Amira Black is a recent college graduate from Chicago, IL who identifies as Black and Autistic. This week she shared a bit about her experience growing up on the spectrum.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Are you in school? Working? What are you passionate about?
I’m a recent college graduate from rust college in Mississippi and I would love to be a social worker.
How did you first become aware of your autism diagnosis? Was it explained as something positive, negative, or neutral?
My mom first told me when I was in elementary school, but I was in denial. I automatically thought that autism meant that you were retarded.
What kinds of microaggressions have you experienced (or experience on a regular basis)?
I noticed that I wouldn’t get treated like the white autistics, and when my mom told some family members that I’m autistic, they would mostly say that I don’t look autistic or that nothing is wrong with me. But I don’t tell everyone that I’m autistic, especially in the African American community because there’s still some connotations with autism, and I have encountered many African Americans who aren’t really educated about autism.
How has your self-advocacy evolved over time or in different environments? For example, have the ways in which you self advocate changed during adulthood?
I noticed that when I was in high school in 2013 that I had to be constantly reminded to do assignments and turn them in, stuff like that. But over the years, I still have a little trouble, but not as much as I did in high school. I went away to college in Mississippi, and it was my responsibility really to make sure I had my school work done, and when I had early classes, I had to set my alarm to wake myself up in enough time to get to my class on time.
Describe someone who is a good ally to the Black community.
I would say Lorri Lightfoot.
Do you have any good book or blog recommendations, people to follow on social media, or any other resources for individuals interested in supporting positive change for the Black Autistic community?
I would recommend a few. Their twitter names are: