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Neurelitism and Audism

November 24, 2007

When I came up with the concept of neurelitism, I modeled it after audism in the deaf community:

In sociology, we sometimes use a term, the matrix of domination, to refer to the interlocking grid or network of oppressions in a society (like the U.S.).

It is overly simplistic to collapse all oppressions into one or to argue that “all oppressions are the same.” However, once one has developed a sense of one’s own status (or multiple statuses) as an oppressed person (racism, classism, ethnicism, sexism, neurelitism, audism, heterosexism/homophobia, etc.), it becomes possible to look for commonalities (as well as differences) with those who experience other types of oppression.

There are many similarities between the experiences of the deaf with audism and those on the autism spectrum with neurelitism. Each community, IMO, can learn from the other.

My suggestion: Go to this website:

Then select “Interview with Cari” from the menu on the right.

I don’t think most people would suggest that deafness and ASDs should be conflated. I know that I, as a sociologist, am very careful to focus on the particularity of experience and the specificity of oppression. Each category of oppression needs to examined on its own. Connections between those categories need to be made very carefully.

Nonetheless, just as there are differences between the oppressions, there are also similarities. Understanding those similarities can allow people, in spite of their differences in experience, to be willing to work with each other to challenge oppression.

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