By our side or out of our way: on conditional allies

“No I don’t want to wait

I know a better way

So come on step aside or better yet just go away

Our chance has finally come there might not be another one now

No we’re not gonna wait”

The Great Die-Off, Rise Against

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In the past, before Trump, I wrote nicely, things like We Are Not or You Have The Choice. I quoted song lyrics, my version of echolalia. I was polite, never swore or offended, was articulate and academic.

My goal back then was to reach out to people and get allies. In that time my enemy was a narrative of autism being a bad thing, and my goal was to touch people’s hearts and minds to turn them away from that narrative. I had the ability and the necessity to spend the emotional labor on the feelings of my readers.

I don’t have that ability anymore, and I’m coming to realize that the people who I can actually count on having my back don’t need it.

If you’re not living under a rock, you know that the ACA is under threat of being repealed, which as I have mentioned before means that a lot of disabled people are going to die. Less known is that Trump is thinking about creating a committee on autism, which might be headed by a known anti-vaxxer who thinks vaccines cause autism like Trump does. The stigma that could come from a government committee that thinks our neurology is, to quote Trump, “doctor-inflicted,” is something that my mind rebels at the thought of.

I, like the rest of the Outcast, no longer have the ability to kowtow to the feelings of others. I don’t have the headspace to spare for being acceptable anymore.

This is a war against oppression (hence creating the rage and action group for those affected by Trump that this blog is a platform for, The Outcast Army), a war with Nazis, a war against a kyriarchy that is poised to actually take many more lives.

 If you think that you’re important enough for Outcast to spend emotional labor on you if you can’t stand by us in this war no matter what we say, you vastly overestimate your self-worth, because I no longer have the time, patience, or emotional capability to do that.

So, be by our side, no matter what, or get out of our way. True solidarity with Outcast isn’t based on getting congratulations for doing a good job but on the idea that we don’t deserve to be hated, that we are equal. We are hurting and we should be able to express that pain without your defense. We shouldn’t have to watch our tone and calm down when our people are fucking dying.

If you disagree with this, “step aside or better yet just go away.” All I care about is who will have my back when it’s against the wall like it is now, no matter what, and nobody whose allyship is conditional on me spending emotional labor and headspace that I don’t have to watch my tone around them is worth it. I only need people who I know will be there for me, who will be by my side not in the name of their feelings but in the name of human decency. We’re fighting now, and whether or not you’re going to stand by the Outcast fully or not is up to you and your views on whether or not we deserve to hurt and deserve support for our humanity, not us.

No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”

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Hate Speech is not Free Speech

“You have the right to your opinion.”

This phrase is everywhere in our culture. People trot out the first amendment (though people misunderstand what it means), quote “Voltaire” saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (was actually from his biographer), and it’s always mentioned any time someone decides to speak out against intolerant speech.

People argue that we need to respect all views as equal, that maybe people may have a reason for their bigotry, something that makes their hatred valid. Maybe they’re not actually saying the hateful thing they said no matter how obvious it is.

That’s wrong, morally so.

I already posted once on how I blame tolerance of intolerance for Trump winning. In the end I said:

We need to combat the hateful and protect the Outcast under threat, actually act against the hatred with our words and our feet, they are now actually attacking people countrywide in large numbers. We didn’t rise up then, but we need to now.

Instead I quite often see people do this stuff…I’ve dealt with it twice personally. The first time was a response to my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating (CW: Inhuman hatred towards autistics, eugenics, swearing). In that, I share where a woman told me “Science WILL find away (sic) to abort autistic people. This is what we are moving towards,” after she told me that autism was a horror show and telling me that I wasn’t “(autistic, autistic)”, a common tactic to silence autistic adults by telling us that because we can talk and explain stuff we’re not autistic and don’t know what we’re talking about. This was an event that had me shaking with rage and shock for days after (and as I write this, to be quite honest) as I didn’t expect it to happen (especially on that speech) and I didn’t realize that people would be so vile, advocating eugenics, to my face.

I shared it on my page and someone started trying to find some nuance of “maybe she meant that people will be able to choose to abort.” This was extremely invalidating (when people are hurt, the best idea isn’t actually to find why they may be wrong), as well as complete nonsense based on the context clues that even I could see (I’m admittedly not always the best at that).

The second time was more recent, when I shared this article about Ann Coulter tweeting “14!”, something that relates to white supremacy (considering her words in the past, it’s quite understandable why the responses from my friends, especially my non-white friends, were quite unsurprised, saying that we already knew this). In response, someone started looking for other reasons for this and found something that was mentioned and countered within the article itself.

Here’s the thing: Devils neither need nor deserve advocates.

Hate speech is harmful. Views of degradation and bigotry towards the oppressed and Outcast hurt. Being told we’re subhuman, that we’re going to hell, that how we were born was wrong, that we’re horror shows, is seriously damaging and happens all the time. It causes fear that we may get even worse from these people, especially when it’s actual threats like the woman who was told that she’d be lit on fire if she wore her hijab. It traps us in a cage of fear for our safety and not knowing who thinks that or wants us to be hurt or dead. It inflicts emotional trauma that these people think we deserve for our existence. Their speech takes away our freedom to be ourselves.

But you know what just adds to that hurt?

You who do this.

Each time you say this stuff, if you tell us any of the things that I mentioned, what you’re saying is that they have a right to say stuff that hates us. They deserve to be able to think that stuff about us, to think that our existence is morally wrong or deserving of suffering or just overall lesser. You’re saying that you’ll defend to the death the voices of people who want to hurt us, to kill us, to cause emotional pain solely because of how we were born (and yes I mentioned Muslims and am saying the way you’re born [considering it as racism], as let’s be completely honest here, when people call Muslims evil, they’re thinking about people from the Middle East and equating the two, it’s no coincidence that every time someone who looks Arab is involved in a terrorist attack everyone says they’re automatically Muslim). You’re looking for reasons to justify people thinking or saying that we are unequal to humanity, and saying we’re bad to defend our right to exist. When we’re feeling hurt, instead of caring about our feelings and standing by us, you rush to find alternate reasons for what the people who hurt us did to tell us we’re wrong to feel that way, to invalidate us. Beyond that, you enable this hatred to continue by deciding to silence us by letting those who feel these ways about us to keep speaking and bringing suffering to us. You choose to stand with our oppressors and their right to cause us suffering over our right to exist freely. You’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt than give us the benefit of your trust, care, and validation.

We notice this, and your choices to do this makes you just as great as a threat to our lives because when it comes down to impact, you have shown that, while you might not say those things, you’d much rather stand by their hatred than support us against them. By not standing against the system of oppression you help it continue. You normalize it, treat it as something that should exist no matter what harm it causes, no matter what stigma it might perpetuate. You let us know that when our backs are against the wall we should distrust you just as much as them because that’s when you’ll go to their side.

Nobody has the right to hate others, to cause harm, and now that this hatred is happening more and more, it’s time to start condemning it. If you don’t, we know where you stand.

-Laoch Onórach