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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,458
Location: Long Island, New York

18 Sep 2022, 9:10 am

Overpoliced and adultified: how the justice system is failing autistic Black people

Young Black neurodiverse people continue to be failed and vilified; from late diagnosis or misdiagnosis, lack of appropriate support from healthcare and education professionals, to a complete disregard for their wellbeing when affronted with law enforcement. Black people are four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act 2019 than white people, and only 26% of research into autism considers race or ethnicity data at all

“The police are not adept at dealing with Black neurodiverse [people], given the way they’ve treated Black people suffering with mental health problems,” a spokesperson for Copwatch, a decentralised network of communities monitoring the police, tells gal-dem.

Alex Raikes, from Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI), a charity that offers support to victims of hate crimes, says being both Black and neurodiverse “renders you even more at risk”.

“You are Black so you are still policed disproportionately, when they stop you and find some fault, you have to behave ‘better’ than your white counterparts,” he says. “If you’re neurodiverse, you might be less able to persuade the police or do necessary code switching.”
This problem seems to be getting more severe. As Raikes says, “the largest percentages of [SARI’s] clients are people of colour, even though we deal with all types of hate crime. But a larger and larger percentage of our clients recently have autism and Aspergers, or are disabled in some way.”

Other campaign groups and activists are calling for a nationwide reform of policing to create safer spaces for neurodivergent and autistic people of colour. Dalmayne from Autistic Inclusive Meets says stop and search, the use of handcuffs in arrests, and brute force and aggression from police officers can be very intimidating for autistic and neurodivergent people. “They [the police] see a lack of eye contact, a hood up (to block out stimulation) as possibly trying to hide,” she says, explaining how her autistic son could react to being stopped by an officer. “They see a standoffish or less than sociable presence to be threatening.”

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman