A White Autism Parent’s Guide to Autistic PoC

Hey there, fellow whites. This started out as a simple post linking to an excellent interview on TPGA but it became a post about white privilege pretty quickly. I’ve been in the autism mom category for such a short period of time, but rarely hear about this topic. This is such an important subject that I pulled together some resources for other parents to read if they’d like to learn more. 

First, an excellent post on the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Shannon Rosa talks with Mike Buckholtz about why black men, especially with autism, have incredible challenges in American society. This is an intersectional piece and a great example of why we need to raise up and amplify the voices of autistic PoC. 

TPGA: Do you have any specific messages of reassurance or advice for today’s younger Black and POC autistics?

MB: If you can, get evaluated. Yes, many Black and POC communities are still in the dark ages in terms of their attitude about neurological conditions. The stigma is widely known. Just know you’re not broken or flawed. You’re unique. You may even have special neurological wiring giving you an edge over your non-autistic contemporaries. Embrace it. Work with it. See it as an amazing thing. Feel free to connect with other seasoned (but positive) autistic adults as mentors. Remain hopeful. Focus on accomplishing the thing that will allow you the freedom to care for yourself and help others. Avoid using it as an excuse when you fail for other reasons, or, as something to exploit. Love yourself and others will be attracted to that.

Now, wtf does it matter what a white person thinks about POC? It doesn’t. But I wanted to make it clear I am white because while I will be including a list of resources below, I am NOT speaking for anyone other than me, and certainly not PoC. Fellow whites may peruse the links but this is one (white) person’s opinion and the other opinions I am linking to are the ones worth noting. 

This list really only scratches the surface. I will add to it when I find more.

1. This Twitter thread by Mikki Kendall is a must-read for any autism parent. Yes, this autism parenting can be difficult, but the parents of a black male autistic have to worry about simply keeping their child alive given several layers of discrimination. 

2. Morenike Onaiwu on picking out her two children in a crowd of autistic children

3. Autistic Hoya in a post about why this is not new to those going through it, and why those of us who are not autistics of color need to fight like hell for the rights of those who are and spend that privilege. This will make you angry and it should.

4. Intersected post from early this year, talking about a murder that our community should have been outraged by–so what aren’t we?

5. More from Intersected on being #AutisticWhileBlack and a disgusting miscarriage of justice mentioned in number 3, above.

6. NewsHour piece on autistic PoC, “If you’re anything other than a white 7-year old boy, even if you’re a 7-year old white girl, you’re less likely to be identified with autism.” (Also: theanswerinc.org)

7. Interesected: Checklist for allies against racism

8. From Intersected: Autism Acceptance post

9. Another Intersected post on appropriation and erasure.

10. Book: All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism

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