Saturday, January 21, 2017

Integration

All those people who rightly condemn the nationalist fools shouting about integration. Integration, which happens when people are forced to give up their identity and culture and language in order to adopt a country or culture not of their own.

The same condemning people who tut tut over seventy years of the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families. Those stolen children were sent to missions and institutions where they were taught to reject their heritage and their language and become 'assimilated' into white society.

And yet those people are the same people who approve of ABA, the practice of training autistic children to be as non-autistic as we can possibly make them. Eye contact, no stimming, it's weird and abhorrent otherwise, our native practices. What our neurology dictates to them is wrong, because our neurology is not like theirs. They approve of the idea that 'some disabled people are too disabled to live in the community' or have the same right to schooling as other children.

And then there's the endless insistence on walking, even for children who will never walk, because you are normal and we are not.

It's not such a difference, is it? You might cloak your intolerance in a professed desire to help those poor, poor things and you might get a butterfly or ribbon or jigsaw tattoo to show your love and solidarity. Wear a wristband, step up for Steptember.

But the outcomes are the same. Those poor stolen children who were taught to deny their Aboriginality, the stolen children who will never tick the 'autism spectrum disorder' box on a form. The now grown children with PTSD from being therapied into something they are not. Over and over the damaging message that you are less than and other and that you must be changed or fixed because you are not okay just the way you are.

You don't have to be an angry white man draped in an Australian flag to be arrogantly intolerant of difference. It doesn't even matter whether you can distinguish between the words 'you're' and 'your'. If you think we're broken, less than you are, then you're just the same.

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