Sunday 9 June 2019

live and learn

I’m concerned that some people have misinterpreted recent blog posts in a light I find concerning. I want to clarify that I had only the briefest interaction with Aja Barber, probably about 2 minutes of text exchanges. I only followed her Instagram due to Emi Ito crediting her as an influence. I was curious and wanted to find out why Ms Barber is so inspirational. She has a huge following on Instagram so it’s obvious she is a significant influencer.

I only started on Instagram about 6 weeks ago and are still learning the ropes. From what I’ve learned so far I’m a bit ambivalent whether I want to stay in it! Being Aspergers I have developed a set of strategies for how to behave as expected in public places which usually keeps me out of trouble. Instagram is a new thing I’m feeling my way into and my approach to Ms Barber was a blunder.

Ms Barber took offence at the way I asked how I could get an understanding of what she stood for. Now that I’ve done my research I can understand why she reacted with such outrage. She is an advocate for BIPOC peeps and it’s an almost a daily experience for her to have white people challenge her. Understandably she’s found the best strategy is to give them short shrift and not bother wasting the breath. Delete, block.

So I take this as a lesson in learning how to finesse my approach to interacting with people in this new medium. Ms Barber didn’t know I’m Aspergers and that is the way I talk to people in real life. I’m interested in what people think and how they came to think that rather than their subjectivities. I am hopeless at inane chatter. Generally I try to avoid contact with NTs because my lack of tact and ability to read body language usually ends in some embarrassing disaster where I’ll be abruptly escorted out of the room. (otherwise known as “given the bums rush”)

I found a good body of writing by Ms Barber on Medium and read all of it.

There are also essays there by another person recommended by Emi Ito, Ijeoma Oluo. 

They are both motivational writers and powerful advocates for their communities. I’m in complete agreement with Ms Barbers political views so it’s a shame what a stuff up our first communications were. Meeting in a different scenario I think we would have felt simpatico to each other. I like her, anyway.

I will endeavour to do better. Develop more sensitive scripts. I’ve quickly come to understand that Instagram isn’t a context where people discuss serious stuff. It is full of moral panic and peeps who think that whoever screeches loudest is the rightest.

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