Autism, Rhetoric, and Whiteness

Paul Heilker


Keywords: autism, rhetoric, whiteness

This paper first explicates various forces working to construct autism as an overwhelmingly white phenomenon in public discourse, including popular films, television programming, "armchair" internet diagnoses, "geek chic," "shiny" autistics, "Aspie supremacy," the rhetorics of autism advocacy organizations, special education, access to health care, and parental education levels.  It then considers the epistemological and rhetorical implications of autistic whiteness, including an examination of its functions in Burkean identification and its possible operation in educational, workplace, criminal justice, and governmental contexts.


autism; rhetoric; whiteness

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Copyright (c) 2012 Paul Heilker

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