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Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many auti Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many autistic communities, often speaking out sharply on issues of marginality, intersectionality, and liberation.


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Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many auti Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many autistic communities, often speaking out sharply on issues of marginality, intersectionality, and liberation.

30 review for All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    update june 2017: I have requested my library buy this now it is released. brief article about this book here Goodreads, please give me an option for push notifications for the release of books. Pretty please. update june 2017: I have requested my library buy this now it is released. brief article about this book here Goodreads, please give me an option for push notifications for the release of books. Pretty please.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    Autism is many things. But it is seldom what it is perceived by people to be. It isn’t a tragedy. It isn’t a ravaged life. It isn’t an entity that destroys lives. It isn’t a disease. - Morenike Giwa Onaiwu This is an important collection of essays, poetry and artwork from autistic women of color talking about how ableism intersects with other oppressions; particularly racism but also sexism and homophobia. There were three themes that I found particularly powerful: I accepted his implicit judgment Autism is many things. But it is seldom what it is perceived by people to be. It isn’t a tragedy. It isn’t a ravaged life. It isn’t an entity that destroys lives. It isn’t a disease. - Morenike Giwa Onaiwu This is an important collection of essays, poetry and artwork from autistic women of color talking about how ableism intersects with other oppressions; particularly racism but also sexism and homophobia. There were three themes that I found particularly powerful: I accepted his implicit judgment that the ability to act abled meant that one was not really disabled. And that is the unfortunate consequence for those who are good enough at acting abled. Once people think of you as abled any time you are unable to keep up the act is seen as something to be suspicious of. - Amanda Filteau First, the concept of 'passing'. I was aware of this idea from other literature about race and sexuality. 'Passing privilege' is the principle that one looks or acts like members of the "normal" group and so experience some of the privilege associated with that group. For example, some people of colour who have lighter skin may be able to pass as white, and so do not experience the same level of racial prejudice as those with darker skin. Likewise, bisexual people may automatically 'pass' for heterosexual if they are with a partner of the opposite gender identity, and so may not experience the same level of homophobia. This is not to say that this concept is entirely positive. For many who 'pass' it is due to assumptions on the part of society, and those assumptions can do just as much damage as the prejudice that's been avoided. In the bisexual example, the person's sexual identity is erased, as is common with bisexuality, due to assumptions that bisexual people are closeted homosexuals or experimenting heterosexuals. Many of the writers in this anthology speak of having to "pass" for neurotypical, and the many costs of having to do that. In many cases, unlike the examples above, "passing" is not through lack of choice (e.g. as Daniel Au Valencia puts it "I put zero effort into making myself look more white"); hence the alternative description: "acting abled". This language reflects the active, exhausting effort required to pass for neurotypical (read: "normal"). Like the examples above, it also costs people their pride and dignity in having to suppress part of their identity. "I had 'the talk' with my kids this morning in the car. Not the 'birds and the bees' talk. The 'how to stay alive because you're black and therefore a threat' talk. - Morenike Giwa Onaiwu The second theme that struck me was how this idea of 'passing' interacts with the racism experienced by autistics of colour. Police brutality against people of colour is so prevalent that parents must teach their children how to react (or more importantly, not to react) when coming into contact with the police, as a critical way of ensuring their survival. But what about when those children are neurodivergent? Many people on the autism spectrum show "self-stimulatory behaviour" (commonly called "stimming") as a way of calming and/or stimulating themselves. Behaviours can include things like flapping hands, making sounds, repeating movements etc. Put this into the context of police brutality, and suddenly "acting abled" takes on a whole new level of necessity - a young African-American boy stimming when approached by the police could very well lead to his murder. "Somebody I have to work with to survive will respect at most two of the three things that are most central to who I am: my race, my gender or my neurodivergence." - kiran foster "This is also why I am frustrated and disappointed when disability activists speak about racism as though it's over, or dismiss racism as irrelevant to ableism, as well as when organizers for racial justice are completely ignorant to disability issues, or dismiss ableism as simply no-existent or unconnected to racial oppression and white supremacy." - Lydia X Z Brown The third theme is one of the core purposes of bring this anthology together - addressing the intersectionality of ableism and other oppressions. While many social movements are making headway in raising awareness of inequality, it is often siloed to a single issue and ignorant of how the issue intersects with others. For example, the mainstream feminist movement has long faced accusations of being for white, middle-class, cisgendered, able-bodied, heterosexual women. However, it is not just the feminist movement. Many disability activism groups do not consider race, gender or sexuality to be relevant, a common consequence of lack of representation of people of colour, women or LGBTQ+ people in the leadership of these organisations. When we think about the representation of autism in the media, it is commonly a young white boy. This has led to faulty perceptions such as the idea that women and people of colour cannot be autistic; or delays in diagnosis because of doctors categorising symptoms as just part of being from a certain race or culture. Most people will hold multiple identities at any one time; if any or multiple of these are membership of oppressed social groups, how can one ever feel truly understood? If a person is disabled, of colour, and trans but each individual movement does not recognise the role of those other identities, then those people are never fully recognised. I have two criticisms of this collection that stopped it getting a higher rating from me. Firstly, the length. This could easily have been two anthologies in my opinion. It wasn't long because each piece was long, but simply there were too many pieces. I don't believe that any piece was less deserving than the others, but the sheer volume made it a laborious read in places. A lot of pieces repeated similar ideas; and of course that's important to demonstrate the breadth of an issue, but it also made it harder to differentiate between pieces and to stay engaged. Perhaps this is just the kind of collection that you need to dip in and out of. The second problem I had was the jargon. While there is a note at the beginning explaining the approach to editing as focusing on substance over style (with the very pertinent point that "focusing too much on 'proper' spelling and grammar reinforces white, wealthy, educated 'norms' of language"), a glossary would have been hugely helpful. Terminology such as "stimming", "echolalia" etc., went straight over my head and made some of the essays inaccessible to me as a reader who didn't know a lot about neurodivergence when I started. I have no problem educating myself, but when one of the aims of this anthology seemed to be awareness raising, that aim is ultimately hindered if the reader is alienated by seemingly technical language they don't understand. Overall, this is a unique and important work in the field of intersectionality that I would recommend to anyone wanting to understand autism, neurodivergence, and racism in more detail. "On every page, in every account, from every contributor, you will find one profound, universal theme threaded silently and artfully throughout the entire anthology. Again and again, you will find that the answer to the aforementioned question, now unspoken, 'What does autism have to do with race?' is a gentle, but resounding, 'Everything.'" - Morenike Giwa Onaiwu

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    3/11/21: This is an important update. If you have the book, but have not read it yet, please read this first: https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei... This is such a necessary, powerful anthology. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. There's more authoritative info here: https://autismandrace.com/publicity/ I've tagged it as LGBTQIA\LGBTQIA-ish because there are quite a few pieces by queer and genderqueer writers in it. While gender and orientation aren't central themes, there's some great stuf 3/11/21: This is an important update. If you have the book, but have not read it yet, please read this first: https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei... This is such a necessary, powerful anthology. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. There's more authoritative info here: https://autismandrace.com/publicity/ I've tagged it as LGBTQIA\LGBTQIA-ish because there are quite a few pieces by queer and genderqueer writers in it. While gender and orientation aren't central themes, there's some great stuff there. CW: violence, physical and emotional abuse of children, institutionalization, police violence

  4. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Note that the publication of this book has been discontinued by the publisher and editors, the reasons for their decision to do so and aims for a future second edition printing are described here - https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei... This is a thick book but I appreciated it a lot and read it quite quickly. I respect so much the scope of the project, and the collection of a wide variety of authentic self expression varying from long form essays to poetry to artwork. Lydia X. Z. Brown include Note that the publication of this book has been discontinued by the publisher and editors, the reasons for their decision to do so and aims for a future second edition printing are described here - https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei... This is a thick book but I appreciated it a lot and read it quite quickly. I respect so much the scope of the project, and the collection of a wide variety of authentic self expression varying from long form essays to poetry to artwork. Lydia X. Z. Brown includes a process note describing that the team “chose to use an editing process that emphasized substance over style.” They go on to explain, “oftentimes, editing that focuses too much on ‘proper’ spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other aspects of language only reinforces white, wealthy, educated ‘norms’ of language and communication while devaluing and erasing language usages of racialized, poor and working-class or un- or informally educated people.” I think this choice felt successful to me because perhaps it allowed pieces of writing that wouldn’t normally be included (or included as close to how they were written) in an anthology like this, but at the same time was never a distraction or burden for the reader, for me at least. As the title suggests, this anthology focuses on autism and race, and the lived experience at the intersection of the two. I loved how much breadth this book spans even with its quite specific topic. Definitely will be keeping my eye out for the second edition and am interested to see it come to fruition.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    A groundbreaking, essential book for everyone. Incredibly thought-provoking, emotional and informative.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Yuna

    This is a hard one to rate, because in an anthology this big not every piece in it is probably going to be to an individual reader's taste (nor should they be, imo). Overall, I found this book to be an interesting, sometimes depressing, sometimes challenging, sometimes happy/hopeful read. It has essays, short stories, poems, and art. Some of it is very critical/analytical, while some of it is raw expression/emotion. Lots to think about after reading this. This is a hard one to rate, because in an anthology this big not every piece in it is probably going to be to an individual reader's taste (nor should they be, imo). Overall, I found this book to be an interesting, sometimes depressing, sometimes challenging, sometimes happy/hopeful read. It has essays, short stories, poems, and art. Some of it is very critical/analytical, while some of it is raw expression/emotion. Lots to think about after reading this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    misha

    letter from the editors: https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei... letter from the editors: https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Danni Green

    This extremely important and powerful anthology is already my most-recommended book of the year.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I was a big fan of this book -- but also N.B. this (March 11, 2011) FB post from Lydia X. Z. Brown about pulling the first edition. I was a big fan of this book -- but also N.B. this (March 11, 2011) FB post from Lydia X. Z. Brown about pulling the first edition.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    This is a really important book given that women/people of color are vastly underrepresented in the autism literature. I’ve recently been reading about how autism in women manifests somewhat differently (resulting in their under-diagnosis), but the most prominent accounts primarily feature white women. I was therefore very excited to find this complementary collection featuring many autistic women and men of color (including black and indigenous) authors/artists. A number of the contributors are This is a really important book given that women/people of color are vastly underrepresented in the autism literature. I’ve recently been reading about how autism in women manifests somewhat differently (resulting in their under-diagnosis), but the most prominent accounts primarily feature white women. I was therefore very excited to find this complementary collection featuring many autistic women and men of color (including black and indigenous) authors/artists. A number of the contributors are additionally queer and/or genderqueer. The collection combines a variety of media ranging from essays, fiction/fantasy, blog posts, poetry, art and even comics. Just a few of the specific issues covered in the collection: * Having extra risky interactions with police as a person of color who also behaves unexpectedly e.g. stims in a stressful situation * Growing up in cultures that are less accepting of neurodiversity * Being viewed as behaving “too white” when struggling to pick up social nuances * Having the police called during meltdowns when this doesn’t happen to white kids who have worse meltdowns * Having autistic behaviors dismissed (even by therapists!) as just being an effect of having a different culture/ethnicity * Being dismissed in situations with an abusive adult since their word is taken less seriously as a child of color with behavioral problems * Prohibitive costs of getting an official autism diagnosis The collection does have flaws. I think the editing could have been improved, especially to create more coherence across the different pieces. While reading I wished there was a short description about the different authors summarizing their background; I eventually noticed this was all put at the end. The editors also chose to minimally correct grammatical/spelling errors in case any of the writers (with a language disability) found the editing process uncomfortable. I thought this was an interesting idea, but noticed that most of the writers wrote with very few errors anyway; I wonder if this plan backfired by putting an extra burden of editing on the disabled writers themselves. While there was considerable variation, a number of pieces seemed rather ideologically pure. The language of social justice is certainly useful to encompass the many intersecting issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and disability covered here, however I would have also been interested in learning more about ideological tensions/ambiguities. Have these autistic writers run into issues within social justice communities due to their troubles with social cues? There were only a few examples of this (for example, one essay mentioned an autistic white male friend whose behavior was interpreted as sexual harassment). Small flaws notwithstanding, it is wonderful to have access to these pieces. I hope there is another collection and look forward to reading more from these authors (and others) in the future.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Edit: I am adding this statement from the editors to my review, explaining their decision to pull the first edition from publication and enter into an accountability process: https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei.... // Original review, unedited but with some context added: Okay, wow, this collection was an amazing read, for so many reasons. 1) This is a great, clear example of ethical editing. (Clarification: when I say "ethical" here, I mean the editing process promoted contributor agency and Edit: I am adding this statement from the editors to my review, explaining their decision to pull the first edition from publication and enter into an accountability process: https://autismandrace.com/all-the-wei.... // Original review, unedited but with some context added: Okay, wow, this collection was an amazing read, for so many reasons. 1) This is a great, clear example of ethical editing. (Clarification: when I say "ethical" here, I mean the editing process promoted contributor agency and support over content and grammatical editing that would reinforce gatekeeping based in class and formal education levels. Editors actively engaged with how the editing process is itself political and aimed to center marginalized, particularly multiply marginalized, contributors in the creation of their editing approaches and practices. I do not mean the decisions referenced in the editors' statement, where as they say, "In our attempt to publish as widely and broadly as possible, represent as many different perspectives of autistic people of color as possible, and avoid ableist, racist, and classist editing practices, we made some incredibly harmful choices.") The collection as a whole fits so well together and the section breaks make for a semi-structured emotional and thematic arc while still letting contributors' own words take center stage. 2) These are narratives that, quite frankly, are buried in most settings and deserve so much more attention. The political power and revolutionary/reclamatory punch of their presentation here is incredible. 3) There are so many complicated experiences and emotions brought up here. The idea of feeling outside of yourself/shifted in relation to who you're "supposed" to be or how one is "supposed" to understand individuality or self-world separation was really well-explained in so many pieces. The role of "passing" or of not feeling like a full member of one's family or racial group related heavily, as did feeling too scared and/or traumatized to assert identity and seek resources (we live in such an unsafe world). I feel like I absorbed so much from this collection to keep thinking through in working to unravel/dismantle/build new, better systems over in the future.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex Creece

    This is such an important book, but it’s difficult to rate an anthology, particularly one of this length. It contains a variety of genres, including essays (both personal and academic), poetry, prose and artwork. Some pieces are stronger than others, but its scope means that it can resonate with a wide readership — there’s something for everyone! I would especially recommend this anthology to other people in the autistic community, as we tend to be overwhelmingly white. Although there are many b This is such an important book, but it’s difficult to rate an anthology, particularly one of this length. It contains a variety of genres, including essays (both personal and academic), poetry, prose and artwork. Some pieces are stronger than others, but its scope means that it can resonate with a wide readership — there’s something for everyone! I would especially recommend this anthology to other people in the autistic community, as we tend to be overwhelmingly white. Although there are many barriers faced by autistic people in general, we must appreciate the additional barriers experienced by autistic people of colour. We cannot foster a supportive, accessible and inclusive community if we overlook the intersection of race and disability. This anthology contains invaluable lived experiences and a lot of heart. A couple of caveats: While the minimal copyediting wasn’t an issue for me (it’s great to read people’s authentic voices), I felt that the general structure was rather vague. The chapter headings/themes overlap with each other quite a bit, so they didn’t add much to the overall flow of the book. I also would’ve loved for the autistry pieces to be dispersed throughout. I occasionally got confused by some of the more satirical works. It may have been helpful to clarify that certain parts are intended to be read sarcastically. In some of the works, the justified text alignment creates noticeably irregular spacing across the page. For readers with dyslexia and similar conditions, you might prefer to read this book in an electronic/audio format. This anthology is best suited to people who have an existing knowledge of autism and neurodiversity. For general readers, make sure you know the basics first, including key terms. Then get reading!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jalisa

    This book gives a variety of perspectives in essay, poetry, and interview format with people of color who have autism. It really opened my eyes to the ways in which I operate in ableism and ways in which I buy into the problematic cultural narrative around people with disabilities, particularly those with mental disabilities. There are some truly gifted writers that I'm happy that I was exposed to including Ki'tay D. Davidson and Kaijaii Gomez Wick. There are A LOT of stories to dig into, and th This book gives a variety of perspectives in essay, poetry, and interview format with people of color who have autism. It really opened my eyes to the ways in which I operate in ableism and ways in which I buy into the problematic cultural narrative around people with disabilities, particularly those with mental disabilities. There are some truly gifted writers that I'm happy that I was exposed to including Ki'tay D. Davidson and Kaijaii Gomez Wick. There are A LOT of stories to dig into, and the topics get really heavy (lots of stories about war and police violence) so I would pace yourself. What I appreciated most is the threads that the writers tied between other social justice issues such as police brutality, and anti-black racism, and the experiences and marginalization of people with disabilities. It really called me to deepen my social justice practice in new ways. Added note: When someone buys a copy of All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, the "profits" go to the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color's Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment.

  14. 4 out of 5

    JB

    A vital, and essential book for anyone interested in disability, neurodiversity, race, and gender/sexuality, which should be everyone. The autistic experience is under-represented by actual autistic people, and the experience of autistic POC even more so. This book collects mostly essays, with some fiction, poetry, art, and photography by autistic people of color from a variety of backgrounds. As with any anthology, I some sections resonated more with me than others, but those latter helped me r A vital, and essential book for anyone interested in disability, neurodiversity, race, and gender/sexuality, which should be everyone. The autistic experience is under-represented by actual autistic people, and the experience of autistic POC even more so. This book collects mostly essays, with some fiction, poetry, art, and photography by autistic people of color from a variety of backgrounds. As with any anthology, I some sections resonated more with me than others, but those latter helped me remember that no group, not even a micro-intersection, is a monolith in opinion. The book's abundance is also a drawback, to me - in its 500 pages, several essays accomplished similar goals. While there is value in showing some experiences are more prevalent, some more aggressive selection editing would have made a tighter book, IMO. I applaud the crip copy-editorial choice however, to not over-correct academic spelling, grammar, and syntax. Doing so would uphold Anglocentric, Academic, Abled writing styles as Correct, and everything else as wrong, when, as the content of the book attests, diversity makes us all richer.

  15. 5 out of 5

    A

    I remember when this came out. It was a breath of fresh air in a field too often defined by the interests and agendas of white disability studies. There is so much here to wrestle with and pull close. There are clarion calls and complicated arguments. All throughout by centering the voices of people often multiply marginalized it sings a song of necessary change in the most authentic voice possible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Genuinely one of the best and most important books I've read in a while. I particularly appreciated the sensitivity and nuance with which they approached Jewish autistic identity. I have seldom seen Jewish identity approached with anything close to nuance and it was so incredibly important to me to see the writings of autistic Jews in here. Genuinely one of the best and most important books I've read in a while. I particularly appreciated the sensitivity and nuance with which they approached Jewish autistic identity. I have seldom seen Jewish identity approached with anything close to nuance and it was so incredibly important to me to see the writings of autistic Jews in here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Drozda

    Everyone needs to read this. It’s a powerful illumination of intersectional experiences that help to expand/challenge the prevailing white cis male autism narrative.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marcela

    An incredible diversity of viewpoints with pieces from people of varying ethnic backgrounds, sexualities and ages, even including a seven year old. A true work of neurodiversity and intersectionality though you don’t have to be familiar with either concept to appreciate this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fae Morgan

    I found this book to be very educational and emotional. I learnt a lot about this part of autism that I was unaware of, even as a person on the autistic spectrum myself; to all the people that contributed to this book, fantastic work everyone.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pascale Scheurer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abby

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benja

  24. 5 out of 5

    Whouchin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Perifian

    Oh, autistic women of colour. Another day, then. Still cool this exists.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kumoshi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dawn-joy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Victoriana

  30. 5 out of 5

    Douglass

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