Naturalistic Neurodiversity

Exploring our differences through science.

Posts Tagged ‘ADHD

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #40

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

Mental:
Tourettes, Depression, OCD, ADD. We suspect ASD but don’t have a diagnosis.

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 frequently am bothered by the assertion that “religion is crazy” or “religion is a mental illness” As someone who actually has a mental illness

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Stop the fucking “religion is crazy” rhetoric. Focus on the cruelty, and fundamental incoherence of religion not attacking them by making ableist comments

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

It was literally my first encounter with atheism. I was an officer in the religious studies club giving a talk on Norse Paganism (my belief system before I became atheist) and literally the first comment out of the local Atheist club’s mouth was “How fucking crazy do you have to be to believe that shit.”

Response #40 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

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Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #30

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

I am mentally disordered and disabled: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, ADD, and sensory processing/integration problems.

I also have motor dysgraphia, which is a minor physical impairment.

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?

Inappropriate treatment of/reactions to my service dog; assumptions about my comfort level with physical contact.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

It would be really great if people could be more educated about service dogs and rules about talking to/petting/feeding them (don’t do any of the above, ever.) ADA-compliant facilities would also be nice; going out is hard enough without being entry challenged because I don’t “look disabled.”

It’s even worse when other people in the group say that.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Mental disabiliities are often invisible, but it doesn’t make them any less disabling.

The above has been response #30 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Casual Ableism from Atheists

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Atheists generally claim to be interested in creating an inclusive space where nonbelievers of every background can feel welcome. Just do a web search for “diversity in atheism” and you see posts from Daylight Atheism, American Atheists, and Friendly Atheist, among others, all about how to open up atheism to a more diverse crowd. Women, blacks, parents, the poor – these people are traditionally left out of atheist conversations, and there’s a growing push to include them. But there’s one crucial area which still is overlooked to an alarming degree: neurodiversity.

Not all people have the “standard model” brain, and a lot of those people are proud atheists and need the support of a freethinking community. But many atheists pride themselves on being “more intelligent” than religious people, and are quick to call fundamentalists “crazy”.

Here are a few comments I’ve read recently in atheist spaces:

“You are so literal as to be autistic. Are you really that stupid?”

“PETA is creating the next wave of young adults with scary personality disorders.”

“Instead of writing a new generation of software to circumvent our filters, maybe they should recruit social misfits with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and write software that amplifies their efforts.”

That last one was from none other than PZ Myers himself.   The message is constantly being sent out by atheists everywhere: if your mind is configured differently than mine, you’re not welcome here. Which is a shame, because I can count many atheists with ADHD, autism, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, etc, some of them as good friends and terrific contributors to the community.

If we really want atheism without barriers, we have to cut out the ableist language, now. This includes ending the crazy-bashing of Christians, because if an atheist with a mental disorder walks into a room where people are casually tossing around the words “crazy”, “retarded”, “idiotic”, etc, ze’s going to feel under attack.

Discussions which center around attacks or slander of people’s mental states aren’t only harmful, they’re lazy. The fact is, arguments from the supernatural aren’t wrong because they’re crazy, they’re wrong because they’re not supported by evidence. Dangerous people aren’t dangerous because they’re crazy, they’re dangerous because they’re threatening violence. It’s time we started taking pushing the bar higher in atheism. Let’s take ableism seriously.

Written by The Nerd

August 24, 2011 at 8:18 am