Hey all, it's me again.
So lately, I've seen infighting from within our community and it seems when you have an opinion, some of the community members disagree wholeheartedly and vice versa, which is unfortunate. Can we agree to disagree?
But all in all, I'm actually a firm believer in "neutral advocacy" since it's better to listen and learn to grow towards a better tomorrow. So why I am doing "neutral advocacy" over regular "advocacy"? Simple. Listening to both sides can help meditate each other's situation and not come to a rash conclusion which could be considered chaotic. It's been a real game changer since it allows me to take a step back and analyze the situation further into it and resolve it with both parties, allowing for an effective finish to the ordeal.
So how can you be an effective "neutral advocate"?
I'll give you three important tips to reflect on.
Overreaction is overkill.
This one I've seen time and time again and it isn't worth the effort to complain at the persons or company you don't agree with, like venting your frustrations on social media. The rage machine only works so far before it becomes riddled with toxicity and uselessness, effectively defeating the purpose you tried to advocate for. Instead, how about taking time off from the trigger to calm your nerves, and come in with a fresh mind on how it can be resolved in a respectful manner. One thing I did when I saw one airline kick a passenger off due to some silly reason, I was very saddened to see this, but I didn't pull the rage machine, but instead, I wrote a message if they might need some training so this stuff doesn't happen again, sadly they didn't return my message, but that's the point there: be respectful to others, and they'll be respectful right back. Tit for tat! :)
2. Things in the past are not usually representative of today
Another one I feel needs to be nipped in the butt. I'm well aware of people or organizations who might have turned some people the wrong way, but have slowly corrected those errors. I know there are organizations personally that have tend have a really bad wrap within the general community, but I've seen that these organizations aren't as bad as you may precieve it to be. If they are affiliated to an larger organization, they may have opinions that are wildly different, so take it with some perspective as a whole. Things are changing, it may not seem like it right now, but times will prove it later on.
And last but certainly not least,
3. Your opinions are valid regardless, even if it's in the minority.
This one is MASSIVE, and I feel this can't be said more often. Your opinions should matter whenever it be it in the common majority of the autism community or in the minority or you are the only one. If you can say it, do it. I'm not THE voice for our community, I am A voice, and that's what our community should realize. Just because an individual may not be able to talk or understand, communication is key, that is the fact, so take all opinions seriously. Just because one person is voicing on behalf of all of us, that isn't representative of everything we do, and that's why I always do interviews on others first before myself from my perspective, and I make that clear straight up regardless.
See? It's not so hard to be a neutral advocate, isn't it?
I'm hopeful that my words will inspire a wave of a new generation of advocates who are more mindful, resourceful and patient, in helping achieve a better world for all.
Hope you all have a wonderful day.
Until next time, see ya!