“We–those of us who exist at the intersection of disability and race–aren’t treated as if we are ‘real.’ Little concern is paid to the innumerable factors present in our lives that impact how we view ourselves and the world, to how we ourselves are viewed by the world, to our strengths, to our needs. This is a grave injustice.” -Morenike Giwa Onaiwu from the Preface of All the Weight of Our Dreams, on living racialized autism
In the wake of George Floyd’s death here in the United States, protestors around the world are rightfully demanding equal rights, representation, and an end to police brutality. For disabled racial minorities, the equality gap is even wider. The above quote is from the 2017 anthology All the Weight of Our Dreams, on living racialized autism, and I highly recommend buying it if you haven’t read it (or buying it for a friend!).
In an early essay from the anthology, Finn Gardiner writes about the obstacles of Autistic black people like Neli Latson:
“We are also vulnerable to hate crimes or discrimination that affects us on both fronts. For instance, a young black autistic man, Neli Latson, was imprisoned for four years after being arrested outside his local library in Virginia while he was waiting for it to open.
As Kerima Cevik writes, ‘This disaster is the intersection of autism, ableism and racism colliding with the school to prison pipeline. See everyone who is poor in Black American prepares their son for that moment. They teach them the social cues and red flags. They tell them to have a way to make that phone call and an understanding that they will be harassed by police at some point. But autism parents are tole they need to teach compliance and concrete ideas about police to their autistic children.'”
-“A Letter to People at the Intersection of Autism and Race,” from All the Weight of Our Dreams, on living racialized autism Finn Gardiner
These are obviously just a few introductory excerpts to give you an idea of the incredible value of this anthology. I hope you’ll consider checking it out. (I have no affiliate relationship or financial incentive to promote this anthology. It’s just something I believe in!)
I am interested in featuring any Black Autistic individual that is interested in getting their voice heard now or at any point in the future. Contact me if you or someone you know might be interested.
Follow some of these advocates on Twitter who are advocating for elevating the Black Autistic perspective: