The power of naming things

This could be a continuation of my harry potter analogy. Also as a talk about labels.

In Harry Potter, everybody seems to shun Voldemorts name. Nobody wants to talk about them. Even the Dursleys don’t like to talk about wizards and seem to shun their naming.

The same happens with autistics. We are called person with autism and rarely autistic person, as most of us like to be called.

Autism parents are still a thing though, as if they have a patent on being called autism, because their child is “affected” by autism.  As if a terrifying thing can be named, but an identity is something to be shunned. A black person is a person of color. How would be call a colour if we werent allowed to call it that way? What if we discover that blue likes to be called magenta?

This post was inspired by a non-autistic person hating to be referred to as an allistic person, as if labeling things is a bad thing. Labeling things and giving them a name is a very powerful act. The fact that most autistics like to be called autistic is because autism is nothing to be scared off. It is part of our identity and of who we are, so off course, we are not scared of it, but a lot of non-autistics are scared of it and how to react to it, so they prefer to put person first, because they have to see the person first otherwise they are scared of the thing called autism.

There is a great power in naming things, as featured in the later books of Harry Potter. Dumbledore advises Harry to name his adversary by his name, because shunning his name, implies that you are afraid of the thing. Implies that you have to hide it.

I like the fact that in Ursula K. Le Guin’s books the power of the magic used is in knowing the EXACT name of something before you can wield the power of it. I love this.

This is why naming a non-autistic Allistic or Neurotypical is a good thing. It distinguishes between autistics and non-autistics and keeps us seperated because no, we are not all a little bit autistic. You are or are not autistic. The same goes with blue. Blue is not Red.

The fact that we label you as allistic is not unrespectful, but out of respect that you are not autistic, but still you are named in our discussions. You are a part of our discussions. A lot of talk amongst autistics is how can we communicate with allistics. We have no problem talking amongst our peers, because we are accepted either way, and we are learned the jargon along the way. Yes, autistics have specific jargon we like to use, like allistic is one of these terms.

Naming things is not bad. It’s a way to wield power. A way to identify. A way to talk so your peers know what you are talking about, and about our terms for the non-autistic community, no allistic has any say in it. These are our terms. The way we talk about you. We are the minority here.

Another example: The most powerful thing you have is your name. If you are lucky, only one person exists with your name. But it is something you will always respond to. When you are in a group or in a setting that is loud and you pick up your name (mostly your first name) in another conversation, you interest is piqued instantaniously and if you are like me, you would want to know what they are saying about you. This is the power of your name and of naming things in general.

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