Posted in Identity, Privilege

Neurotypical Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

(a modified list based on Peggy MacIntosh’s seminal piece on White Privilege)

[Image: A White woman with black, wavy hair and pale skin wearing a white top is seated near a white vanity (that looks almost dresser-sized).  She refuses to look in the oval mirror.  She holds a hand to the mirror; her image is looking back at her.  The room is a seafoam green.
  1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my neurotype most of the time.
  2. I spend money on electronics and “gadgetry” as a discretionary part of my income; if I can’t buy it now, it will not impede the quality of my work and/or social life.
  3. If I find a tag in a clothing, I can wait until I get home to remove it and go on with my day as usual.
  4. If there is a strong smell in the building, once I have recognized it, I will ignore it and go on with my day as usual.
  5. If I struggle to speak, people will allow me to take my time to recover and will not speak for me unless I give them permission.
  6. I can turn on the television, browse the Internet, or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my neurotype widely represented, not just in “inspirational” stories, fear stories, and/or crime stories.
  7. I can browse the Internet without stumbling upon a group that would destroy people like me because my neurotype deviates from the norm.
  8. When I am told about our natural heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my neurotype made it what it is.
  9. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  10. I can swear, or dress quirky, or not answer telephone calls without having people attribute these choices to the lack of social skills of my neurotype.
  11. I can speak in public to a powerful group without putting my neurotype on trial.
  12. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called “more than my neurotype.”
  13. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my neurotype.
  14. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my neurotype.
  15. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, or held at a distance.
  16. I can disclose my neurotype at work without having co-workers on the job suspect that I get preferential treatment because of my neurotype.
  17. I can disclose my neurotype at work without having to worry that my co-workers will be afraid of me.
  18. I never have to worry about whether to disclose my neurotype at work since my neurotype is considered to be “normal.”
  19. If I disclose my neurotype at work, I do not have to fear being fired as a result of that disclosure.
  20. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my neurotype will not work against me.
  21. I can tell friends, family, colleagues, and strangers about a condition I experience without being questioned about whether or not I really have that condition.
  22. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has ableist overtones.
  23. When I talk about my special interests, people don’t call them obsessions or ask me to change the subject.
  24. When I disclose my neurotype, people won’t tell me that I should hide it because people don’t need to know.
  25. When I disclose my neurotype, people won’t tell me stories about other people with my neurotype and how they “know all about” my neurotype from those one or two experiences.
  26. When I disclose my neurotype, people don’t compare me to a celebrity of my neurotype and ask how I’m like him or her.
  27. I have a reasonably good handle on how much, or little, work I need to do at my job to avoid negative consequences.
  28. When I try to talk about my neurotype and how it affects me, no one tries to tell me “everyone feels like that.”
  29. When I make parenting choices, or any choices, my neurotype will not be used against me in judgment of those choices.
  30. The number one group that claims to support people of my neurotype does not actively seek to eradicate my neurotype.

This list originally appeared on my first blog and I am open to suggestions for revisions and additions. Some of these suggestions came from Autistic Twitter, and I will always consider this list to be a work in progress.


#ActuallyAutistic writer, recovering educator, and unofficial Princess of Varania

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