I’ve done some reading about stereotype threat lately, and multiple sources seem to agree that reminding people that they are in Category X, which they have been told is bad at Y, will make them worse at Y. While it’s clearly impossible to thoroughly remove harms of this nature, it seems that they can easily be reduced.
Here’s an idea for all test-producing companies out there:
Change your testing instructions such that the demographic sections of your answer sheets are filled out last. This way, you won’t be reminding students of their membership in demographic categories more likely to fail the test before they take the test, which will apparently raise the scores of people in discriminated-against groups with no real expended effort on your part.
You can further reduce score differences in girls and minority students by stating that your test designers have taken sociology-supported measures to equalize scores across all demographics. It won’t even be a false statement.
I realize that a side effect of filling out the name-address-ethnicity section of the answer sheet first may be allowing late students some margin of error, but considering how much the test instructions call for test administration at the same time across the country, making things easy for late students does not appear to be a priority of any sort.
This appears to be a rather obvious partial solution. However, most ideas that seem (to an outsider) to be an obvious way to get good things for free turn out to be things that people within the field have considered and dismissed. (See: perpetual motion machines.) People remember outsiders coming up with amazing, creative ideas precisely because it’s a rare event.
I estimate the probability that this idea is feasible to be rather low. If anyone can spot a reason why this isn’t feasible, or why my estimate is wrong, please let me know in the comments.
Combining the positions of anti-autism authors, I am apparently a nuclear fission bomb. Salon writer Marie Myung-Ok Lee states that autism is “a public health emergency, no less deadly and devastating than Ebola.”
NBC quotes autistic professor Stephen M. Shore as saying that he “was hit with the autism bomb at 18 months old.”
Finally, NBC web commenter I’m stil [sic] drunk at 6 am!!!!! claims that an autistic child was the cause of a spousal murder-suicide, and then asks “why take two lives when you could have just taken .5?”
If we treat these statements as fact, they indicate that autism is deadly and devastating, a bomb, and has a half-life.
I think that the conclusion is clear: autism is a nuclear bomb. Clearly, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network should take advantage of this, as well as their autistic-run DC location, during the next public policy debate.
I read and summarized these comments, so you don’t have to. I did this because humor has become one of my default responses in these sorts of situations. (I’ve even made jokes while evacuating buildings.)
3 comment types that have been excluded from this summary due to overly high prevalence: “Walk in the perpetrator’s shoes, having an autistic child is so haaaard,” “Murder is wrong, don’t murder autistic people, poor kid,” and all replies to comments.
- Autistic kids are 0.5 of a life. (I think this illustrates why the disability/quality-adjusted life year is a bad idea in practice.)
- This woman is a total scumbag for [description of crimes as phrased using feminist/social justice rhetoric], so feminists shouldn’t defend her just because she’s female. (I’ll be sure to tell all the feminists out there defending this woman, who *definitely* exist and are not fake, that they are hypocrites at the next Global Feminist Conspiracy meeting.)
- I will mock the murder victim in an anti-Republican political joke. How could this possibly make Democrats look bad in any way?
- Somehow, the perpetrator being fat caused this problem, because fat is somehow magically the root of all evil.
- I will defend the honor of a victim of a mental-disability motivated hate crime by claiming the mother is mentally ill, because I am not at all hypocritical!
- I predict that the perpetrator will go free, because the justice system is biased against men. This proves my argument that the justice system is biased against men.
- I will use this to advocate for my not-particularly-related antiwar opinions, even though it’s hard to actually draw any connections between war and ableist hate crimes, while at least using polite phrasing.
- People show support for this murderer because they are misandrist, and not because they are ableist.
- She should have killed an adult male, because then she would have gotten away with it, because misandry.
- Everyone accused of a crime should be killed even before a trial, because otherwise the government has to pay for basic needs of alleged criminals, like food, shelter, and public defenders. Zero tolerance for violent crime! Also, the perpetrator is fat.
- The perpetrator will walk free, because liberals are terrible people.
- It’s her fault, she didn’t use a (seemingly yet-to-be-invented) prenatal test for autism and then abort.
- [sarcastic conservative] If it’s okay to abort a fetus, why not murder a 6-year-old?
Comments made before the child’s diagnostic status became clear:
- Brutally murder her for her brutal murder of her child, because vengeance and justice are one and the same.
This blog will discuss autistic politics, my attempts at clearer reasoning, as well as other, unrelated topics.
There are no trigger warnings or content notes on this blog at this time. This is because I do not expect to have a large enough audience to have readers who require or prefer these warnings. If you would like me to add warnings for any specific phenomenon, please make your request in the comments.
Speaking of comments, please be polite in the comments. No slurs. (Yes, the r-word is a slur against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.) A more specific comment policy may be developed if it becomes necessary.
About me: I’m an autistic, aspiring rationalist, atheist student who has femininity.
As you may guess, I write this blog under a pseudonym. Writing under a pseudonym is a negligable cost to me, which can reduce my already-small risk of recieving death threats significantly. Anonymous blogging also offers the advantage of being the first result for a search for my pseudonym. I would like to thank the Rinkworks fantasy name generator for developing my pseudonym, by the way.
The phrase “with femininity” is used both as a reference to the awkwardness of the phrase “person with autism,” and to indicate that femininity is not a major component of my identity, but rather just something that I happened to end up with.