Acknowledging Privilege

I have a certain set of privileges, everyone does. After reading a lot recently about the treatment of other Autistic people, I feel now is a good time to acknowledge the privileges I have.

In light of the recent arrests and killings of Autistic people in the USA, I’d like to address the set of privileges I have in interactions with law enforcement.

First off, I’m female in appearance, and quite small, only 5′ 4″. I therefore read as reasonably non-threatening. I am unlikely to encounter police violence as a result of me being interpreted as a threat to someone. I’m also Caucasian, so I’m significantly less likely to encounter arrest or police violence as a result of racial profiling. I speak English well, and with a local accent, so I’m unlikely to be targeted as a result of immigration tensions. I’m also lucky to live in the UK, where we’re not hearing so much about police brutality against the neurodivergent. We also don’t generally arm our police with firearms, so I’m unlikely to be shot by a police officer.

Because of my gender, the eccentricities associated with my autism are more accepted in society. They’re generally read as “cute” and non-threatening, whereas similar behaviours from someone who appears male would be less accepted. Take, for example, squeeing. It’s something I do out of excitement, as well as bouncing up and down. It’s unlikely that squeeing would be accepted if someone appearing to be male did it.

I pass for cisgender, so I’m less likely to encounter transphobia in my interactions with law enforcement.

Finally, I’m privileged that I’m a verbal autistic person. I lose verbal ability when I’m very upset, but I can calmly answer questions the rest of the time.

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