We spoke with writer, public speaker, and autism self-advocate Gyasi Burks-Abbott about growing up Black and autistic in a much less autism-aware era, and how he was able to thrive thanks to the guidance of his intuitive and supportive mother.
“I have to be realistic about the community that I am nurturing in, and the community for my children and for the parents that I help, as a Black autistic woman.”
I guess there’s not many spaces where I feel safe to be myself without great repercussions. If I’m not dealing with racism, it’s homophobia, and if I’m not dealing with that it’s ableism.
HEARD is a Black-led and disabled-led, cross-disability abolitionist organization. With practically no funding, HEARD has been doing vital work that no one else does.
Kerima Çevik theautismwars.blogspot.com The author’s idea of what displaying autism positivity looks like [Image: a Black woman over 50 with braided gray hair wearing Neurodiversity 3.0 by ThinkGeek, a black T-shirt with a world globe design on the upper chest area in the shape of a human brain, colored in physical map fashion i.e., water is colored light blue and land masses green, clouds white, looking to her left over bent wire-rimmed glasses in that way that mothers look at their children when an outrageous behavior has just ensued.] There is an article in a paper called The Daily Net, about singer Toni Braxton’s 16-year-old son Diezel working as a professional model for the past two years. The article refers to him as “formerly autistic.” It goes on to say he has, “fortunately, moved past” autism and is now a celebrity himself. Apparently, when her son was thirteen, Ms. Braxton…
Kerima Çevik intersecteddisability.blogspot.com theautismwars.blogspot.com Kerima Çevik, photo courtesy the author [image: Gray haired Afro-Latina woman next to a windowshade, looking to the left.] [Content note: Contains descriptions of involuntary medical procedure, including sterilization, on Black and disabled people.] I am trying to plow my way through Judith Newman’s autism parenting book To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines. It is slow, painful reading. How can I explain my serious ethical concerns about yet another bestselling autism book that capitalizes on presenting the experience of disability from a parent’s reduction of a disabled individual’s worth to how he makes his mother and those around them feel? I can tell you that Newman’s passage about looking forward to acquiring a medical power of attorney so she could involuntarily sterilize her autistic son Gus tainted the rest of the book for me. A vasectomy, she says. That…