Dear Fellow Black Autistic, Your Autistic Experience Looks Different,

Being Black and Autistic means being on display. It means being bared to the world like a frog on the dissection table.

It means white people and white autistics running every thing in the Autistic community because they shaped that world and the movement in their image, and you might think it’s up to you to get right or get left behind.

You might even never know you’re Autistic because of how separated that dominant narrative is from Blackness. But you are, and there are people who see you and understand you.

I know you stim, and your body knows you’re Autistic, even if it’s not how your non-Black counterparts stim.

Stimming can look so varied and so wonderfully and uniquely Black.

From picking your afro because the motion is soothing, to twerking and playing with your braids, to repeating that one itch-scratching line in the rap song you love over and over again… It’s the way that you put on lipgloss even though you just put it on three minutes ago because the motion is soothing. It’s the smell and motion of lathering yourself in lotion and body butter, the weight and sound of your jewelry clinking against each other, the rubbing of your waist beads against your hips and stomach, even between your fingers. It’s even throwing up gang signs when you’re alone.

You stim, and you may not even notice it because nothing listed reminds you of how white people stim… and haven’t they set the path? The trend?

You are autistic, and you are Black, and those two things are not at odds. You don’t have to choose one or the other. It is a glorious feeling to embrace cultural stims, so the next time you twirl your braids or fidget with your waistbeads or even find yourself twerking in the kitchen while you cook, I hope you know all the autistic Black ancestors and people out here roaming the world right now are doing it with you.

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4 Responses

  1. As an older black woman who has struggled her entire life and facing shutdown. Thank you. I couldn’t have asked for a more prescient post.

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