Autism as ‘Race’

As Alicia Montgomery writes in her article Autism, Like Race, Complicates Almost Everything, autism complicates many different factors of everyday life; however, add race to the mix and even the littlest things become exponentially more difficult. Montgomery uses her own child as an example, discussing his challenges as a child with autism and her fear for his actions as an African American boy.

Montgomery makes an interesting comparison between autism and race – “that fear… that you that you could do everything right, spend every dime, minute, ounce of energy on your child, and it still might not be enough” (Montgomery). The feeling that an uncontrollable such as skin color or a brain development disorder could potentially cause a stranger to harm a loved one is terrifying for anyone in such a situation.

The way that Montgomery discusses these issues presents autism as a ‘race’ of its own: “autism is its own identity; the parents and our children, we are a People” (Montgomery). Anthropologically speaking, this is an interesting concept because it is not the manner in which we usually think about race and identity, although it does fit a standard definition of a society. Anthropologists understand this idea as an organized group of people being drawn together by the mutual knowledge of autism. 


One thought on “Autism as ‘Race’

  1. As a psychology major and education minor, I have learned a lot about autism, however, this article linking autism with race sheds a new light on everything I have learned. I have never before thought about autism and race together, thus I am very thankful for reading this article which taught me a lot. This is definitely an interesting concept which I hope instigates more research!

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