Friday, June 06, 2008

Diversely Defended

Sometimes I think that people stay confused about what motivates people to do what they do instead of trying to find out the reasons. It seems we tend to describe people within our society as losers based on a game that is considered standard and allows little room for difference. Sometimes people seem way behind in a race simply because they are focused on an entirely different finish line. Strict societal standards often leave people who can't or don't fit into the boxes that are defined for us, having to work really hard at finding appropriate goals. We also have to work hard at understanding how others see us, how we can fit into society, and how much of that we need in order to survive. Beyond survival, we have to choose how much of that we want.

How we defend ourselves as individuals, and as we relate to the labels that society gives us, also often presents a real difficulty for us when so much of what we see describes our difference as inferior, unwanted, and unworthy of respect. When we feel engulfed by this way that society sees us, it's often difficult to see how to defend ourselves because the attitudes that are our enemies are too close for us to see. We often don't have a lot of resources for where to learn about such things.

That's one reason why I think that blogging is such a valuable resource for autistics and our friends and family. The autistic population can also make a big difference in how many other diverse populations are defended, taught, defined, respected and how their rights are protected. We cannot only learn from other diverse populations that have had to fight for their civil rights, but I think we have something to offer as well.

We have to be able to hear from more people to help us know the best ways to empower those that society tends to disempower. Too often societal standards allow for and encourage the view that the discarded and unseen are a necessary evil that is the only way to ensure progress. Few castles exist without dungeons so we need to be careful of the ways we honor or promote what we call our royalty.

This often reminds me that if what someone says may help someone to understand something better, I wish it didn't matter so much what credentials they had or what label society has placed on their validity as a person. Unfortunately, too often it seems people are too busy trying to decide whether or not someone is valid enough by society's standards for them to take the time to understand what actually IS credible about what they're saying.

It seems that often when I'm trying to get across something that I know really does have value, people are evaluating my societal status instead of the point I'm trying to get across. Sometimes it sounds to me something like this: "Who are you and why should I accept anything that you say has value." or "Who has given you the appropriate credentials that makes what you say valid". and "How do I know whether or not what you say is valuable if no one who has been described as valuable has ever valued you."

This political, status seeking game continues to fight against itself and make losers of most players and eventually causes the group who is seen as the elite winners to dwindle in size.

Claiming that victims see themselves as victims and cause their own victimization is a type of victimization itself that encourages the same in others and creates a vicious cycle. Aside from my personal view as to the moral aspects of why that is wrong it also seems completely impractical. When someone does become an achiever by society's standards if the attitude they are surrounded by encourages toxic emotions that damage their esteem, they sentence themselves to the bottom of the ladder that they may be under the false impression that they have climbed.

I've heard it said that sometimes we are less respectful, gracious, and appreciative of those we are closest to. There's something about that pack mentality that motivates us to over-groom until we taste blood. Then our responsibility gives way to our more temporary primal need to eat. We tend to eat our young (so to speak). What's sad is that humans are the one species who have the most capacity to care and yet we are the only species that kills for no reason.

When more restrictions are placed on the public and less are placed on the public's government, this creates more opportunities for there to be a corrupt government. It also encourages the laws that are broken by the public to be described among those in power as the biggest problem. While this is convenient, it makes many of the problems that need to be addressed more even worse. Furthermore, it promotes the idea that might is right.
"The little kid on the playground was pestering the bigger kid." is too often seen as the reason for the little kid being hurt by the bigger kid. Often the bigger kid has been given more opportunities to create allies AND sometimes little kids aren't as visible on the playground, so they are more easy to ignore and later be seen as inconvenient to the overall progress for the goals of playground activity by the teacher or playground activities director. OR
"The deputy sheriff had just cause to shoot the suspect first." This is defined this way for the protection of nothing but the sheriffs department....Unless the suspect was the mayor's son or daughter. Then the protection goes to the highest bidder. AND "The teacher who abused the child is also a victim....and the school system is a victim of poor funding"....because the school system must be protected....unless the child was the mayer's son or daughter....where does it end?

When we advocate for the more vulnerable populations among ourselves, we often meet with the same type of barriers no matter what that population is. Too often these barriers and unfair treatments don't need to be right in anyone's moral or ethical view as long as those with enough political power can find a way to temporarily avoid or stamp out what is a problem to them.

Difference isn't just an excuse to ask for accommodations from those who have the ability to provide them and don't. We who are different (contrary to what often seems to me to be the most popular belief) are more than just consumers. We have lots to offer that gets overlooked and we want and need to provide that.

If those with resources really want to solve the problem of what they see as a drain on what they feel are *their* resources by the rest of us whom they see as useless eaters, the best way to do that is to look for and encourage what we have to offer. The games of exclusion that may at times seem harmless, can and often do lead to the ideals that promote eradication. The winners in the game that ultimately eradicates its losers will meet with nothing more than an empty and temporary victory. The sweet taste of temporary success will meet with the eventual bitter taste that accompanies having lost at the game that they created and/or promoted.


At 6:28 AM , Blogger Socrates said...

Hi Ed, I'm an adult autistic too. My view on the world is here . And the conclusion I've come to is, that my best contribution to the "Debate" is to tell the truth about the reality of life for many of us in the UK.

At 7:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought provoking post. I don't have words....

At 5:44 PM , Anonymous jd said...

Hi Ed,

I found your videos a little while back on youtube and am checking out your blog now. I find that I always enjoy your thoughtful material and your approach to putting your mind to work at the relevant tasks at hand. Thanks for your hard work!

At 5:47 PM , Anonymous jd said...

p.s. I often find myself noticing that people frequently don't know what other options are available and feel discouraged without examining them further. But this then reminds me that one of the best things a person can do is to believe in an ideal and see the potential for its fruition - and state it for others to consider!

At 8:10 AM , Blogger Ed said...

Thanks jd,
That youtube account of mine has been collecting a lot of dust lately.

I plan to post another video soon. :)


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