During my time in the Autistic community, I often heard murmurings of eugenics projects, but in all honesty, I was unaware of the reality of just how many sought to eradicate Autistic people. Perhaps then you can understand just how upsetting Spectrum 10k has been; not just for me, but for tens of thousands of Autistic people, for whom eugenics has been a mythical creature. This project has served as a rude awakening to a world in which we are not welcome. Such a world as the ones found in dystopian fiction.
They say that ignorance is bliss, and truthfully, it was. I yearn for a world where experts are only wrong, and do not harbour genocidal ambitions. Unfortunately, the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK, are engaging on projects that each day take us closer to a world where Autistic people no longer exist.
Myself and the rest of the team at the Boycott Spectrum 10K campaign have literally given our wellbeing to this cause. Many, if not all of us, have been in some state of burnout since this started. We have fought hard to make it clear that we won’t stand idley by while things like this are enacted upon our community. So this latest attempt to draw us into consultation over this project has been a slap in the face.
Some may believe we can achieve more by coming to the table, but I want to tell you why that won’t work. There is no version of the current project that is acceptable. As the project stands, any input from Autistic people would be tokenistic. It would still have the same goals, it would still produce the same data with the same ethical issues. In order for this project to be acceptable, it would no longer be the same project. It would require new goals, new data collection, and new ethics approval. They would likely lose their funding as well as the people who provided it had very specific goals in mind.
For our input to mean anything, this entire project would need to be abandoned, and a new one co-produced with the Autistic community.
Unfortunately, this will not happen. The people involved in this project do not care for what research we actually need. Their values do not align with our community. If we came to the table, they would write down our views, and bin them once we left. Involvement with this project will bring nothing good, but it will empower them. If we come to the table, we legitimise their ambitions. We can not allow that to happen.