Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Square Talk: Exclusion

25 comments:

  1. Excellent and relevant as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome, as usual! I really like how the "diamond" had 4 equal sides like the squares. It really sends a message about exclusion even among those who claim to support neurodiversity.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Damn, girl! That's awesome.

    I worry, though. How do we include exclusionary people? I mean, my gut reaction to people who exclude others is to say, "Fine, then. Get lost." But then, I'm being exclusionary, too, yes? In fact, I'm just reinforcing the us-them thinking that is the problem in the first place.

    I suppose that keeping the dialog going is the only way to keep us all in this together, even if it means that we're none-too-gracious about it at times.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They say "a picture is worth a thousand words". So since your little strip actually has five pictures in it, it's worth at least five thousand.

    I hope people actually listen.

    Joe

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bullies are the ones who exclude themselves. Getting too wrapped up in worry that excluding them is a bad thing, is a perfect way to ensure that you exclude their targets as well as the people who have been terrorized by the bullies into fearing that they could be next. Sometimes you have to make a choice. Which is why on the Internet most people understand that if they don't shut out trolls then they are by default shutting out lots of people who have done nothing wrong at all.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree about excluding bullies; I am not tolerant of everyone, especially the intolerant. But there is a whole spectrum of people who live between the poles of "people I agree with" and "outright bullies who must be stopped." There are people who are exclusionary because they just haven't opened their eyes yet, because they're afraid, because they're dealing with loneliness and self-abasement, because they're at a particular place in their own particular development---pretty much all the things that I struggle with every day. So, except for the fact that we draw a different conclusion, "they" tend to have a lot in common with "me." I just have an innate, visceral response to words like "hierachy" and "exclusion," which makes being inclusive much easier (though I'm sure I still have areas of blindness to overcome).

    ReplyDelete
  7. I got that here was a circle, which is totally unrelated to the other shapes, which was telling the squares what to think. In the end, the circle was seen to be upsetting everything, and benefiting from the uproar by then making them all out to be fakes. It seems to me this is an example of how bullying is often actually instigated by outside parties. The other thing that struck me is how during the upset all of them were turned on edge, and the "squares" became "diamonds", and the "diamond" became a "square". Bev, is that a comment on how we're really not quite so different from each other, or just that it's not necessarily so easy to tell, when we're stressed, or under different pressures than we would otherwise be?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Definitely food for thought.
    Especially lately.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Rylee,
    Thanks for your comments and question. All of the squares here represent different ways autism can look. Some advocates of neurodiversity are very good at recognizing that light gray squares, dark gray squares, black and white squares are all autistic. But sometimes a square comes along who looks less familiar. In cases like that, the less familar seeming square is often attacked by people attempting to discredit the idea of neurodiversity (of course this is usually stated as being against the "movement" toward neurodiversity, neatly avoiding the reality that diversity just is.)

    Sometimes squares who look more like what they think they are supposed to look like can get caught up in this abuse. The reasons for this can range from fear of being attacked themselves to internalized oppression and can take the form of "Aspie Supremacy" as well as defamation of well known autistic persons. Whatever the reason behind the action, the consequences of this abuse are far-reaching and the responsibility for stopping it needs to be shared.

    Your observations are right on target, except that I wasn't thinking so much of how stress affects our appearances and behaviors. More about how the intentional targeting of one person harms all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very well done. Does the seesaw represent the weight of privilege?

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Bev: In that case, that diamond is probably my dad! Seriously, he has some autistic traits and he supports neurodiversity. I would be a square, having gotten an autism label when I was 2 1/2 years old.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am not sure squareness is an age of diagnosis thing as much as a "does this person easily fit stereotypes" thing. I was diagnosed age 14 (and in modern times would've been picked up when I lost speech in early toddlerhood) but I have been treated like the diamond because I have a somewhat unusual (and entirely unnamed) subtype of autism. At the least it is unusual in the online community. I have met lots of people of this sort over the years but we haven't been the majority online. And when I went to school with other autistic people there was only one person out of maybe twenty there who was of that subtype besides me. So not the tiniest minority but not the majority and when people imagine an autistic person's experience they rarely imagine us.

    So then when many people with more typical or more stereotypical traits hears of our sorts of experiences, they don't make the same intuitive sense they make to us. At best, they listen and learn, or at least accept we aren't all the same. At worst they go "You're not autistic because real autistic people... [insert more typical experience here]." When by "real" they really mean "people like them", they don't (or refuse to) understand the diversity of autism that can exist even among people superficially similar enough to pick up the same diagnosis. (My experience has been that which label a person gets depends on superficial features and says nothing about deeper traits and experiences.). I wrote a blog post yesterday about the subtype I am describing here.

    And that "this person's experiences are counter-intuitive to me" response can be exploited by bullies and trolls. They can try to plant seeds that manipulate people into reacting with suspicion rather than respect when someone is unfamiliar to them. And that is a terrible thing that makes life the hardest for people of the many many subtypes of autism that depart from stereotype and are not in the majority. (Being in the majority in this instance is a huge piece of privilege.).

    The funny thing to me is how people say those of us in the minority are fake autistics, when I think anyone faking autism would have the sense to try to look like the majority. If I were to fake autism I would try to look like a regular square -- with stable abilities, the ability to consistently recognize objects and (with the exception of auditory processing stuff) words, the ability to have consistent symbolic thought (whether words, pictures, abstract symbols, pick any), lots of a particular kind of literal logical thinking, etc. But that isn't me.

    I liked the way the diamond was really just a square in another position. It was a neat way of saying that even though we are differently configured from each other we are all still autistic.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Best square comic EVER!!!!

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go walk on my corners.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Geometry fail, there. That, too, is a square, just rotated. "Diamond" just means "hard", as in "adamant" and is geometrically meaningless. Maybe you could have made it a rhomboid, or parallelogram, instead. Y'know, sides of equal length, but corners not quite square.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, I know it's a square and that "diamond" is not a meaningful label for a shape. The circle may or not know this. The squares here, well, they have attributed much more weight to their orientations than is deserved. Nothing against other parallelograms, of course. Some of my best friends are.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes, I know it's a square and that "diamond" is not a meaningful label for a shape.

    I understood that to be highly significant to the point.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bev,
    I have a question.
    I find all the "square talks" comics very great.
    I'm on a french forum on autism but most of the people there don't understand english.
    (the french forum is http://forum.asperansa.org/ )
    so, i wanted to ask you if i could translate your comics into french and publish it on that forum.
    (of course i would write that the comics are made by you and link to your site and the originals posts)
    Is it possible?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ole Ferme l'Oeil,

    Sure, that's fine with me. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wonderful! I printed the picture and put it on my fridge. My Kids both love it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wonderful work as usual Bev, insight laid out very clearly.


    Stealing space to pass a message - Clay - error report I get for the comment box from ie8 follows, Duno if it means anything that can be helped.

    Webpage error details

    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0)
    Timestamp: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 22:01:29 UTC


    Message: 'gloader' is undefined
    Line: 418
    Char: 28
    Code: 0
    URI: http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com/2010/04/earthday-candle.html


    Message: 'gadgets' is undefined
    Line: 487
    Char: 9
    Code: 0
    URI: http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com/2010/04/earthday-candle.html


    Message: 'gadgets' is undefined
    Line: 536
    Char: 5
    Code: 0
    URI: http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com/2010/04/earthday-candle.html


    Message: 'gadgets' is undefined
    Line: 20
    Char: 1389
    Code: 0
    URI: http://www.blogger.com/static/v1/jsbin/4148828077-comment_from_post_iframe.js


    Message: 'google' is undefined
    Line: 730
    Char: 5
    Code: 0
    URI: http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com/2010/04/earthday-candle.html

    I get similar undefineds with different words for Soc.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @ Patrick - I don't know what all that means. I would guess your problem comes from using Internet Explorer? I like Firefox, while Socrates was just saying that Chrome is best. I dunno. I hope you're able to solve the problem so you can comment.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Quite frankly I have never felt I fitted in with the hub particularly well, but that is another story.

    I guess I am one of the guilty parties in this latest Punch and Judy self immolation fest, for continuing to post on the current culprit's blog, but then I post on Jonathan Mitchells blog, and even John Best's, and I would post on AoA and AS if they would let me. (which they don't)

    It is all a side show to the essential issue, this is just the latest internecine dispute between bloggers, there will be others. I have not taken sides no matter how it seems to those who have.

    I am personally disgusted with the whole of 'our' community, yes all sides of it for allowing us all to be brought to ridicule and opprobrium when there are larger issues at stake. I know because I have seen this all before over and over again, in left wing and libertarian circles.

    I have other things to worry about than insults and name calling, bigger potential threats to my blog than other bloggers.

    I made the big mistake myself recently on a blog, which I have now withdrawn, of shooting the messenger, and dissing a guy who had the misfortune to be merely the bearer of the message of autism speaks. That has had consequences well beyond the blogosphere, and was I guess a lesson I learned the hard way.

    The option is there to complain to the blog host, though depending on which jurisdiction they inhabit the response is varied but if the 'offender' lives in the UK, you are on to a winner if you have a good lawyer.

    If I am a villain in this, then I am, I cannot control what others think, and I don't condone them either.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bev, thought of you when I saw this today: http://thedailywh.at/post/674466743/tee-of-the-day-squares-and-triangles-agree-by#disqus_thread

    ReplyDelete

Squawk at me.
Need to add an image?
Use this code [img]IMAGE-URL-HERE[/img]