This is what privilege looks like.

Upon first attempting this, I was angry and couldn’t see what I was typing because my glasses were off due to the tears burning my eyes and streaming down my face. I tried and tried to stop them. I wrote 1723 words’ worth of how I felt after this ordeal. Tears dried and glasses back on, I’m starting over. Verbosity never helped anyone, save for the insomniacs1 who fell asleep because of it.

Slightly before 6:30pm, my Twitter account was locked. I was redirected to a screen explaining my account had been reported for harassment. Oh. I clicked the button to go to the next screen. The person with whom I’d chatted yesterday had truly reported me for harassment. A lot had happened. Eleven tweets was the total count needing to be deleted. The first tweet I needed to delete?

@JuRainford [other mentions redacted] I don't feel embarrassed. Someone I follow was part of the conversation. And again, having a public discussion means outside people are going to come in. I added to the conversation in hopes you'd understand autistics more. I won't apologize for that.

I’ll try to place the rest in order. She blocked me before I could block her (I thought muting her would be enough; it usually is), and I didn’t expect anything to come of this. I’ve redacted the @mentions to the original person(s) (OPs) with whom she took offense (or whatever it is you call disliking when someone disagrees with you) for privacy purposes. I did not redact her username, because 1) these tweets were posted publicly on a public platform, and 2) it’s not like deleting them means they’re fully gone, anyway. I should not have to delete my tweets just because someone couldn’t handle my disagreeing with them. I removed them because I wanted to regain access back to my account…then I learned I wouldn’t be able to do more than direct message people until 6:35amish.

Allistic means non-autistic; for a full glossary of my terminology, see the respective post.

This was the initial tweet:

[redacted] said: "The word 'cure' in the Autism community is absolutely toxic." Spot on. We're humans, not diseases. @JuRainford replied: So when science offers a cure you don't need to take it. Just don't deny it to everyone else.

When I replied, it was when she’d told the OPs to stay in their own community. To this, I replied:

@JuRainford FWIW, there are two communities: the autistic community and the autism community. (link in text below this image for better accessibility)

I linked to Michelle Sutton’s post, “The Autism Community and the Autistic Community”. I continued on to explain more about the differences to stress who has the right of way in a particular community (i.e. those personally experiencing via living as the minority), to reiterate the points of the post linked.

@JuRainford Allistic people are allowed to have their opinions, fine, but at no point is the autism community, regardless of the superiority society has allotted to it, supposed to speak over the autistic community.

@JuRainford When allistic people speak over autistics, it's like how straight people often speak over gay people, how white people often speak over other races. Unless you're a personal member of that community (i.e. that label applies to you, in this case it'd be "AUTISTIC"),

@JuRainford you don't have any place to speak out/over/against those who are actually living that life every single day. Like in driving, in this case, the autistic community has the "right of way". If your child is autistic, he is part of the autistic community bc he's autistic.

@JuRainford If you're not autistic, you're not part of it. Regardless of whether you like it or not, that's how the community works. You're allowed, as a caregiver of an autistic, to disagree with the autistic community, but what a lot of allistic parents of autistic kids don't realize

@JuRainford don't realize until it's too late (i.e. the damage has been done) is that autistic kids grow up into adults (that is, if they don't become a statistic due to suicide or their caregiver murdering them) and find out about everything said about them. Even the "least suspecting" find out, and

@JuRainford And I say this not as part of some "autistic agenda" or wtfever, but as an autistic many "autism moms" have come to respect after realizing hey, maybe they just don't understand yet that they've been brainwashed by anti-autism organizations ("I am Autism", anyone?) and stigma.

@JuRainford And really, if a lot of autistic take issue with you, there's a problem -- and it's not theirs to fix. We are like your child.

“We are like your child” is often a controversial statement within the autism community, but what a lot of the members of that community fail to realize is that we grow up (if we beat the odds of our caregivers/peers murdering us2, and the odds of suicide3). We grow up, and we reflect on things we experienced. I can search Google for “ABT abuse” and find article on article by many autistic adults who had to undergo it as a child. I experienced similar therapy, but am not OK discussing them considering my PTSD and the horror I faced, and the constant backlash BS I continue to face because I blog openly about my autism.45

“Professionals” and caregivers/parents don’t expect autistic children to remember things, or to be smart enough that we understand what is being said about them, but we do—and it causes a lot of damage and makes us feel like burdens.

The link in this tweet was to a blog of the same phrase.

Moving on.

After this, she misconstrued my explaining as “hecklering” [sic]. After my initial tweet reply which linked to the differing communities blog post, she’d apparently thanked me for sharing it. I found it ironic, because I wasn’t defending her—and assumed she hadn’t read the post, obviously. I don’t know why, but she never reported these tweets:

After these, she called me a “little sossidge” and said, “You need to get some help for all that hate,” to which I replied

I’m not sure what she said between the tweet above and my next tweet, as she blocked me and I cannot see it on my personal account, and her account is now private (learned via an account I created for an upcoming web series last year). I was doing other things during this time, too, and I think this is now the time when I switched out my laundry and refilled my water bottle. So it’s possible I did continue on with the following, after (or I just took seven minutes t to carefully articulate my thoughts):

@JuRainford On a side note, I'm not claiming to speak for all autistics, but am part of multiple groups within the community. Such is generally known, but I felt it necessary to disclaim for this discussion.

I pointed this out because she had accused two autistics of speaking for all autistics. She replied with something along the lines of how I seemed to contradict myself and wasn’t part of the original discussion, to which I replied:

@JuRainford But you butted in to another autistic's tweet; if you don't want autistic community backlash, don't do it again. Really fucking simple.

She said she wasn’t the one who butted in, but I was.

I got up and did other things again, ’cause I’ve been doing that a lot more lately. I do a lot of writing, but I had towels I needed to fold. She reiterated that I butted in.

She said I must feel embarrassed for having butted in and that she was going to report me for “harassment” (I assumed because I disagreed with her/wouldn’t submit or whatever?). This is where the first tweet above comes in:

@JuRainford [other mentions redacted] I don't feel embarrassed. Someone I follow was part of the conversation. And again, having a public discussion means outside people are going to come in. I added to the conversation in hopes you'd understand autistics more. I won't apologize for that.

Again, she called me a “little sossidge”, this time saying I was the one who was butt-hurt.

She said something along the lines of me being condescending and ignorant, so I tweeted the following and called it a day:


And I was blocked for “harassment”. Because I disagreed? Because what, exactly?

  1. At no point did she once ask anyone to stop tweeting her/to leave her be.
  2. Every single tweet, if someone didn’t bloody agree, they were refuted against.

Even the most innocent of tweets were reported and pressed for deletion, while the ones wherein her innocence could be questioned were not.

It started because, ironically, I explained that the autism community does not have place to determine the well-being/livelihood of the autistic community—that they haven’t the right to speak over them/against them when their health and existence and bloody humanity is in question. It’s not about the autism community and what they want.

You don’t get to say what a community needs unless you are directly part of that community.

If you’re not gay, you don’t get to say what gay people need.

If you’re not trans, you don’t get to say what trans people need.

If you’re not Deaf, you don’t get to say what Deaf people need.

If you’re not Native American, you don’t get to say what Native American people need.

If you’re not autistic, you don’t get to say what autistics need.

It’s happened time and time AGAIN within this community, and I’m sick of it.

Privilege is the ability to speak out and over a minority, devoid of any harm or punishment.

Talking about it isn’t supposed to make us comfortable.

I’m not ashamed of what I said. Could I have possible said some things better? Perhaps—but regardless, I don’t think I would have worded it much differently without compromising the core part of myself. At no point did I heckle/harass her; it’s not my fault she jumped to the conclusion (before even reading the post I linked to, no less, about how there is an autism community and an autistic community, and how the autistic community has the right of way) that I was defending her before I finished tweeting out all my thoughts. Twitter may allow for 280 characters now, but such an explanation of allistic privilege takes a while.

I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. I have to keep believing good, understanding, open-minded people still exist in the world. I always hope someone’s utter ignorance is just a misunderstanding—that they don’t intend to inflict any harm—but…then again, when do we stop dismissing the consequences as a result of what someone intended? And when is what someone intended really what came out, but their excusing a mere defense mechanism because something didn’t go their way? At what point do we stop babying people and start holding them accountable for their ignorance and the harm of others?

I just…I don’t understand it—privilege, this majority community superiority shit, and everything in between. The bigger people can do whatever the hell they want—no consequences whatsoever—but the moment the little guys make them feel uncomfortable is the moment said little guys are punished. There is no humanity in this instance—it’s all hatred, all butt-hurt feelings because minds and hearts can’t be opened to consider, “Hey, maybe I’m wrong—maybe I should listen to this person who is a part of this community I am questioning…maybe I should acknowledge how easy I have it—my privilege.”


To quote Michelle Sutton:

“There is a pretty good chance that your child will agree with the adults of the Autistic community when they grow up. Your child is a part of that community. As they get older, they will know you actively stood against their community. They will know you were part of what causes the problems they face.”

I don’t feel embarrassed. I stand by what I said. If I am to be punished for standing up like that, for not sitting on the sidelines and later regretting standing up like that, then fine. But also? Shame on Twitter. I expected better. I know they’re capable of doing better.

I have zero tolerance of this shit.

This is what privilege looks like.

This is my fire. 🔥

P.S. I proofread this, but it’s ugh. Shit happens, as we all know. Don’t hesitate to let me know. Typos drive me bonkers. Also! Ask me questions. 💖

  1. It helped me when I couldn’t sleep, thus the joke. My humor is weird. We live with it.
  2. Another controversy is “Please don’t kill us”, which shouldn’t even be a thing. “Autism mom” advocate Polly Tommy, among many other allistic people, sympathize with parents who kill their autistic children. Blame is often placed upon the autistic children when they’re murdered or survive an attempted murder, simply because they’re autistic.
  3. Autistics hold some of the highest suicide rates. 66 percent of autistic adults admitted to contemplating suicide. Autistic children (aged 1-16) are 28 times more likely to attempt suicide than their allistic (non-autistic) peers.
  4. When I blogged about my autism on a more frequent basis, for every three kind comments I received, a fourth would be some sort of death threat or other epithet because of assumed stigma surrounding autistics, based on stereotypes from armchair psychologists. If they didn’t end with “you should just kill yourself to save the world the trouble”, they told me how I should be in jail so my family won’t have to worry about me harming others or “blowing up a theater”.
  5. When an aunt found out I’m autistic, she started making up rumors about me related to college and how I was stalking a cousin, claiming her other daughter had tried to “help” me get over my “issues”. (She hadn’t; she doesn’t understand the tragedy of fearing her parents to death or the emotional distress of eating disorders or the blacking out courtesy of PTSD or any other related tragedy because she grew up in a butterflies-and-sunshine environment compared to mine.) Upon my confronting her, I was given platitudes and supposed to be OK with all she said because she didn’t expect me to find out. (Because it’s okay to start rumors and spread lies about a person so long as they don’t find out.

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Comments on this post

Brandy’s gravatar

Kudos to you for standing up. Clearly, reporting you in a way to seek revenge for speaking up, only shows that she is a coward and that she was wrong.

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Julie Rainford’s gravatar

Now will you direct people to my twitter account to read what actually happened IN REALITY? The truth is there in black and white. You were suspended from Twitter because you engaged in harrassment. Twitter Support took several of your tweets into consideration when coming to a decision. They deemed it as harrassment, in violation of Twitter rules. So your account was suspended. THAT’S YOUR FAULT, NOT MINE. Why are you continuing this harrassment against me? If you don’t stop I may have to consult my lawyer.

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Jane’s gravatar

How do you define harassment? You disagreed with me. All I did was explain stuff, and you got pissed off because you talked over autistics and got called out on it. Considering your account is private now, people can’t see your tweets.

Define it, though. Explain how what I did was “harassment”. Disagreement is not harassment.

While you’re here, this is my turf. These are my terms. Should you feel the need to consult your lawyer, be ready to come to Texas. I did make an appeal with them; it takes a few days for them to respond. It’s only Tuesday.

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Julie Rainford’s gravatar

This, what you’re doing now, is harrassment. Twitter don’t just suspend accounts for disagreements. You seem oblivious to reality. Going after someone like this is HARRASSMENT. You’ve also misrepresented me and defamed me. Your crybully tactics don’t work with me. I won’t be walked over and I won’t be browbeaten by you, however pissy you get.
Anyone who wants to see my twitter feed need only ask and I will let them in.

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Jane’s gravatar

Actually, Twitter’s reporting system is automated. Accidents do happen—they have happened, repeatedly. It’s why there is the ability to appeal. Hell, they accidentally suspended the founder’s account.

As other members of the autistic community have pointed out, on Twitter, you are [ironically] silencing and attempting to quiet our voices. A Twitter search for your username reveals you have blocked other autistics as well because they tried to explain to you how disrespectful and offensive to the autistic community you’re being.

This is a common thing among the autism community, in that they patronize and attempt to parent us into sitting down and shutting up, because why? Because we disagree with them, because we tell them ABA therapy “treatments” are abusive and frightening and dehumanizing. This situation is a classic “Autism mom shuts down autistic community by reporting them for harassment”.

I won’t be silenced.

I don’t mind if people view your Twitter feed, but I get the feeling you’ve perhaps deleted many of your tweets to us (me, as well as many other autistic people you’ve tweeted). All I have done is say what happened, and perhaps there are some flaws in what was said when, but I’m human…don’t I get to make human errors, too? The majority of the original discussion between you and I, however, is branded into my brain. That’s how these things go.

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Julie Rainford’s gravatar

Sorry for the late reply, I had to sit with my son while he tries to get to sleep.
Ok, let’s get a few of things straight here.

Never have I silenced or attempted to quieten autistic voices, on twitter or anywhere else. I have blocked accounts of some who’ve abused me with stuff like ‘vile autism mom’ and ‘I feel sorry for your kids, you don’t love them’ etc etc. I don’t usually block accounts, or lock my own, so it’s very unusual for me to have to do it. But that’s been because of a stream of horrible people using antagonistic, rude, sweary language. NOT because I disagree with them. You, on the other hand, told me ‘if you don’t want a backlash, then don’t butt into someone else’s tweet, it’s that fucking simple’. Truth was, I hadn’t butted into anyone’s tweet, had I? I’d responded to an original tweet, an opening post. That’s not butting in. You know that. But, facts eh? Also, when I read that back now, it comes across as sort of a veiled threat. ‘You don’t post anything we disagree with and we won’t come after you’. Maybe that was what got you suspended.
YOU and EVERYONE ELSE have the right to freedom of speech. This does NOT MEAN that OTHERS HAVE TO LISTEN TO WHAT YOU SAY. You don’t get that right, to force me to listen, even if you are autistic. Say whatever you want, all day, every day, but you don’t get to force me to listen to, or agree with, your views. That’s not how free speech works. And it’s certainly not silencing or shutting down anyone. I can’t believe I’m even having to explain this to you, but there we are.
I have never advocated ABA for autistic people, NEVER! I have been a staunch ally of those against it. But I suppose you’re not concerned with my credentials because all you see is the fact that I’m not autistic. Well, I don’t care about your anti-‘allistic’ bigotry. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest.
I haven’t deleted any of my tweets from last weekend, everything is still there for people to check if they want. Unfortunately I can’t directly quote your tweets because you’ve deleted them. BTW, what were the names I supposedly called you? Because the only one I used was ‘sossidge’. Don’t worry, it’s a term of endearment where I live, like pal or hun. And I didn’t call you ‘little’ sossidge. I don’t know how big you are.
THIS IS MY LAST REPLY TO YOU. I will not be reading or responding to anything else from or by you, either on here or on Twitter. Your pursuit of me is getting creepy now. You get thrown off Twitter for harrassing me, and continually badmouth me on your TL, you write a whole blog post about me and now I see you’ve conducted a search to find out who I follow and who I’ve blocked. You’re moving into stalking territory now. Why are you so obsessed with me? Give it up and get on with your own life!

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Jane’s gravatar

Julie,

It may not directly seem so, but you have, indeed, silenced some autistic voices. Harassment is defined as “aggressive pressure or intimidation”. All I did in my responses to you was explain the difference between the autism community and the autistic community. You thanked me, I assume, before reading the article itself, because the article literally says to stop speaking out and against the autistic community and to listen to them. If multiple members of a specific community tell you you’re out of line, it’s a sign. I called your actions “privilege” because allistic privilege is the ability to speak out, over and against autistics without any repercussions.

You spoke out against an autistic, essentially parenting them (i.e. telling them what to do/not do), and people responded. You did so in a public forum. It’s not because you disagreed, but because you continued to speak out against other autistics repeatedly, never once acknowledging a) your privilege nor b) so much as a possibility that the autistic people who live this life, whose very humanity could be at stake in the event of an autism cure, may be telling you something important. You, as an allistic person, do not get a say in autistic community discussions during such times when we are expressing ourselves and our right to continue living because we are also human. You don’t get a say unless an autistic person has explicitly stated, each and every time, that they would like for you to speak for them. It’s not your community.

A perhaps better example of this would be if we shuffled the situation and made it about racism—if you were unaware of your white privilege, and speaking out and over a person of color, and then got mad because more people from their community spoke out against you. As a result, you report their calling you racist as harassment, because how dare they?

It’s the same scenario here: It’d be “allist”, in that people called you out for speaking against many members of a community. ‘Tis a classic case of “I don’t like what you said and how you’re treating me, so I’m gonna use my privilege to report you”.

I don’t claim people have to listen to what I say, but Twitter has a handy-dandy “Mute” button for this instance—you may have seen it resting right above “Report”. I wasn’t forcing you to listen; I was simply replying to you, expressing my thoughts because I am an autistic person and these kinds of discussions should be had by both communities. Replying to someone, explaining things to someone in detail—this is not “forcing”.

I never declared you advocated for ABA; I was giving an example of why it is NOT OKAY for allistics to speak against autistic people. I’m not anti-allistic. Much of my friends and readers are allistic, and I love them regardless. You are not an “ally”, though. As many autistic people have stated multiple times, an allistic is only an ally if a member of the autistic community calls them one—and even then, it’s just a label; the person’s actions still matter and they can still be refuted.

I did delete the tweets, but the ones in this post are all literally. the. same, either because they’re a) screenshots or the direct link to the tweet. You cannot see my tweets because I blocked you, because “autism moms” with a vendetta are not people I wish to tail me trying to parent me.

Terms of endearment, except in situations wherein it is appropriate whether by relation (e.g. friendly, romantic, familial), are forms of condescension and patronizing behavior.

Considering how you’re continuing to justify your reporting of autistics for being offensive, patronizing, etc. demonstrates that you perhaps do not understand freedom of speech. I conducted a search upon your first commenting me, because I wanted to see how you discovered this blog post at all. Again, I follow a lot of autistic people, one of which mentioned you blocking them (and it was RTd by others); this is how Twitter works.

Moreover, the fact that you found my blog despite being blocked by me makes me feel as though you personally went to great volumes to seek me out to see what I might say on the matter—that is stalking, and that is targeted harassment just as I personally felt your original response to someone you didn’t even follow was targeted harassment, in addition to the “stay in your community”.

I’m not obsessed with you. I’m a blogger. I’m autistic. I blog about my life as an autistic. This was a post I have been intending to write and publish for some time now but hadn’t an idea how it should be addressed, and this situation influenced it. I felt inspired and the need to address a common, problematic occurrence within the autistic community, because these incidences are often ignored. I’m not going to “give it up”, and my life is so fine right now. This isn’t depressing me, per se, rather it reminds me why I need to continue blogging about my life as an autistic and why sharing things like this is important. Perhaps if more autistics don’t “give it up”, more “autism warrior moms” will realize they’re not allies and instead try to be ally-like—perhaps the stigma regarding autism will decrease into a speck of dirt and allow us humans to coexist like we’re people and not so different we’re burdens.

I will never not fight against this bullshit, because it’s important.

Due to the consistent abusive behavior (and simply because I can, according to my website terms), I am revoking your access to my website. Any further use of this website is against my revoked access, should you continue against my decision, in which case I will not be held responsible.

I would like to emphasize what Michelle Sutton wrote in her autistic community vs. autism community post:

“There is a pretty good chance that your child will agree with the adults of the Autistic community when they grow up. Your child is a part of that community. As they get older, they will know you actively stood against their community. They will know you were part of what causes the problems they face.”

I urge you to consider this deeply and reflect on it. I’ve seen too many young autistic adults break ties with their families after discovering how the autism community hates us. Many of our hearts break for autistic children raised by anti-autism guardians and those who consistently speak out against us.

These discussions are generally uncomfortable to have, but perhaps that’s a good thing—we need to break through all the uncomfortable, squirmy topics because we need cohesiveness.

I do so wish you well,
Jane

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[…] I would be lying if I said I never felt anxiety as I passed the autism “rescue” booths while at the food expos I attend. I’m going as a blogger. My blog is listed on the “Press” page for Dallas. A member associated with the organization could harass me and try to hurt me because I fought back. One did. […]

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