Do you still believe in the Autistic Community & Culture

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KenG
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18 Dec 2010, 10:29 am

When I first discovered the autistic community and culture, back in the late 1990's, I had high hopes for its future.
I envisioned a reality in which millions of autistics from around the world are participating in autistic culture events around the world.
For example:
I envisioned national autistic self-advocacy groups who have hundreds of members in each of their local chapters.
I envisioned autistic musicians forming bands together and going on tours together.
I envisioned autistic painters opening galleries together and doing group exhibitions together.
I envisioned international autistic gatherings, such as Autreat & Autscape, being attended by hundreds of participants.
I envisioned local autistic groups, with dozens of participants, holding events together.
I envisioned Autistic Pride Day events all over the world being attended by hundreds of participants.
Etc.

Nowadays, I am becoming a bit skeptical about this.
WP only had 2,000 members when I joined it, and nowadays it has 43,000 members, but it seems the discussions are revolving around the same subjects again and again, year after year.
I was expecting WP to serve as an excellent platform for planning various offline activities, but when we did the European WP gathering, in 2009, we only managed to bring in 8 participants...
Nowadays, I am frequenting WP less and less, because I can't find here enough discussions which actually promote the advancement of Autistic Culture in real life.

How about you? Are you still optimistic about the future of the Autistic Community & Culture?
Do you think the hopes I have listed above will soon become realities?
Or are you also starting to share my skepticism about the future of the Autistic Community and Culture?


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Asp-Z
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18 Dec 2010, 10:30 am

The autistic culture will live if it is supported, but I can't say members of this forum do support it from what I've seen.

That's not to say no one will, of course. There are a lot more of us out there than the ones that happen to be on this site.



leejosepho
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18 Dec 2010, 10:39 am

In principle, and from "Alcoholics Anonymous", the book:

"The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined.
"The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution [for our troubles] ..."

At present, there is just not enough bringing people together to cause and to hold or sustain the required "together".


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alexptrans
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18 Dec 2010, 10:51 am

No, because I never believed in it. I no longer have any desire to be part of any real-life community, autistic or otherwise. I've tried belonging to such communities and it is far too taxing. WP as it is now is community enough for me. I came here to learn more about autism and interactions between people, and answer other people's questions when I can. The fact that it's all online and doesn't include events I have to go to or people I have to interact with is one of its greatest advantages.



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18 Dec 2010, 10:56 am

1) Ken is someone I greatly admire and it makes me sad to see him disheartened.
2) I think Wrong Planet best serves people who are new to the online autism community.
3) The communicative difficulties of people with autism make organizing and socializing especially challenging for us.
4) The emotionally charged nature of issues relating to autism makes conversation exhausting and causes people who become leaders to burn out quickly.
5) Our tendency toward rigid thinking makes us especially prone to feuds, flame wars, and fragmentation.
6) Although these obstacles are daunting, we can and will continue to make progress.


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Mindslave
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18 Dec 2010, 11:31 am

The idea of a community and a culture has never appealed to me. I prefer to do my own thing, instead of trying to fit in with others. It's a lot easier to be me when I'm not expected to fit in with anything or anyone. As for a community, there is one every month 20 minutes from where I live. It pisses me off every time I go, because I generally don't like group gatherings, even with people on the spectrum.



Wallourdes
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18 Dec 2010, 12:04 pm

I admire your vision, although I am more of mutual acceptance then of an US and THEM point-of-view.

I am currently working in my own country on setting up an initiatives along with some healthcare proffesionals, although my take on this is mutual acceptance in general (neurodiversity).

Cheerfully,
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conan
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18 Dec 2010, 12:15 pm

i never believed in it either. i don't think i find autistic people any better to hang around with and if you are exclusively doing so then you limit your options so much.

I can see that it'd have a purpose to raise awareness amongst non autsistics and support each other but equally that need not be something autistic. I don't feel that autistics are a characteristically similar enough group to be held together by that alone



leejosepho
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18 Dec 2010, 12:51 pm

conan wrote:
I don't feel that autistics are a characteristically similar enough group to be held together by that alone

That would be true of any group of people. Hence, there must be a common cause and commitment of purpose beyond self-interest.


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anbuend
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18 Dec 2010, 1:18 pm

I think autistic communities are suffering the same weird collapse and corruption that is happening to the larger communities we are only a part of.

People are getting cruel and mean and this behavior is rewarded. Other people get scared of being around them and hide. This encourages the mean people. Lots of complex social dynamics.

I've meant to write something about this for awhile but today is not the time. Too tired.

But I think overall the important thing is that in order to handle the mess things are turning into in lots of places real community is needed. Not hiding away among only our own kind in little single issue communities. But building connections between all kinds of people. The kinds of connections that ensure survival in hard times regardless of if people are similar or even like each other. (But there's a difference between decent people disliking each other yet connecting for a higher purpose, and on the other hand accepting the cruel people who poison communities.)

More to write but my brain is not organized enough.


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18 Dec 2010, 1:41 pm

'Autistic culture'?? I don't know what that means.

I don't know how cohesive a 'community' you can ever expect from a type of brain that is defined by having poor skills at social interaction and who usually tend to avoid it.

Wallourdes wrote:
I am more of mutual acceptance then of an US and THEM point-of-view


LOL, you'll outgrow that in time. There is no acceptance from THEM.


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Wallourdes
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18 Dec 2010, 1:47 pm

Avengilante wrote:
Wallourdes wrote:
I am more of mutual acceptance then of an US and THEM point-of-view


LOL, you'll outgrow that in time. There is no acceptance from THEM.


On what are you basing this?


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Moog
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18 Dec 2010, 1:59 pm

I think WP is a decent resource for certain things. I interface with some elements of the 'autistic community' through it, but it is for the most part a fragmented relationship with a fragmented community. There is no one 'autism culture'. And that's not a bad thing, just how it is.

Autistic people are communicating and forming relationships. At least, I am. I see that others are, though it might not always be hugely visible.

I'd say, keep trying to make what you envisage happen, but don't get upset when your desires are not entirely in harmony with reality.


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Moog
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18 Dec 2010, 2:01 pm

Avengilante wrote:
Wallourdes wrote:
I am more of mutual acceptance then of an US and THEM point-of-view


LOL, you'll outgrow that in time. There is no acceptance from THEM.


I'm slowly growing into a better acceptance of 'them', and their better acceptance of 'me'.


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pandabear
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18 Dec 2010, 2:22 pm

Well, if you do perform some music, create some art, or get on America's Next Top Model, then we will all admire you.



CockneyRebel
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18 Dec 2010, 2:54 pm

I'm a little disillusioned with some of the threads that have been started in the activism forum lately. I just don't post in them, anymore.


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