Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Skepticism's ableism problem again: Skepchick et cetera.

I'm a bit late to the blogging party on this one, which is ironic because it's all my fault that the Skepchicks are sadpants because their ableism was called as much.

I am not linking to their fuckups or to the posts that are followup fuckups because I don't give traffic to ableists. It is not a thing I do. Especially as it requires looking shit up again and I am tired and, well, late to my own party.

I don't always go to war with organizations, but when I do it's on accident because I mistakenly thought they gave a shit about being better people.

So. Skepchick authors (multiple!) collaborated on a sarcastic valentine to the jackasses who DDOS'd their site. Great! I love sarcasm directed at asshats!

Oh wait except their message had nothing to do whatsoever with how people who shout and holler about FREE SPEECH are big fucking hypocrites when they DDOS a site to shut them up. It was all "stupidest motherfucker" and "fucking idiot" and "I am truly impressed you remember to breathe".


"You are so cognitively impaired it is amazing that you can even handle autonomic functions" is one of the most revolting things I have heard in a while. And from people who pretend to be for equality it is even worse. They're oh so for social justice, except their go to insult is...still people like me.

So I message Surly Amy on twitter (because she illustrated it. Also I met her at the first geek girl con, and bought several surlyramics, which I can't even look at without gagging now) and also at the whole collective. Enter the white able tears! Like, right from the get go. My favorite was the "well you did it too!" when I called it an astonishing lack of thought.

Except saying someone didn't think isn't at all disparaging their ability. It's commenting on their action (lack of action). Their entire damn collective's lack of action, because that should not have gotten past all of them.

White able woman tears got more dramatic from this point. Rebecca Watson, who caught enormous amounts of hate for pointing out that cornering a woman in an elevator at 3AM when she had said she didn't want to be hit on is not cool, went full out double triple down ablesplainer nightmare. And she made it about the word "stupid". Now, the word "stupid" is ableist. However, that is not what I initially most strenuously objected to.

This is disingenuous as fuck, Ms Watson. I know that people like me are your go to insult, but your tactic is transparent: make it about the most pervasive word so that your critics look ridiculous to the majority, and ignore the entirety of your heinous behavior.

And then of course skeptics, being oh so skeptical, decided it was a false flag operation from various nasty corners of the internet. Never mind that the initial callout was from my personal twitter (with a picture and years of history, and a link to this blog with more years of history, also my name...which also, um, years of history). Obviously trolls.

No skepticism at all there, folks. Occam's Razor apparently clearly dictates that I set up this blog, my twitter, my speaking, authoring, et cetera solely to troll Amy, Elyse, Rebecca, etc. I've done all my activism, clearly, just so that the day would come when I could persecute them (for things they actually did! that actually suck!) as a troll. Yep. Or at least that's what they and their syncophants came up with.

Damn, if that is doing skepticism correctly, I am glad to be doing it wrong, since it is completely fucking nonsensical. They aren't worth that kind of effort, frankly, and it's really quite bullshit to suggest that my positions are anything but sincere. I have dealt with phenomenal amounts of shit for my positions.

So. Yeah. Skepticism fail. Research fail. Too busy crying privileged tears to think outside themselves.

So. That was a problem. But there was also a problem from someone who tries to get things usually, LousyCanuck/Jason Thibeault. It wasn't as vile as the Skepchicks going out of their way to be oppressive, and I've been trying to word it since we conversed on twitter (a truly exhausting exchange).

Ok, so part the first. "I don't think stupid is always a slur but I don't use it because it's imprecise" is doing the better thing for not exactly great reasons. Disabled people say that stupid is a slur. So you should believe the folks who say that. Yes, it is imprecise (much as 'nice' is) but I should hope that not hurting people is a high priority.

Also, um, citation needed for not always a slur. Disabled people are held to ridiculously high standards of evidence regarding things being hurtful where folks--the same folks--will take the word of other marginalized people. So this is not exactly ok.

The thing I really take issue with, though, happened in the twitter conversation itself. It was truly infuriating, in that Jason said it and that he seemed to think it was a reasonable explanation for people being intentionally oppressive assholes and that he didn't seem to be understanding why it's not.

He told me that anti SJ people will take ridiculous positions of made up outrage to try to make social justice look ridiculous, & so the Skepchicks clearly thought that's what was happening, and therefore they doubled down.



This is not ok.

Firstly, this says that y'all think disability rights is ridiculous. That no one would actually sincerely be against ableism. This is especially problematic in skeptic spaces, where "but having cognitive problems is objectively bad!" is such a common excuse for ableism. Fucking own your ableism, folks, say "yeah I am a bigot". But don't expect disabled people to be ok with you thinking our quest for rights is so absurd that mistaking us for trolls is the Occam's Razor Solution.

That's bigotry and it is wrong and you are not for social justice if that's your deal.

Secondly, this is again holding us to a much higher standard than it is them. See the section, above, with how very difficult it is to find my over a decade of holding strong disability rights positions. Why the hell do they not have to do research, but we're expected to be ok with them being flagrantly nasty because they came to the wrong conclusion?

Also it's excusing their behavior. Don't do that guys. If someone fucks up, hold them accountable. Consistently people have been feeling sooo bad for them because I publicly said I'm probably getting rid of my surlies. Oh. No. The. Humanity. But no one cares about the people actually hurt by their attitude. It's all about how sadpants they are that a few people called them on it.

There is no excuse. None. It doesn't matter if they thought we were...I can't even think of something more ridiculous than what they actually think, actually. This is indefensible.

This was not ok.

So, yet another disappointing organization that I thought I could respect. People who, it turns out, don't think I am a person. Who think I am their go to insult. Who think that we are so much non-people that their upset at being called out for being oppressive matters more than the dehumanization and such they are actually inflicting on us.

Feminism & skepticism need to clean their damn houses. I don't see this happening. Have fun with your able woman tears, y'all. I'm taking my ball & going to movements that think I'm a person.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Embracing love in face of fear

I hadn't planned on doing a second post for the Love Not Fear flashblog but this concept wouldn't get out of my head so here it is.

Long time readers and friends (and probably people who don't like me too) will know that I used to be a gymnast, that I play around on high powered trampolines when I can, that I have jumped off a cliff into freezing cold water (and can't wait to do it again), that I climb rocks, and possibly that jumping out of a plane and similar things are my entire bucket list.

They may also know that because of medical conditions, the risk of losing awareness and control are greater for me, and also that the risks that come with injury are greater for me.

What people tend to assume from this is that I don't feel fear. And that? Is not true. When I was a gymnast, I felt afraid of new skills. There are things I could do that I was apprehensive of every single time. Climbing challenging walls has moments of apprehension no matter how many times I climb the route and no matter how much I trust the person at the bottom. Jumping into Crater Lake? Was scary every single time. Skydiving terrifies me.

But I can choose to turn into that fear. I can choose to run away from it or run with it. I can fight it or I can embrace it.

Embracing the fear? It's odd. There's this thing that happens when you say "This scares me but I am opening up to new ways of looking at it. I am doing it anyway." I can run my Litany Against Fear and do the thing anyway, and find something besides terror, besides the mind-killer.

I can embrace the fear and find joy. I can see the fear for what it is and yet also find joy, find love. I can be afraid without acting fearful. Fearfulness turns defensive turns angry. I know this because there are fears that cannot be embraced, that are necessary, with little risk of reward at the end.

Many, though, aren't. And I will turn to those fears, like I spent years doing in the gym, like I do to jump off high things, like I do to climb, to try new things, to meet new people, to advocate even. To find love. To promote love.

If you have an Autistic family member, I encourage you, too, to look down the cliff at the cold lake below, or at the balance beam that is just 4" wide, or at the trampoline that can throw you a story high, or out of the plane. Whichever metaphor works for you. I encourage you to look. And then I encourage you to run with your fear. And jump. Or climb. Embrace it.

And by not letting fear defeat you, you can find joy and you can find love. It is worth it. We are worth it. You owe it to your loved one and to yourself to choose love.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Litany Against Fear/Litany for Love

For the Love Not Fear flashblog. With thanks to Frank Herbert for the Litany Against Fear used here.
I must not fear. 
Every time I have these conversations, the ones that devolve into hate, I remember: I am moved by love.
Fear is the mind-killer. 
They are afraid and fear is turning to anger and anger is turning to hate, but I can be fierce with love for their kids, for Autistics present, past, future.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. 
Standing strong in the face of the wall of dehumanizing hatred is an act of love. My love for my community is my shield and my strength, and it is tempered by ice and by fire.
I will face my fear.
I will stand with love. I am standing for love.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me. 
This is for their children. This is for those who I will know in the future. Who I love without having met yet. For those I know now, and love with such ferocity there are not words for it. 
The anger and hate hurts, but it will not break me. 

And when it has gone past me I will turn to see its path. 
Change is coming. Change has started and more will come, like a wave or a landslide or even a waterfall. 

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing...
Our efforts, our love, is not in vain. The children and adults we are fighting for will feel the ripples from our work, even if we never meet them.
Only I will remain.
At the end of the day, love will prevail.
Fierce, ferocious, fiery, protective, strong, squishy, gentle, love.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Elegy for a friendship

Several months ago I had a hard time, neuropsychologically--I was run up into my breaking point & had started to push. I wrote a bit about causes and contributing factors, but not much at all about what was actually happening in my life right that moment.

One thing that happened in my life at that time is a fracturing of one of my most precious and treasured friendships. I don't make friends easily, especially not the kind of friends who are like family is supposed to be. I'm not the easiest person to get to know, and I know where I stand on things (and what stances are mutually incompatable in a friend), and I have complicated access needs ("do without" is territory in which no potential friend would even consider treading). So--friend friends? Are to be treasured.

When something happens with one of these rare gems of people, then, it's kind of world-shakingly bad. It's hard to recover from. Change is bad, especially unexpected unpleasant change with no redeeming value. Something that falling into my "actually trustable and safe" ctegory requires is massive predictability, so it's more shattering than when someone merely a friendly acquaintence does the exact same thing.

So. Yeah. a thing happened. Namely, someone I literally trusted with my life (and a key to my apartment, and stories that will certainly never be published here, and literally I do mean with my life) called Purkinje an ableist slur. That isn't ok. It isn't ok when I am at my best and it isn't ok when I am at the edge, dropping things off and considering racing them to the bottom. That's epically bad timing, yes, but wanting someone out of my sight and/or life for that is consistent across all my states of being.

As is consistent with my character, I wanted my friend to fuck off and not fuck back on again. Or maybe fuck back on again eventually but I was pretty devestated. I'm not convinced now that the "never fuck back on again" still stands.

I miss my friendship and I miss my friend. Our conversations, inside jokes, knowing that trust is a given, that obviously at least someone is on my side, that I am in fact making sense (or not) and that any not understanding is genuine rather than obfuscation,  our silly traditions. There's a bit empty hole in my soul where this relationship used to be, and it's a hole for the kind of dynamic that is a once-in-a-lifetime-if-you-re-very-lucky deal.

I care for this person enough to not name them here, not without permission, that isn't what I want to do at all. That seems disrespectful, somehow. I like to think that my principles, like "I will not name non publicish people on my blog without their permission and a fucking good reason" and "don't fucking use dehumanizing ableist language and expect to get away with it" are part of my...charm? and part of why our friendship was what it was. The double edged sword of that is that some principles do not yield and that might be part of why it's broken, shattered, gone.

I've thought really hard about that. I'm not sorry that I'm like that, not really--but I am sad, a little, that I'm not sorry that I'm like that? Most of the things that clash with my principles are "and nothing of value was lost" situations.

This particular friendship, though, was of immeasurable value. The illusion that even someone disabled and difficult-ass like me can have that sort of friendship, can be a real person in all the ways, can have the kind of friendship most people never experience, that was priceless. But that's the big overall thing. It's the little daily things, the components, the inside jokes and the things that make other people in public go "oh my god..." and the traditions and all of it, the things that are observable but that there's no words for. There is nothing in the universe that pays for that loss. Nothing.

If this person texted me tomorrow, I don't know if it could ever be the same again ever. But I so want a time machine to somehow make that moment have never happened. I miss everything. I miss the hard and the easy, the silly and the serious, the venting, the hugs.

I miss my friendship, & I miss my friend.

For clarity: this really had nothing whatsoever to do with the mentioned having-a-hard-time, except for happening at chronologically the same time. I was staring at the abyss before this happened. This is not "and this happened and therefore lost it" but "I was already not doing well and then bad timing also awful and I has teh sads"