Monday, April 6, 2020

Autism Answer: Asymptomatic Privilege

Walk in the shoes and listen to the truths of others.

A straight able-bodied cognitively healthy white man walks around with privilege, in most societies. He doesn't always know or see it. Most often, he does not see it or believe it.

He could, of course. But it takes humility, imagination, and a listening ear. 

When people take the time to tell their stories, to show their symptoms, and to reveal the role you may have played in contaminating them - unknowingly - you can listen, turn off your desire to respond with explanations or stories of your own, and believe. 

You can consider the possibility that you are walking around with privilege that you cannot see or feel. Not because you are actually asymptomatic, but because you recognize any symptoms you're living with as something else. 

A person with privilege is not a person who has no challenges in their lives. It is not a person who does not have to overcome, work hard for what they want, face obstacles along the way. It is simply someone with less of those. Someone for whom most systems are built and, hence, most systems work specifically for. 

I get it. I wouldn't want to risk losing that either. I don't want to lose that. Until I see how many of my fellow humans are unfairly challenged. Until I see how much less I get out of a world that doesn't - without question or hesitation - change itself when we are asked to recognize who we are hurting or leaving behind. 

We are all living with varying degrees of privilege. And we are all exposing each other in varying degrees. 

When it comes to privilege, I think maybe some of us aren't as asymptomatic as we proclaim. But, rather, we are denying our symptoms or explaining them away with excuses and invented proof. 

As Dr. Lynette Louise said in a recent article: "If this period has taught us anything, it has taught us that we are globally intertwined. We contaminate each other. It is up to us to decide what we contaminate each other with."

Let's be purposeful, kind, inclusive, vulnerable, and brave.

Let's recognize our symptoms and take steps to make healthy changes. 

“You can’t walk gingerly. You have to step in and say I am going to love you robustly, and we are going to get to the end of this!”~Dr. Lynette Louise, aka The Brain Broad

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)