Tribe or Community ?. What I see, what I hope for. 

Are we a tribe ?. 

Are we a community ?. 

Tribes are social groupings with social, economic or blood ties, usually having a leader. 

Communities are a group of people in the same place or sharing a common characteristic. 

Those loose definitions would, on the face of it, indicate the latter. We share the common characteristic of Autism. We might be linked socially, possibly economically, potentially by blood but we don’t have a leader (although there are those who clearly think they were born to lead!). 

I’ve never liked being part of a tribe. I’m not sure what it is, not sure why I say that but, to me, the word conjures up tribal warfare, an antagonism towards others. Behaviour that is aggressive is often described as tribal. I think of Africa and it’s huge cultural diversity and television programmes such as “Tribe” which only seemed to reinforce ancient enmities towards other tribes occupying or seeking to the occupy the same land. Perhaps, subconsciously, that’s why I couldn’t “get” Steve Silbermans “Neurotribes”, because of that word which didn’t seem to fit me. So, whilst reading it, I felt removed, apart, alienated by the title and therefore the content. 

I’d like to think we were a community. It sounds…. friendly. It sounds….. together. 

I’d like to think. 

But I’m not sure we are that either. I think we are close to it but not “it”. 

I’d like to think we’d work together “for the good of the community”. I’d like to think we’d pull together in a calm, measured way. But ego tends to get in the way. 

We don’t work together because some individuals want to be in charge. They want to be leader. You can tell them by their self description. “Highly educated”, “High functioning”, “Intellectual” and the like. I’m not even sure what highly educated means ?. Degree ?. Masters ?. PhD ?. And does it matter ?. High functioning ?. Set against ?, low functioning ?, not functioning ?. And intellectual ?. Are these phrases designed to intimidate ?. 

Saying these things makes me wonder (again) about the tribe/community conundrum. Are these individuals more worthy of being listened to than anyone else ?. Are their views and opinions of more value ?. 

No. 

I’ve no doubt they’ve read the research, know the diagnostic criteria inside out and can quote it chapter and verse. 

Those are not tools by which to intimidate or subjugate!. 

I’d like the think we were all equal. That all our individual experiences counted the same as each other’s. That we were all given due respect and fair hearing. That, as a community, we pulled together and felt we could express an opinion without being shouted down because it doesn’t match someone else’s. 

I’d like to think people cared. 

I care. 

I care about us. I care about the future. I want us all to be happy in our Autistic skin. I don’t need competition or people thinking they’re better than me. I have enough self esteem issues as it is without you adding to it and beating me down. 

Tribe ?. Community ?. 

Probably somewhere in between. 

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