Pinned down -The Pressures of Representing a Minority

The Pressures of Representing a Minority

Recently I read an article penned by a young woman who identifies both as Christian and as a lesbian.

“It is an unjust burden that LGBTQ Christians have to be on their best behavior; that we are not allowed to be human because we must be more than. On a personal level, feeling such responsibility has at times made me bitter or feel like I’m putting on a show. In trying to show the world that not all gay people are heavy drinkers and drug users, for example, I should be allowed to have a glass of wine. In trying to show the world that not all gay people are promiscuous, I should be allowed to have relationships that fail. In trying to show the world that not all gay people are atheists I should be allowed to ask questions and express my doubts.”

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation/2014/08/being-the-token-gay-christian/#ixzz3BV1Uj1IH

I am neither a Christian nor a lesbian but boy, I could relate. Other minorities can feel this scrutiny  whether or not we ever signed up for the job as a visible representative.

“Now wait a minute,” you may be thinking, “you’re a white chick with six kids, you can’t get more bland suburban soccer mom than that, come on! Minority?”

It’s true. I couldn’t be whiter unless I was an albino. Regardless of my personal feelings or beliefs concerning race, I benefit from white privilege. Even though we actually live below the poverty line, I can affect upper middle class quite well and use that perception to avoid the treatment  my socioeconomic class receives.

Yet, I am also a member of a minority.

I am a disabled autistic woman raising autistic children.

Unlike someone with dark skin, I can choose not to disclose.

I will not pretend to fully  know what being a more visible minority is like.

Yet I do know, the moment I disclose…its like being pinned down on cork board, labeled and displayed.

Labeled: special, gifted, retard, cold, robot, empathyless, savant, dangerous, inspiring, faking, rude, sensitive, disrespectful, inept, stupid, genius, helpless, like rainman or forest gump, or sherlock or sheldon or….

Rewriting that paragraph:

“It is an unjust burden that autistics have to be on their best behavior; that we are not allowed to be human because we must be more than. On a personal level, feeling such responsibility has at times made me bitter or feel like I’m putting on a show. In trying to show the world that autistic women can be good mothers, for example, I should be allowed to express frustration and a need for support. In trying to show the world that raising autistic kids is fulfilling and not a tragedy or burden, I should be allowed to have stress, and admit our family life isn’t always rosey. I should be able to do this without being told I must be in denial about how much raising our kids sucks. In trying to disprove the stereotype concerning autistics over-sensitivity, irritability or lack of empathy, I should be allowed to express anger over an environment hostile to the disabled, without being told I am overreacting or that I must always take the higher ground and be “understanding.”

Going beyond this,

I should like to express autistic positivity -  LIKING  how I think and still be allowed to be honest about how often my noisy mind frustrates and keeps me from succeeding in things.

I should NOT have to fear disclosing my diagnosis when dealing with the professionals and city/state representatives who are a part of my children’s lives for fear I will have to live up to that inhuman level of scrutiny, with the fear my feelings and concerns would be discounted.

 

This article is NOT for reproduction without my permission.

One thought on “Pinned down -The Pressures of Representing a Minority”

  1. Should also be able to disclose our diagnosis without people not fully understanding what that means and offering the wrong support rather than the support we’re asking for. Should be able to have “on-going” support be actually on-going and not have people think that being “taught coping mechanisms” will automatically work and thus not need to continue the support. Should not have it assumed that because we need support we’re completely incapable.

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