Pseudo-acceptance is like when I tell my homosexual friend that I can accept to be his friend as long as he doesn’t actually have sex with men; or maybe: as long as he doesn’t remind me that he has sex with men or maybe even just homosexual desires (e.g. by talking about his exciting new boyfriend).

The basic idea of pseudo-acceptance is that all or even just most of the actual work of acceptance is to be done by the very person or thing the pseudo-acceptor is claiming to accept. Regarding autism, if I am willing to accept the fact that you are autistic as long as you don’t act like it — as long as you act like a neurological “normal” person — then I’m not really accepting that you’re autistic. Such acceptance places all of the burden of fitting in on the autistic person, and if we autists were neurologically capable of doing that, then we would already be doing it, and we would not have been diagnosed with autism in the first place.

I think one important application of this idea concerns the way companies accommodate employees with psychiatric “disabilities” like autism. Many companies have internal policies that make it virtually impossible for autistic people to work there without eventually getting themselves fired for violating those policies. If these companies claim to value diversity, but refuse to change their policies to make it possible for autistic people to actually work there, then they are not really valuing autistic diversity.

To my view that’s pseudo-acceptance.


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