It was ‘splained to me today that, at a talk where there would be non-academics and “a wide variety of ages” present, my academic degree does not much matter. Well, you know what ‘Splainer?
It matters a hell of a lot to that twelve-year-old autistic kid who never realized they might be able to grow up to be a researcher.
It matters a hell of a lot to that twenty-year-old autistic youth trying to convince their vocational rehabilitation counselor to help pay for their education–you know, the one who said autistics couldn’t succeed at high-level jobs, so why bother?
It matters a hell of a lot to that autistic person who never had a role model–
and the one who was about to give up on finishing their dissertation–
and the one whose parents and teachers and peers and the world told them they couldn’t but now they think maybe they can.
And it matters to those parents and teachers and peers who maybe now won’t discourage the next autistic kid from higher education, because they realize it can be done–and that could change the world.
It matters a hell of a lot to those parents realizing for the first time that their child isn’t doomed, that they can share the same dreams.
It matters a hell of a lot to the Autistic community, to see that I’m not just the token freak show at the normals’ event, rounding out the talk with the “real professionals.”
It matters a hell of a lot TO ME who walked coals and transversed the underworld and lives with scars on my belly and deeper where no one sees to get here.
^This is what “check your privilege” means.