Monday, August 17, 2015

Our House

I was banned for 24 hrs from Facebook on 8/14/15 for a comment I made on 8/3/15 on a page I help moderate. I'm not so much angry about being on a temporary ban because I've been banned and blocked from various sites/groups/forums across the internet so I'm used to it. I'm pretty outspoken and much of the time pretty blunt. I make people upset, I get that.

What does bother me is the reason why I was temporarily banned. It's the principle behind it. I was defending an Autistic community member from someone who was being abusive and the person I called out just didn't like it... so they reported it. (presumably multiple times, given how long it took for FB to act)

The Facebook community I help moderate has a little over 25k followers and is called Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance (PACLA) Despite the word parenting in the title of this community, it is not a parent support page, but an intentional community that provides an Autistic safe space in order to help parents connect with and learn from Autistic people.

Since PACLA is considered an Autistic safe space, we have guidelines for our community members to follow and frankly we are not very forgiving on those who break these guidelines. Yes, I know that just makes us horrible.

Only it doesn't.

We have a duty to protect our Autistic community members over the feelings of nonautistic and/or ableist people. Even if the offending comment is unintentional! As a moderator I am going to protect the Autistic safe space we promise over sparing the feelings of those being ableist.

Something else that so many don't get...

We don't have to be anyone's teachable moment, but some people are always demanding we put aside our right to be seen as humans that deserve respect and dignity to teach.them.a.thing. These people, many of them parents, don't like being reminded that we are not a resource, but a group of people... really real human being type people.

Okay... SO.... on to what got me banned:

On August 3 I posted a screenshot from a nonspeaking community member (and friend of mine) where she was telling FB land about how someone spoke about her, in front of her, to her mother like she wasn't even there.

Below is the screen shot and in the caption there is a link to the post.

Link to post HERE
Screenshot reads: Dear random person who asked my mom at Whole Foods today if I was autistic... then replied with, "My son is low-functioning autistic too. It's so HARD some days, isn't it?" :
How dare you speak about an autistic person right in front of them!
I may not speak, but I can hear, and I fully understand what you are implying, fucking jerk. And how dare you assume things about my intelligence and support needs. You don't even know me or anything about my life. My life as an autistic person is awesome. Yes, it's incredibly hard at times, but it's hard because of ignorant people like you. Sincerely,Me
Immediately after this was posted many people honed in on the other mom, had sympathy for her and went on to police the feelings and language of the person who was hurt in this situation. Several people told this person to take it as a teachable moment and tried to 'splain the thing to her. They were completely dismissive of the obvious hurt this person experienced. They claimed she was too hostile to be heard. This happens all the time and not just on the internet. It is a problem.

The person who wrote this post originally wanted to be anon, but then they let the commenters know who they were. I was thinking "Oh good now maybe they'll see this person as... you know... a person" but I was   W-R-O-N-G.

One commenter decided to continued on taunting the person who wrote the above with a passive aggressive tirade to intentionally upset them.  It was like they were poking her with a sharp stick while saying "That doesn't hurt, you're being too sensitive". All the original comments from that person are gone because I am assuming the person deleted their bullshit before they reported my comment to FB. (my comment below)

Screenshot from FB mobile. It reads: We removed something you posted. We removed the post below because it doesn't follow the facebook community standards : Carson does it feel good to attack someone who was already a victim? You're being passive aggressive, which is an abusers tactic..goodbye

So you can see now why I was/am upset that I was banned for 24 hrs, seeing that my comment is pretty much saying "Hey don't be abusive".

I have repeatedly reported things on facebook that were clearly racist, criminal, sexist, ableist, pedophilic, etc... and FB would refuse to take them down. But, let me or anyone else call out abuse and OMG... facebook jail.

This is not the first time that I've seen this happen. I had one friend that helps moderate another page with me get banned for 24 hrs because she told someone it wasn't okay to be racist. Another moderator from PACLA was temporarily banned for telling someone to knock it off , in a similar situation. 

This is more about lack of respect and double standards than it is a FB ban.

There seems to always be a large portion of people that want us to be their teachable moment, but when we actually are teaching, they run off crying that the big bad Autistic people hurted their wittle fweelings. They cry victim.

So it seems to me, many only want us to be their teachable moments when/if it makes them feel good or suits them. 

So, what can you do to make things better? 

Here are a few things you can do to be a better person and help us out.

1. Understand it's not about you. Parents, you can start with understanding that parenting is not about you. All others need to understand our disabilities are not something we do to you. Our disabilities are about us and we are the experts on ourselves and our disabilities. We are allowed to tell people when they do things that hurt us or are discriminating towards us.

2. You have to understand being disabled makes us part of a marginalized group. Did you know: Disabled people make up the largest minority group in the US? That's right, 19% of our population is disabled, world wide the percentage is a bit smaller at 15% . With such a large number you'd think that people would be more accepting and accommodating, but they're not. Understand that we face huge barriers and discrimination (called ableism) often Listen to us when we tell you about those things. Believe us.

3.You must also understand that the fights we fight today will help future generations. We are working towards equal rights, even when (especially when) we're telling you you're wrong. You should learn how to be an ally to the disability rights movement. You can start here and you can move on from there to here to learn a bit about being an ally.

4. Stop policing our tone, our words, and our emotions because they make you uncomfortable. Stop telling us if we were just nicer you'd treat us like human beings. Stop explaining and justifying the discrimination we experience. When you are doing this, you are not helping us. You are not being an ally.

5. Be respectful, learn to listen and practice patience. When you come to our spaces to learn from us you don't get to t
ell us how to teach you or what we should be teaching. You don't get to tell us there is no reason for us to be angry. And you don't get to make it about you.  
Image description: Rainbow diagonal stripes with white text that reads:
 "Remember: The way you treat Autistic adults now is how
ou are telling the world to treat your own Autistic children."
Red colored heart at center bottom of image.

Remember: The way you treat Autistic adults today is how you want the world to treat your Autistic children. When you mistreat Autistic adults, you are giving the world permission to mistreat your child. When you bully us, you are essentially saying it's okay for others to bully your children. 

We don't hold anyone hostage in our space. People are free to go at any time if/when they disagree with our intentions. So, if the community is not for you, do the respectful thing and just leave.

Don't stick around and be disrespectful just because we refuse to make it all about you and your feelings. Don't hang around to tell us to play nice with you while you stomp all over our humanity. Understand, if you decide to do those things, you don't get to cry victim when you are called out on your disrespect.

You wouldn't go to someone's house and demand they rearrange everything in there to suit your tastes because it's known and accepted as rude...

So don't come to our house (communities/spaces) demanding we knock down walls because you're uncomfortable, it's just as rude.

Our house, our rules.