I’m an autistic, mixed race woman – LDT


I’m an autistic, mixed race woman – let’s discuss intersectionality

Multiply marginalised due to being a mixed race, autistic woman, Mette writes for Learning Disability Today about how she experiences a world that wasn’t built for her.

Content warning: racism

Intersectionality is a term coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to explain how several identities can compound each other and create a new kind of oppression.

As a mixed race woman with autism, I have three identities that give me unique lived experience that a white man with autism would not have. I experience disadvantage on account of my gender, neurodiversity, and race. Crenshaw helps to explain this by discussing he the concept of “injustice squared” . What is meant by this is that I go through something different by having a three-part identity. For many marginalised people who have multiple difficulties, intersectionality is a really useful way to describe how different parts of you can be discriminated against at one time. I have often felt like I could only experience racism or sexism, but once I realised I could experience racism and sexism simultaneously (sometimes understood as “misogynoir”), I had a better understanding of my own marginalisation.

“Being mixed race and having autism presents vast differences from the Caucasian and neurotypical hierarchy and while I can’t control how I am perceived, I can listen, learn, and advocate for myself and others like me”.

Autism brought something new into the mix. As something I only learnt about after a challenging adolescence, I spent a lot of time looking back on injustice and inaccessible spaces that didn’t accommodate my needs or the needs of other neurodiverse people. My childhood involved years of sensory overload and unexplained meltdowns, the day-to-day triggers often being found in shared spaces like school, shops, and the dinner table.


 

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