07 December 2017

Why we must #BoycottToSiri / An open letter to Judith Newman

Content/TW: Discussions of involuntary sterilization, abusive parenting, mentions of Nazis, eugenics, intense anti-autistic ableism in general.

Why we must #BoycottToSiri

I originally wrote what appears below as a series of tweets, but they read better as a single letter. This is meant for Judith Newman, though I have no idea whether she will ever bother to read this blog post, and frankly, I would be terrified of whatever response she might have. But this must be said, by as many of us as can summon the courage to speak or write or sign it, and so here I am, urging anyone who wishes to do something to support actually autistic people not to buy this book written by a non-autistic parent of an autistic teen, in which (among many other horrifying things) she enthusiastically advocates for sterilizing her son and other autistic people to prevent us from reproducing and fulfilling our inevitable destiny to be naturally shitty parents (her ideas, not mine).

She said that she is "counting the days" until her son turns eighteen so she can gain medical power of attorney and have him sterilized. She described in graphic detail the contents and types of porn that he watches. She said that she can only imagine him ever having sex with the Benny Hill soundtrack playing along with her mental image of it, and that that means it would have to be going horribly wrong. She said that he will die alone because no girl (assuming he must be heterosexual and only interested in girls/women) could ever want him. She said he is immature (HE IS THIRTEEN, CHRIST) and so would never be able to be a good parent. She said he could never be a loving partner (assuming he wants romance now or will in the future) because he is incapable of separating other people's needs from his own, let alone putting others before himself.

This even apart from her misogynistic description and misgendering of Métis autistic activist Amythest Schaber without their consent, and her vehement objections to use of singular they as a gender-neutral pronoun in the introduction to this book (totally unrelated? hello?) while mentioning that she would like to punch her friend (who authored a book affirming and supporting her trans child) in the face for advocating for its use.

Yes, it is that bad.

[photo: graphic with image of an open notebook-style journal, full cup of coffee, and pencil on a wooden table or desk as the background. small text on the notebook says in all capital letters, "Letter to Judith Newman" and "Why We Must #BoycottToSiri." large text on the notebook says in a script, handwriting-like font, "all of this is fucked." large text at the bottom of the graphic says, "There is not enough caffeine in the world for me to deal with this shit."]

An open letter to Judith Newman:

Autistic people are human beings. We can and must make our own medical choices, especially about procedures as invasive and permanent as sterilization.

Forcible/involuntary sterilization because you're afraid of someone like me reproducing? Direct and clear example of modern eugenics.

You can't imagine your son in a sexual situation because he is autistic? You have a serious lack of imagination. Autistic people span the entire sexual and asexual spectrums.

You publicly talked about what kind of porn your son watches. In a New York Times "bestseller." I am so, so horrified, angry, and betrayed on behalf of your son.

You are convinced your son will die alone because no girl could ever possibly be interested in him. That is blatant, horrifying ableism.

You are counting down the days until you can involuntarily sterilize your son, which you want to do because he is autistic. I hope he escapes your house.

This time next year, I'll be a licensed attorney. Many actually autistic and other disabled people are too. Believe you me, we will line up to fight you if you try this against his will.

I am TERRIFIED for your son, because he has to live with you. Your book shows your true self. What kind of parent you are. What kind of person you are. And it's scary as fuck.

Your son needs love and support. Not mockery, public humiliation, condescension, and threats of involuntary, invasive, and permanent medical procedures.

How the hell do you expect your son to learn to be a loving partner to a woman, a man, or a non-binary person, if you already assume he can't be? You are supposed to teach him!

You wrote that you don't believe your son is or ever will be capable of putting other people's feelings ahead of his own. I read that and am sick to my stomach.

I'm an actually autistic adult, and I feel such overwhelmingly intense empathy for YOUR SON that I am crying thinking of what it must be like to be him knowing/finding out you've written this bullshit about him in public.

Do you know about Micah David Cole-Fletcher? He is an autistic poet and a hero in Portland, Oregon. He got stabbed because he stood up to white supremacists abusing two women of color. Two others were murdered.


We actually autistic people are constantly scrambling with extremely limited resources and the challenges of multiple disabilities to save each other from eviction, institutionalization, and abuse, every day.

That's autistic empathy.

Every day I know of actually autistic people, most of whom will never get news media coverage, sacrificing every second of their time and every bit of their available effort, to fight against violence and harm.

When you describe your son as lacking in empathy, compassion, and the ability to put others before himself, you directly attack the core integrity of some of the most self-sacrificing humans on this planet.

What about Jennifer Msumba's courage in speaking up against the JRC for torturing disabled people? Of facing the very people who abused her and still justify it, because it might get others out and make the torture stop?

That's autistic empathy.

Look, every autistic person will not have a romantic or sexual relationship in their lifetimes. But that's not either a core trait of being autistic, nor is it a reflection of lesser personhood.

The point that I am trying to make, that I sincerely doubt you will ever be willing to listen to (but yet hope against hope you will), is that your son is a full human being.

Not despite autism.

He is autistic and human and these are not contradictory.

One day, if he hasn't yet, your son will read what you wrote about him, publicly, and my heart breaks for him for when that day comes.

This is betrayal.

This is betrayal.

This is betrayal.

You wrote that your son should not reproduce because he could never be a father. This is wrong.

Autistic people around the globe are already proud, loving parents of children -- autistic and non-autistic. Being autistic does not mean we cannot love or care.

An autistic person dropped everything and drove three hours nonstop to get to me when I was in the middle of a mental health crisis.

(And surely you must know how much we hate interruptions to routine/sudden changes.)

That's autistic love and care.

I know an autistic person dedicated to finding and supporting the most isolated human beings locked in inhumane conditions in prisons with no budget and no donors, traveling from prison to prison in the face of violence.

That's autistic love and care.

My partner (also autistic) and I drove 18+ hours through 8 states to support two other human beings in getting to a safe place to live and escaping homelessness.

We don't want praise or money. Just to do what's right.

That's autistic love and care.

I know an autistic person with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses who performed life-saving labor for another disabled person who was almost left for dead, even at the expense of their own physical health.

That's autistic love and care.

You say your son cannot be a father or a loving partner because he can't love or care for others. Because he can't put others before himself. If he still loves you after finding out about this horror show of a book, he will have already proved you wrong.

You say he should not father a child because he is immature. Do you realize how many grown-ass, NON-DISABLED men are out there with children who are immature/unempathetic as fuck? (Hint: Some of them are called Senator and Representative. One's called President.)

As an autistic human being, I am enraged and devastated at Harper Books' decision to publish this garbage. Because it's not only your son this has/will hurt. It's many, many more autistic people whose parents will read it.

I teach a college course on disability police and social movements. In one unit, we discuss in brutal, graphic detail the long and continuing history of involuntary sterilizations of disabled people, PoC, and disabled PoC specifically. It's called eugenics.

The idea that disabled people are incapable of parenting, shouldn't reproduce more disabled people, and shouldn't be having sex ... That's called eugenics. It's the very same idea that led to the Nazi's T-4 program. They called us "useless eaters."

You know who else thought we shouldn't be reproducing? The mass murderer in Sagamihara, Japan, who last year stabbed 19 disabled people to death and injured 26 more. He said he wanted to rid the world of us.

You think you're nothing like him but you're wrong.

Here's what you share:

* A belief that disabled people cannot be full human beings

* A belief that disabled people shouldn't be reproducing

The difference is that he stabbed people. You wrote a book with these ideas. But I'm afraid others might be inspired.

Now I know that on the off-chance you ever read these messages, your first reaction will be to tell me how mean I am. (Because you get to be upset if I'm harsh, but I'm just mean because I obviously lack empathy and social skills. /sarcasm, of course)

Your second response will be to tell me that I'm nothing like your child. You will tell me that I'm articulate, intelligent, obviously functional, and successful. You will say that I have a very mild form of autism.

These are ableist distractions.

No, I don't know your son personally. No, I have not lived in the same house as him. But I have lived in a harsh, violent world my entire life with a brain very much like his. (And I'm older than your son. By about ten years.)

The truth is, no matter what specific struggles or skills I have, I'm autistic like your son, and you ... you are not. I am like your child.

I cannot comprehend why or how someone who is supposed to love me the most could hurt/hate me so much.

You may believe you love your son. But we, autistic people, hear what you have actually said, which is that you hate him. You love a version of him that does not exist.

(Learn from Jim Sinclair.)

You have put something incredibly, horrifyingly dangerous into the world. You can't take it back, not completely. But you can and must make amends for your flagrant abuse of your privilege, power, and resources.

For the sake of your son.

For the sake of others like him.

For the sake of those to come after him.

We deserve to live free of fear of violence, especially from the people who are most supposed to love and protect us.

And make no mistake -- forcible, involuntary sterilization, and legal authority over another person's medical decision-making, these are forms of violence.

You are plotting to take away your son's right to control his own body.

You are plotting to become the biggest, worst, and most inescapable abuser in your son's life.

You still have a chance to stop and backtrack. To be a supportive, actually loving parent.

But your window of time is shrinking, fast.

You need to start with apologizing to your son and coming clean about what you've done if he doesn't know already.

And then you need to do your damndest to combat the dangerous messages you've put out there in the world.

You need to make sure that your son knows that he and he alone controls his own body.

He and he alone gets to decide what, whether, when, and how other people can do anything to him -- sexually, medically, reproductively.

That means apologizing for violating any tiny sense of privacy he might have ever had.

That means apologizing for thinking of him as less than a full person.

That means apologizing for publicly humiliating and mocking him.

That means connecting him, ASAP, to autistic adults who can mentor and support him coming into adulthood as an autistic teen.

That means making sure he gets real, meaningful sex education about reproductive choices, reproductive healthcare, and what consent is.

That means promising to him and to yourself that you will not be counting the days until you can legally steal from your son his right to control his own body.

(Yes I am stuck on that. Because it's disgusting and morally appalling.)

If you want to show to your son how to put others' feelings ahead of their own, retract the book. Demand the publisher ice it. Forgo the royalties, the speaking engagements, the press.

Put your son ahead of yourself. Put his dignity and his humanity first.

If you still want to write another book later, let it be an honest book. Let it be a book where your son is humanized instead of dehumanized and mocked. Let it be a book where you are a flawed human instead of a hero/saint/angel/martyr.

Until you are ready to accept full responsibility for what you have done to autistic people present and future as well as your own son, and take appropriate action to rectify it, we have nothing further to discuss.

I will take my rage and weeping apart from you.


Interested in putting $$$ where it counts?

Harriet Tubman Collective @HTCsolidarity: badass group of Black Deaf and Disabled organizers

Autism Women's Network @autism_women: intersectional powerhouse/support network

HEARD: @behearddc: fights Deaf wrongful convictions and coordinating community trainings

Autistic Self Advocacy Network @autselfadvocacy: leader in D.C. policy advocacy

Disability Visibility Project @DisVisibility: amplification of disabled activism

Ramp Your Voice @RampYourVoice: Black disabled woman-centric project

NOS Magazine @NOSeditorial: magazine by/for neurodivergent writers and language access

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund @DREDF and Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law @BazelonCenter: cutting-edge legal advocacy

Sins Invalid @sinsinvalid: performance project centering sick/disabled QTPOC

Krip Hop Nation @kriphopnation: PoC-centric disabled cultural activism via hip-hop

Barking Sycamores @BarkingSycamore and Deaf Poets Society @thedeafpoets: Disabled/neurodivergent/Deaf literary ventures

Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (contact Mia Mingus @miamingus)

Ala Costa Adult Transition Services @alacostaACAT: direct services agency run by autistic adults

National ADAPT @NationalADAPT: grassroots direct action against harmful legislation (saved Medicaid repeatedly)

National LGBTQ Task Force @TheTaskForce: First LGBTQ+ org hosting disability justice project led by disabled TWOC

Sylvia Rivera Law Project @SRLP: legal advocacy for low-income, people of color, immigrant, and incarcerated TGNC folks

Autism Spectrum Navigators at Bellevue College @BellevueCollege: peer support/full integration/autistic culture symposium

All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism edited by Lydia X. Z. Brown, E. Ashkenazy, and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu: first anthology by autistic racialized and people of color

Disability Intersectionality Summit: what it says on tin/contact @IntersectedCrip

Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports @CitizenDirected: association for real community integration and self-determination for ALL people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Another awesome publisher centering multiply-marginalized #OwnVoices: Cuil Press @CuilPress led by disabled founder Michón Neal

Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind @ColumbiaLight direct peer-led services for Blind/DeafBlind/Blind+Disabled people

Youth Organizing YO! Disabled and Proud @Yodisabledproud: disabled youth leadership+empowerment

And lastly, if you're reading this, learned something, and have privilege and money? Consider donating to support me and my work (much of which I do not broadcast publicly but directly benefits/supports marginalized people). PayPal Lydia at autistichoya dot com.


(Note -- in writing the original tweets, I was torn between naming people without their consent, versus describing them without naming them to avoid potentially unwanted naming/outing/visibility -- which itself can often be dangerous, exploitative, and abusive. I erred toward not naming people since I did not have time or spoons to ask each person I was thinking of for their consent. Where people are named, it is because they have already spoken/written/been described very publicly and as an autistic person.)

23 August 2017

Thinking about patterns of opposite extremes among autistic people

About a year and a half ago, I posted this list of characteristics that seem to be much more common in autistic people (especially the more of them a person has) than in non-autistic people. But both while writing that list, and over many years of thinking, being with other autistic people, and learning about many of our experiences, I keep noticing this one pattern among our experiences -- we tend toward extremes of the same phenomenon, both between different autistic people (and thus, observable sub-groups of autistic people) and within the same person (often dependent on context).

Other people have noticed the same pattern in some contexts, like the rough split between sensory-avoidance and sensory-seeking, and noting that an individual autistic person can be both very sensory-seeking in some contexts but very sensory-avoidant in others. Or in noting autistic people's relationship to math -- apparently roughly half (this is not a scientific number) of us struggle intensely with and hate or at least dislike math, while the other rough half of us have a deep affinity and love for math. Or in noting autistic people's use of verbal speech or writing -- many autistic people rely heavily on text-based forms of communication, especially with widespread availability of instant messaging apps, but there are many other autistic people who have such difficulty processing language that they have extreme struggles with text-based forms of communication.

But I've also noticed this phenomenon crop up in about a million (still not a scientific number) other contexts, such as the following:

(1) Autistic people tend to be either extremely gender non-conforming and oblivious (or deliberately indifferent) to gender norms and expectations, OR, extremely gender-conforming, and hyper-attuned to gender norms and expectations (regardless of whether this related to compliance-training in a very patriarchal society).

(2) Autistic people tend to be either asexual (or somewhere on the asexuality spectrum, including gray-asexual or demisexual), and indifferent or totally repulsed by sex, OR, hyper-sexual, and very desiring of and interested in sexual intimacy.

(3) Autistic people tend to either hold very intense and long-lasting grudges (even for many, many years) and resentment, OR, to let go of wrongs and slights very easily, and have an intensely forgiving and merciful nature.

(4) Autistic people tend to be either extremely aware of and affected by their surrounding climate (temperature, humidity/dryness, etc., either indoors or outdoors), OR, extremely oblivious and indifferent to these factors.

(5) Autistic people tend to either like their drinks/food to be at very cold/hot temperatures, OR, to like their drinks/food to be closer to room temperature and only mildly cool or mildly warm.

(6) Autistic people tend to either develop very strong feelings/opinions about autism and disability-related politics (regardless of what those opinions are), OR, are very indifferent to and uninterested in autism/disability politics.

(7) Among autistic people who do autism/disability activism, we tend to be either very interested in and excited by critical theory type work, OR, we tend to be totally uninterested, put off by, or even irritated by that type of work.

(8) Autistic people tend to be either extremely regimented and strict about timeliness and schedules, and have very high anxiety when timeliness/schedules don't work out, OR, have extreme difficulties in understanding time, and following schedules/keeping appointments/being on time to things.

(9) Autistic people tend to either do really well in school or at conventional/traditional academics (either in K-12, or in college, if they get to go), OR, struggle immensely with school and conventional/traditional academics (either in K-12, or in college, if they get to go), and even fail out.\

(10) Autistic people tend to be either deeply emotionally and intellectually invested in fiction (books, shows, movies, whole fandoms, etc.), OR, have extreme difficulty even cognitively processing or understanding fiction, let alone relating to it.

(11) Autistic people tend to be either really into extremely spicy foods, OR, have an intense aversion to basically anything spicy at all.

(12) Autistic people tend to be either stunningly adept at navigation/directions, OR, terrifying incapable of doing them.

In each of these sets of patterns, the extremes can also exist in the same person. Someone might like certain categories of drinks/food to be at extremely noticeable hot/cold temperatures, but other categories to be at tepid/lukewarm temperatures. Someone might have high anxiety about other people making it on time to things and starting events on time, but also struggle greatly with any expectations of being on time themselves, simply because time is impossible for them. Someone might do very well with one type of school environment, and earn excellent grades and academic achievements, but struggle hard with another type of school environment (commonly they do very well with K-12 and then struggle with higher education, or the reverse).

Note that these are just a few examples, and I'm sure there are hundreds more that any of us could think of, that we've observed in our own lives compared to those of other autistic people we know, work with, love, teach, learn from, or live around.

What I find important about this type of pattern -- that autistics tend to fall into extremes of various characteristics, preferences, or access needs, both between different autistic people and within the same autistic person -- is what it means for accessibility. I don't really have answers or solutions, so much as ideas about starting points here.

For the difference between autistic activists who are really invested in critical theory approaches, and those who have struggles with comprehending critical theory (whether they like it, dislike it, or are indifferent in the abstract), maybe the important thing isn't to try to come to a community-wide consensus about how we will talk about theories relating to autism and disability. Firstly, there is not and has never been such a thing as a single autistic community (and personally, I've been really cynical for several years now that any autistic community truly exists). Secondly, we're a loud and opinionated bunch, and we tend to cling tightly to our opinions (this is very often a good thing, to be clear), so, all of us agreeing on something is highly unlikely to occur. Thirdly, even if we did try to come to some kind of consensus, I'm pretty sure it would be more likely to just fuck over everyone a little instead of making it workable in a meaningful way for everyone, since we'd be asking everyone to compromise their access needs all the time.

A better solution would be a process (not a one-time, end-all-be-all solution) that accounts for many different ways of doing and talking about activism, without treating one of them as better or more important than the others. We can value and support the people who are interested in, learn from, and are personally empowered by critical theory, so long as we also value and support the people who aren't interested in it, can't learn from it, and don't find themselves empowered much at all by it.

Most importantly, real access has to mean not valuing one group over the other (or one tactic over the other, or one access need over the other). When those of us who go to conferences and write academic papers using critical theory get more (or almost all, or the only) attention, funding, opportunities for speaking or leading projects or whatever, and so on, that sends a message that only those of us who can do (never mind like or not) critical theory are really important or worth being in the movement. When all documents, resources, websites, and blog posts use critical theory language, that means that a huge swath of people are automatically excluded. (To be clear, I don't mean that you have to have a formal education, or be upper-class, or have fewer disabilities, to be able to access critical theory. I just mean you have to personally have a brain that understands it, and many of us don't. Personally, I kind of understand it, but only sometimes, and a lot of critical theory concepts are very slippery for me -- but I know I can use at least some of it, and I can and do.)

I know we're (and I'm) not perfect, but I am committed to doing my best to respect everyone's access needs. I just know we can't do it by pretending even implicitly, that we have fairly monolithic needs, or by stopping once we merely acknowledge that we are all different. And I'm open to more observations of other patterns of opposing extremes, and suggestions for handling them -- I hope we can all keep learning from each other.

06 January 2017

Racism, Ableism, and Much-Needed Reminders on Chicago Torture Case

Content/tw: mentions and brief descriptions of sexual violence, torture, racism and specifically anti-Black racism, ableism

photo: a set of six street signs that say, Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism, Classism, Colonialism, Ableism. in the middle is a green banner that says Intersectionality, which is a term coined by a Black woman scholar, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.

(1) The vast majority of everything I've said here, other people have been saying also (even if in different words/language), including and *especially* Black Disabled people. Like Cyrée Jarelle Johnson and Mrs. Kerima Çevik at Intersected. Listen to them. Follow them. Amplify their voices.

(2) What happened to this young white disabled person in Chicago -- his name is Austin Hilbourn, according to some sources -- was wrong. (For those who somehow missed the news, four people tied up a disabled person and beat him, cut off parts of his scalp, and taunted him, while livestreaming it to Facebook.)

(3) This attack was deeply ableist.

(4) The four people who targeted the disabled victim knew him from their school. That means it is highly likely that they knew Austin is disabled, even if they didn't know anything specific about what kind of disabilities he has. As a former disabled high school kid, trust me, everyone can peg the disabled kids. It also means they very likely targeted him because they knew he is disabled and therefore vulnerable and easy to attack.

(5) This type of ableist violence is NOTHING new. The reality for disabled people is that our entire lives are often marked with violence and abuse -- violence that is extremely more likely, more deadly, more brutal, and more erased when the victims are disabled AND marginalized, targeted, or oppressed in other ways. The statistics are horrifying. Anywhere between 83% and upwards of mid-90's-something percent of developmentally disabled "women" (people designated that way by researchers) are raped at least once in their lifetimes, and somewhere upwards of half of that number at least 10 times by the age of 18. Somewhere between half to 70% of all people killed by police are disabled, making Black Disabled or Indigenous Disabled people the most likely to be targeted in police killings. The numbers go on and on and on. They are appalling not just because of what they are but also because they attach to real people's lives and repeated, compounded trauma. Violence against disabled people is SO FUCKING ORDINARY and so often dismissed in the icky approach of "omg who would ever hurt a disabled person?! so horrible!" as though it never happens when in reality it happens all the time.

(6) The only new things in this instance, that are being sensationalized wildly by the media, are that the attackers, who are Black, yelled at the victim, "Fuck Trump supporters" and "Fuck white people." Prosecutors have charged the attackers with a hate crime. Because of these facts, (white) media has decided that this is a case that must be about anti-white racism.

(7) Anti-white racism does not exist. Racism is not just individual bias or prejudice; it's a system of power relations in white supremacy where racial bias and prejudice are backed by claims about science, political institutions, and social/cultural/economic structures.

(8) Obviously the attackers are *prejudiced* against white people. No one aware of the known facts here could possibly think otherwise. But again, (a) prejudice is not the same as racism, which requires an entire system/history/structure of devaluing people (not) in a racial group; and (b) it should be pretty fucking obvious why four young Black people might be prejudiced against white people given how violent and pervasive in all parts of society white supremacy continues to be.

(9) We know Austin is white. We have no idea whether or not he is a Trump supporter, or could even vote and if he could, whether or not he voted for Trump. Anyway, it doesn't matter whether he voted for Trump or not. This kind of violence is not okay no matter who it targets. It is wrong. It is fucked up. And as someone who is extremely anti-Trump myself (which should be obvious to anyone who follows this page), it's additionally fucked up that the attackers did this in the name of resisting Trump.

(10) BTW, even the police have said they believe the victim was targeted for being disabled, not for being white. Though, to be clear, even if he was targeted for being white, (a) he was also targeted equally for being disabled, and (b) it still doesn't mean the attackers are reverse racist; it means they're prejudiced against white people, and ableist assholes to boot.

(11) Yes folks should be outraged that this happens. Feel outraged that the attackers did this. Feel outraged that the prosecutor described them as kids who made mistakes but shouldn't have their lives ruined over them. But where was your similar level of outrage every single damn time Black Disabled people are tortured, abused, raped, and murdered? Whether by caregivers, teachers, the police, or strangers? And where the violence is *clearly* tied to disability, to race, and often the entanglement of the two? And where similar words are spoken -- that they're good kids / good parents / good teachers / good officers, who made mistakes / snapped / lost it -- those words result in zero accountability? Where is your outrage for Korryn Gaines? Tanisha Anderson? Kajieme Powell? Melissa Stoddard? Terrance Coleman? Kayleb Moon-Robinson? Neli Latson? The young Black Disabled person who was brutally and viciously raped by several white football players, all of whom have gotten off scott-free for their attack? And many, many others?

(12) The four attackers in this case will most definitely end up in prison, with severe charges, and spend significant amount of time locked up, with hate crimes charges. The vast majority of white people who torture, abuse, rape, or murder Black Disabled people will not.

(13) White folks trying to call this the "BLMKidnapping" (Black Lives Matter kidnapping, for those unfamiliar with the acronym) are completely missing that (a) the attackers never once invoked Black Lives Matter as a movement; (b) even if they claim to be supporters of it, didn't do something Black Lives Matter actually advocates for; and (c) when white people commit obviously racist crimes, like the attack on a historically Black church in Charleston, it's not blamed on every white person nor are all white people expected to take responsibility and apologize or be publicly excoriated in the media.

(14) The rush to associate this attack with the Black Lives Matter movement, along with vicious and dehumanizing comments about the attackers -- like calling them monsters, calling for horrible things to be done to them, etc. -- calls to mind the lynch mobs that in a frenzy, would round up young Black people to publicly and brutally murder them in retaliation for crimes they supposedly (and maybe in some cases, actually) committed, while celebrating their violence. These rhetorical responses are racist as fuck.

(15) The attackers did something horrific and wrong. Perhaps unforgivable. The victim will have to live for the rest of his life with the trauma of not only the abuse itself but of having his torture livestreamed for the world to witness at the hands of his own classmates, people he probably saw on some consistent basis even if he did not really know them well or personally. He might never fully recover from what happened in some senses of the word. Undoubtedly, he won't receive disability culturally competent trauma-informed care. The attackers have done this. But in no way can or should caring and committed people attempt to turn this around and add to the racist shitshow by basically calling for the public spectacle of humiliation and violence against the Black attackers either.

(16) I don't believe in relying on police or prisons to promote "justice," so I'm not going to be calling for these four people to go to prison, because I'm deeply uncomfortable with the idea that prison/punishment must be the only possible solution. HOWEVER, these clear and undeniable disparities in how these cases are talked about by media and treated by police, prosecutors, and courts, provide more evidence of how UNJUST the in-justice system is in handling hate crimes against multiply-oppressed people in particular.

(17) Remember, ableism and racism and part and parcel with one another. White supremacy depends on ableism to further its eugenic mission -- of deciding which people are valuable, worthy, and desirable, which people are functional, healthy, normal, and fit. The victim in this case is not just any white person -- this person is someone whom white supremacy would also reject as not the best standard of whiteness, e.g., ability. Stop talking about this case if you cannot understand one basic fact -- disability justice requires racial justice. Disability justice requires the end of white supremacy. Black and Disabled communities are not separate entities that must now be pitted against each other; they overlap in deep and intricate ways, and Black Disabled artists, scholars, activists, organizers, and community and cultural workers have already been working for decades or longer at the intersections. Folks like Leroy F. Moore, Jr., and Patricia Berne, and Talila (TL) Lewis, and Jazzie Collins, La Mesha Irizarry, and Brad Lomax, and as far back as Harriet Tubman, alongside many, many, many others. They understand/understood these truths because they live them in ways that I, as a disabled east asian person of color, still don't, because of how our experiences against racism differ profoundly.

(18) The latest events in Chicago have got me shaken up and enraged and devastated, because not only has a fellow disabled person been subject to appalling ableist violence, but that very same violence has already become an excuse for virulent and violent anti-Black racism that will inevitably target my Black Deaf, Mad, and Disabled comrades the most -- and unless those with relatively more privilege and power keep speaking and keep amplifying their work and their voices, they will be the only ones left defending their humanity and right to exist.