for it. Too many confuse race, or ethnic nationality, etc. Which are more referring to physicality . . . with Ethnicity which is based on sociality. Autistics are minorities and have shared history, culture, language uses, mind set, beliefs, social views of the group, etc. Yes they may differ between individuals but it does in every other type of ethnicity. You can be many ethnicities. For example i can be Cherokee and Irish and Autistic. Considering my Autism as an ethnicity does not take away my other Ethnicities. Autism can be a minority and an ethnicity but ahould not be considered a race.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This right here makes an incredible amount of sense. Thank you for sharing. Gives me a lot to ponder and the use of ethnic as defined is how I was viewing the word race. So being Autistic is an ethnic minority which we can all have pride in?

      Like

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