Autistic While Black: On a Spectrum of Violence

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Following the Murder of George Floyd in June 2020, many of us opened conversations about racism in our communities.


Not long afterwards, a Black autistic man Elijah McClain (23) was killed by US paramedic services and police. With his murder as a catalyst, this lecture seeks to introduce audiences to the relationships between anti-Blackness and ableism (via violent policing).

With ‘intersectionality’ at the centre (hooks; Crenshaw; Hill-Collins), we will further see how the Whiteness of autism in our media falls short of depicting the diversity of autistic experiences that exist.

In this session, I will explore the interlocking violence that occurs to those that are both Black and autistic. With ideas and concepts rooted in cultural studies, race/whiteness studies, childhood studies, and criminology, we will begin to grasp how Black autistic children are seen in society, including by authority figures such as police and education providers.

When we know autistic people are already at greater risk of being stopped by police, imagine what happens when they are also racialised as Black since racism and ableism in these contexts are compounded.

Look forward to sharing with you.

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