Naturalistic Neurodiversity

Exploring our differences through science.

Posts Tagged ‘Mental disorder

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:  http://timetolisten.blogspot.com/2012/02/skepticisms-ableism-problem.html

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Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #58

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

Physical and Mental

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Asthma (to the point wher i cannot run)

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?

Blogs/ Websites using small fonts with little contrast between the text and the background. (Stick with black and white it works.)
Walls of text with no structure to break it up for those of us with reading dificulties.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Pay more attention to the text you use. both it’s structure, the font and the colours used.
Sans Serif font is best for easy reading (Yes even comic sans)
Black text and white bacgrounds are standard for a reason. It works well with the various coloured reading aids.
Sub headings in large amounts of text are your friend.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Predjudice of all kinds is stupid. atheism is not immune from stupid bigoted idionts and probably never will be. But some of us can improve things.

Response #58 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Note: I have done my best to find a clean, simple, readable (and free) WordPress theme. If anyone has any suggestions for improvement, let me know.

Written by The Nerd

June 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #56

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

Not really noticeable

Slightly depressed, slightly bipolar (forgot the actual 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?

Never been to one

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

I’d say take a particular situation which really highlights the discrimination, and get it around in the big blogs. Something like Elevatorgate

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

I’ve referred to myself as insane, crazy, discombobulated, etc. I don’t tend to mind it when people say it too much, but I get by without medicine, and my condition isn’t all-pervasive, nor is it readily identifiable (people mostly think I’m a bit grumpy). So I haven’t been hurt when somebody calls me “crazy” or some variant.

I still think there needs to be expressions available that clearly indicate religiosity as a mental condition, and those who practice it are in need of help. At the same time, I have no pity for those who make fun of “retards” or “cripples.” I’ve proven myself willing to take a few punches, an give a few out, to assholes who want to belittle those that can’t fight back. My uncle is retarded (not sure of the actual condition), I have an aunt with Down’s Syndrome. My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s. On the other side, I had an uncle with early onset dementia, and my grandmother went senile later in life. So I’m no real stranger to mental illness.

In short, I’m not the best person to ask. I have a thick skin, and tend to have selective hearing in those areas that don’t affect me directly. Something I’ve tried to work on, though not getting into fights over it anymore.

Response #56 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Written by The Nerd

June 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #55

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

Mental; working diagnosis dysthymic disorder.

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?

No.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Call out ableism where you see it. Encourage people who are disabled and are comfortable being public about it to be public. Apply skepticism to mental health claims (both SCAM stuff and “depressed people need to think more positively!”)

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

Rationality/skepticism are very important to me in fighting my mental illness. I had to learn to rigorously check claims like “everyone hates me” and not just take it on intuition or faith.

Response #55 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Written by The Nerd

June 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #54

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

No.

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?

Sort of.

I am a person with an able-body/mind, and my experience with the atheist community is limited mostly to the internet, but I do feel put-off and uncomfortable with the casual and rampant use of ableist language and comparisons.  Ableist slurs such as crazy, stupid, idiotic, witless/nitwit/fuckwit and various other things suffixed with -wit, crippled etc. are common.  Comparisons to mental illness, aneurotypicality, and lack of intelligence are also common.  I find these make me uncomfortable with involvement in atheist communities much as sexist remarks also makes me uncomfortable and unsupportive of specific atheist websites.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

I think meetups should be ADA compliant as well as feature persons with disabilities as speakers (whether its on a broader topic or specifically on disability related issues–for example J.T. Eberhard often speaks on broader community issues, but has also done talks about his experience with mental illness).  I also think atheist communities should enforce policies that create inclusive and welcoming spaces for persons with disabilities and don’t treat them as undesirable, wrong, or cudgels to beat other commenters with whom they disagree. On Freethought Blogs there are policies by both the blog writers and commenters to in general stop, discount, and disuse any sexist slurs or similar dismissive constructions; I think a similar style should be used in regards to ableist language.

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

I think ableism like any other axis of oppression should be denounced and fought against by the atheist community. General social justice and humanistic principles are important to the strength of the community and movement and foster more inclusivity and diversity both in terms of persons and discourse.

Also, in regards to whether certain words are ableist or count as slurs, I’d prefer to err on the side of caution. I am in a position of privilege, so I am unable to definitively make such a call, however, other (non-atheistic) blogs and communities I follow that deal with ableism do count crazy, insane, stupid, etc. as ableist slurs, and as such I adhere to that. On that point, I’d also argue that it would be difficult to make a case for them not being ableist as such arguments tend to simply be retreads of other arguments related to language in discussions of sexism or racism i.e. words change, intent, generic/equal use, being technically accurate, dictionary definition etc. None of which are convincing arguments. Further, there are other words and constructions that can be used to give the same general meaning without being ableist. For example, instead of crazy, use absurd or ridiculous.

I won’t go into much here, but there is also a general trend in atheist communities to treat religious persons, or certain arguers, as lacking in intelligence (using words such as stupid, idiotic, dumb). While the individuals they are arguing or responding to may be holding untenable, badly constructed ideas or be (willfully or not) ignorant, this is a much different thing than being lacking in intelligence or being “dumb.” I object to this not on a tone basis, but on a basis of it’s reductive and all or nothing view of intelligence that treats lack of knowledge as a lack of capability to ever know and thus subtly is engaging in ableist ideas about the worth of those who may be mentally retarded or have an intellectual disability.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on way too much–I apologize. I know how hard it is to remove ableist language and constructions from my speech so I am not expecting an overnight change, but I would be glad and much more comfortable if the atheist communities made such efforts. I hope this was helpful 🙂

Response #54 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #53

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

No.

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?

No.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

Educate themselves.
As supposedly “superior” and more “logical” atheists claim to be,
all that moral high ground goes right out the window when it comes to

  • sexism
  • racism
  • classism
  • ableism
  • etc etc etc

Any other thoughts about ableism and atheism?

I agree – atheism without borders – an inclusive society, is the best thing we can do to walk the talk.

Response #53 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Written by The Nerd

June 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Ableism in Atheism Anonymous #52

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

Mental, though I suppose it is not technically a disability: PTSD, which makes it very difficult for me to actually leave my house and interact with people, even people I know, but especially people I don’t know.

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?

There are other things, attitudes and behaviors of the community, which keep me from risking interaction, but not specifically because someone referenced my mental or physical ability.

What steps could atheist communities take to become more inclusive?

For people like me, maybe online meeting options where I could participate from home? Live chat from conferences or streaming video?  I would think it would also be helpful for people who just live too far away and can’t afford to travel.

Response #52 from the Ableism in Atheism survey.

Written by The Nerd

June 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm