Naturalistic Neurodiversity

Exploring our differences through science.

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #59

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Do you consider yourself to be a person with a disability?

Autism & epilepsy.

Have you (or do you personally know someone who has) felt out-of-place or limited your involvement with an atheist community because of disability-related situations?

I have yet to find a skeptic place that wasn’t all “asshole = autistic”. And the -tard suffix. And people look at me like I’ve got 2 heads when I mention that flash photography often = seizures (I do not, in fact, have 2 heads). And when people post videos of talks and such, they don’t have transcripts, & when I ask, people think it’s appropriate to demand to know why I-or anyone-would possible need transcripts.

I wrote a blogpost about atheism’s ableism problem and the reaction was largely ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK, when it wasn’t IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE. This is a problem. (Actually, you may have read that post if you’re who I think you are…)*

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Um, stop being ableists?

Restrict the ableist language. Leaders need to actively say that it isn’t cool. Not just quietly say “yeah, I cringe when they do that”, but tell them ASSHAT AND AUTISM ARE NOT THE SAME THING AND STOP USING MY NETSPACE TO SAY THEY ARE or whatever.

Caption shit. ASL interpret shit. If someone asks for an accomodation (ie me and my no flash photography need, the transcript thing) instead of being all defensive and demanding to know why, just say OK, and do it, or find someone who can do it.

Meet places that are accessible to mobility devices & accessible by public transit. My city supposedly has great transit, but many meeting places are over an hour on transit and/or involve a half mile or more walk. I’m in good physical shape & can do that, but a lot of people can’t.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

The ableism issue is enough that I’ve pretty much stopped even trying, & given how much crap I have been trained to tolerate that’s pretty damn bad.

Response #59 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

*I think the post may be this one, but if not, it’s still an eye-opener:


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