On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minnesota, United States. His death has sparked demonstrations around the world, protesting against police brutality and institutional racism against black people. We have seen several counter-arguments made that we think have undermined that important message. The Autistic Empire therefore republished a Medium post, All Lives Matter?, in full across all of our social media to provide some context for people who genuinely believe All Lives Matter is a more inclusive term than Black Lives Matter.
This article was not written for autistic people per se, but we have seen a number of autistic people who have misunderstood the social context of Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter and said things that have received angry, hurt responses and do not understand why. This article tries to explain the social context with step-by-step explanations, multiple analogies, statistics, and cartoons
You are invited to share this article in whatever format would be most useful. Full links are below.
The Autistic Empire is an international group of autistic people who come from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. We explicitly put diversity at the heart of all that we think about. Our founders were black, white and Jewish. When we were first discussing what we wanted the Empire to look like, it was not even a question that we would be anti-racist. We spent hours testing the skin tone of the hands in our logo so they could be read as the widest possible range of ethnicities (we hit on apricot). We wrote into our branding policy that the skin tone could be altered to something culturally appropriate for any regional or Black and Minority Ethnic events, even though we have never held one. We added Palestine to our drop-down menus even though PayPal does not recognise Palestine as a state and we will have to process payments manually if any autistic Palestinian does wish to join us. We do not wait for someone to feel excluded before we take action.
But we have very limited resources and we need the solidarity of others to make this work. In the two years that we have been in existence as an organisation, we have tried over and over again to reach out to black groups, black autistic people, and to talk to other autistic communities about black issues. We have been hindered by a lack of infrastructure and lack of understanding of autistic people, black narratives, and the specific needs of black autistic people. We have had black Citizens represent the Empire at events where they were made to feel uncomfortable as the only non-white person present. We have had black people working with us victimised by micro-aggressions at autistic events. It has been very frustrating.
The George Floyd protests and the racist reaction to them has been distressing for many of us to witness. The article below is part of our effort to express solidarity with people who will continue to experience racism and prejudice after the last protester goes home. The truly global phenomenon and sheer intensity of these protests have prompted many conversations within both autistic and non-autistic groups and communities about inclusion. We hope that these conversations will create a sustained effort to develop infrastructure that make it easier for us all to breathe. Black lives matter.
With thanks to Alex Mason for taking the time to write the original post and giving permission to share it.
Medium.com post: https://medium.com/@jxelam/532e5061b928
Tweetstorm on Twitter: https://twitter.com/autistic_empire/status/1268817189978726400
Facebook post (in full below): https://www.facebook.com/autisticempire/posts/826723351068928