I found this to be an interesting line of thinking for people who struggle with feeling 'other'.
The interview with Temple Grandin in An Anthropologist on Mars, as referred to in this short piece, is certainly worth a read.
The Double Consciousness of Disability
And whilst I disagree with the description of autism in this article, I think it's also worth reading:
Temple Grandin: 'I'm an anthropologist from Mars'.
Some of us can't so easily come to terms with our sense of 'otherness'.
But we're human beings, just like everyone else. And so we have a right to be treated as such.
That’s interesting. I’ve always associated the Double Consciousness concept with ethnocentrism. A topic on which Franz Fanon and Edward Said have written extensively. I have also heard Triple Consciousness employed to explain the experience of black women in a patriarchal society.
I’ve often wondered why people appear to form an unfavourable impression of me at first sight. I can only assume it is something to do with facial expression, a sometimes monotonous voice tone that - to them - signals the consequent false perception of a lack of engagement or interest.
Perhaps there is something specific about the autistic ‘otherness’ that requires a distinct term. Otherwise, black autistic women in patriarchal societies will experience Quadruple Consciousness, which would seem a trifle unfair. Maybe your ingenuity with words could conjure up a phrase.
Whenever I read something by Temple Grandin her opinions always evoke feelings of an ambivalent nature. This may well signify more about me than it does about her, or reflect the heterogenous nature of autism, but I - maybe unkindly - think of her as old school, too associated with the theories of autism as a social deficit rather than a novel perspective on societal norms.
Similarly with a gay person who is also autistic. I think it could be argued that because of differences in the way that autistic people process information, we are not socialised in the same 'ethno' as neurotypicals. Many of us talk about that sense of a barrier separating us from other people: we're there in the midst of it, with other human beings, but at the same time we're 'apart' from it. As we might feel if we were suddenly dropped into a foreign country whose language, culture and gestures we couldn't understand.
I know what you mean about Temple Grandin, and I feel the same way. I think she is a bit 'old school'. She claimed somewhere that she's spent so many years 'masking' that her autistic traits have almost disappeared now. I'm not so sure about that!
I haven't a clue what kind of impression I make on others at first meeting - apart from the obvious things. 'My goodness... how tall are you?' is often the first thing said. My usual response now is 'Five feet seventeen inches.' From my diagnosis, I have learned that I have a flat and monotonous tone of voice, and that my lack of eye contact is very noticeable - though I already knew that from job interview feedback over the years. I think I mentioned that after my mother passed away, I saw a medium. I recorded the session, which was almost two hours. Later, when I played it back, I found myself getting continually annoyed with the sound of my own voice. I hadn't realised just how much I kept interrupting, going off at tangents... and droning on and on and on. As I listened, I kept saying 'Oh, for goodness sakes, just shut up, will you!' The poor woman must have been bored to tears, and I could pick up on her trying to hurry things along and get them back on track at several points. Curiously, I wasn't aware of any of this during the session itself.
I've only once seen myself on film. It horrified me! I don't know how actors can bear seeing themselves on screen.
And I didn't realise until just now, in reading up on eugenics in the US prior to WW2, that W E B Du Bois was a supporter - believing "only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race's heritage of moral iniquity."
He also argued that birth control for poor African Americans was necessary for the race and that people “must learn that among human races and groups, as among vegetables, quality and not mere quantity really counts.”
The term eugenics was invented by a cousin of Charles Darwin, Francis Galton. Many socialists were attracted by the idea. The founders of the Fabian Society, Sidney and Beatrice Webb championed eugenics. George Bernard Shaw advocated ‘procreation tickets’ to prevent the gene pool of the elite being diluted by inferior human beings. William Beveridge was a fan.
Okay... say no more.
If these people had had their way, some of the remarkable human beings I work with wouldn't exist. These, to me, are some of the world's truly beautiful people.
Humanity. I sometimes wonder what that means.