Based on the important and excellent essay, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh, as well as other, similar lists that have followed, this is the beginning of a version to address the privilege that comes with having no known neurological disorder or disability.
I would like to ask readers who are autistic or otherwise non-neurotypical to add to this list, and to offer criticism of anything I've listed that is not appropriate. If you are NT, you are also welcome to contribute observations about your own privilege. Civil debate on whether or not "neurotypical" is a useful or appropriate term is welcome, but will be stopped and moved to another post if this begins to be the primary focus. Also, if anyone knows of a list like this that has already been published, please let me know.
The Checklist of Neurotypical Privilege
- I have never been asked to prove that I am neurotypical.
- I am allowed to use the word “we” without being accused of trying to speak for all neurotypical people.
- I can share my opinions publicly without fear of being accused of not really being neurotypical.
- I can assume that police officers will not become alarmed at my natural body language, and find it necessary to subdue me in advance of any wrongdoing.
- I can reveal to my boss and coworkers that I am NT, without fear of losing my job.
- I can assume that most restaurants, theaters, stores and other places I would like to go will not be so loud or brightly lit or crowded that I will become unable to function at a basic level.
- I can easily find other NT people in movies or on television shows that are not explicitly about being neurotypical.
- When people realize I am neurotypical, they do not ask me if I am like a particular character they have seen in a movie.
- I do not have to fear that important decisions about my life will be made by autistic or other non-neurotypical people, just because I am neurotypical.
- I am not expected to alter or suppress my natural ways of moving, interacting or expressing emotion in most circumstances.
- If I fail to alter or suppress my natural ways of moving, interacting or expressing emotion, I do not fear public ridicule or exclusion because of this.
- When seeking medical care, I am not expected to reveal that I am NT.
When attempting to purchase health insurance, I do not fear I will be rejected because I am NT.
- The majority of people who make the laws of my nation share my neurology.
- I am never or rarely asked to explain what it means or what it is like to be neurotypical.
- I can talk about my life without being asked what I think may have caused me to be neurotypical.
- If I have a medical problem, I do not worry that my doctor will dismiss it as part of my neurotypicality.
- If I am happy with the way my mind works, no one questions this or argues that most people with similar brains would prefer to be different.
- People don’t usually confuse me with another neurotypical person, or expect me to take responsibility for what the other person has said.
- I am not assumed to be incapable of empathy or compassion.