We clearly need to figure something out, as a community. When the Autistic community has scared a good amount of Autistic people into not being able to say things, what has it become? I was one of them, for a while. I’m not going into direct confrontations on Facebook (I don’t have spoons to deal with the arguing that would happen), but I’m writing this post.
The goal of a community is to not echo-chamber itself into only allowing certain ideas and viewpoints into it, which, frankly, has been a lot of what I’m seeing. People are attracted to the ideal that explosive, sometimes abusive behavior is okay when you’re part of an oppressed group. We as a community have dealt with a lot of pain. We’ve lost a lot of children, teenagers and adults to caretakers, and we’ve been abused in the name of therapy. I would not deny this community anger at things that have been done and are still being done.
The echo-chambering I’m seeing, though, is that if you’re not loud and angry and constantly scouring the bits of the Internet to confront and call out people, you are too polite and constantly want to make nice. The echo-chambering I’m seeing is permitting the silencing of some Autistic people through fear while saying that you’re being silenced when someone has a different opinion than you or wants you to stop yelling.
The dynamics of a community, the fabric of its being, does not rely on explosive techniques. The explosiveness I can no longer be quiet about drives potential allies and newly diagnosed Autistic people away as an unsafe space, and more importantly, many Autistic people may look at this community and wonder what is getting done, wonder if they even want to be part of it, and credibility is damaged. And what will we tell the people who aren’t privy to our conversations and are not able to join in, who may rely on us to help enact change in the community and society? What then?