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  • Writer's pictureCrys Raffa

"Discord"-ant Note

How being part of a "special" community became especially common for ableist hate of ASD

Recently the podcast I did with my dad was published. It was fun to record and I am glad it was put out in the world. I do not regret suggesting it or making it. However...

I am no longer a member of the discord group I was a part of that inspired me to suggest it. It is *not* due to the TikTok artist himself. We spoke about what happened and since. He assures me the group moderator at issue, as well as the others have been spoken with and to about my highlighted concerns. As a matter of safety, they have been told to not communicate with people outside the server so I have not gotten any apology from the person at fault. While I am bothered by the lack of apology, I fully respect the approach to safety in a day and age where online harassment and safety have to be taken with very high regard.

To fully explain the situation I would have to show you the words said to me and I have been debating it for a number of weeks. I worry it would invite that person to seek me out and deliver more harassment to my doorstep. It was being in that discord which prompted me to start this page after all and given their own web skills, it feels like a valid concern. I also feel like posting what I then annotated their comments with (devoid of any personal indications such as names or gender) would allow me to the most clear in why I left the group the night it happened.

I have questioned myself about if leaving in such a hasty manner was perhaps the best move. I didn't wait to see if people would change. I didn't allow him time to deal with the issue, but it was a culmination of several smaller actions and the way I was spoken to was SO over the line and so needless and hurtful, it feels like simply going was the right choice. It also stands out to me that since then, I have not been invited back. My choice to leave was mine, yes, and it was respected and acknowledged as such.

But the fact the words of this moderator were:

not seen as a form of hate speech from how they are AS WRITTEN by the person

not immediately delt with in harsher terms or more public ways inside the server

not instantly worth saying "I'm so sorry, please let me speak to X before you leave."

This is an issue itself because this moderator is arguably the lead person and right hand in many ways. The server rules have to be approved by the artist himself and he said that to me as well. I believe him when he says he has addressed these points with this person and this group of moderators. I am not being critical of the artist whose name the server was created in admiration of or for the promotion of!!

I am going to post the annotated version which I sent the artist and it gets what comments it gets. If I regret it, so be it, but I have spent weeks being fearful about speaking out towards the ableist and hate filled ways I am treated as an autistic adult and as a parents of ASD kids, I don't think that I should allow myself to be afraid that way.

(The private message I got had numbered points, so my comments are in bold for clarity.)

1. The reason I deleted your message in the chat is because it was completely unnecessary and only served to further draw attention to yourself. It also violates one of our rules about discussing moderation decisions.

So the issue is they call me attention grabbing before rule breaker first and foremost....

(THIS is the part I find hate speech)

2. I understand that you are autistic and have trouble sometimes with that and have expressed that in the past, however, I am uncomfortable with the way you communicate that to the server and how it effects conversations within the server. It comes off as very victimizing and can make the entire "air" of the channel to be brought down and feel guilty. It inhibits the ability for people to freely make conversation. At times, it feels like it's being weaponized.

So let me see if I understand this, they are speaking for EVERYONE including the actual ASD and ADHD people on the server, who may well not remotely feel this way? They are uncomfortable? Are they authorized to unilaterally decide and dictate that their comfort is everyone else's? I have not shared 1/50th of my life and I am playing victim?? How am I so powerful to change the whole air of the entire channel? How can I make so many feel guilty over having shared absolutely no real details beyond surface level? And never more than once? I am inhibiting the free speech of whom exactly? To then further accuse me of weaponizing my autisim is clearly a means of controlling language. They may not even realize how serious the ways this is manipulative and dehumanizing, but a lifetime of being spoken to this way, as a neurodivergent, means I know it when I hear it.

3. The only response you, realistically, need to give when a moderator points out a violation of the rules or repeated misuse of discord (according to our etiquette) should be sometime to the effect of "ok." Any additional commentary is fluff and/or trying to save face. Please refrain in the future.

Save face? That is a neurotypical assumption at best. I am being honest. Are they dictating etiquette for everyone without awareness of what neurodivergence is? Or simply disregard for it being part of who some coven members are? If the rule is simple acknowledgement and the rest should be PM, that's fair, but to call it needless and saving face is insulting.

4. If you have any questions or feel the need to talk this further, we are willing to talk to you about this but note that you are in violation of the rules that we have crafted to make this discord the way we ideally want it to be, so no decisions will be revoked.

Way we ideally want it to be... this feels like isolating, sect style speech

And that worries me because who else becomes logically "not ideal" in their view? Do all the moderator members feel entitled to such "only ideal" views? I realize if they are not ND they won't see it the way I do or interpret this way; that does not in anyway excuse them accusing me of playing victim or weaponizing my genetics. It doesn't allow them to say on behalf of everyone I am making them feel guilty and changing the entire channel as a result. I have my own storm to deal with in an abusive house during a divorce. I will miss what joy I had found in the coven until now as it had been a rare positive experience and chance to in any way socialize during an otherwise isolated life. It had motivated me to resume writing even, a passion I had given up due to years of being spoken to in ways similar to what she sent me tonight.

I have removed any indications of name or gender to try and minimize that potential factor. I am not trying to start fights or wars. I am trying to point out that everyone has the ability to spout hate speech and convince themselves they are "just trying to help" or "control the conversation". The problem is that conversation is not in fact conversation and it is in no way free speech if you place such controls upon it.

So once again I was in some fashion told "who you are and what you are is unacceptable". It makes no sense to tell someone they are weaponizing their genetics and playing victim by being themselves. I am able to see the one or two things they may have meant about my personal life. As an ASD it isn't a shock that I do not have many close friends and would seek advice from a source I thought I could trust. Clearly the idea this was a safe space I could trust was very much a wrong one, but all too often that knowledge can't be learned until too late. It is a tragic truth neurodivergent people face and disabled people in general. I wish it wasn't so, but it keeps being reminded to me in too many ways. I am called out as the dicordant note who is not allowed and it is because I am the loudest. I have to wonder how many others in that group are Neurodivergent and afraid to be themselves because they see the imbeded hate in the rules of conduct? How many feel the overwhelming need to mask, even online where masking should be the first thing to stop, because the group leaders have made clear "be like us or be cast out!" is the default policy; same as every other place we neurospicy people face?

I have considered asking to rejoin because I have RSD and worry I was too hasty, but as I sit here and write all of this out, I realize I had validity to what I did and why I did it.

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