This autoethnography investigates the diverse challenges associated with being a Black, undiagnosed autistic woman coming of age on the internet, and examines how online experiences shaped my identity over the past twenty years. Early encounters with racism and cautious self-expression on platforms such as forums, GeoCities, Myspace, and YouTube are explored as my initial efforts to "fit in" in virtual spaces. I discuss how engaging with platforms like Instagram and Etsy enabled my participation in the gig economy while grappling with my pre-diagnosis social struggles. I also share how I navigate post-2020 experiences as a Black autistic online creator, how TikTok played a pivotal role in my journey to diagnosis, and how my self-expression, self-employment, and online sharing changed as a result. Through this paper, I hope to encourage discussions about the intersections of autism, race, and gender within our digital experiences.
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"Breaking Me Down and Lifting Me Up: An Autoethnography of Being a Black Autistic Woman Online,"
Ought: The Journal of Autistic Culture: Vol. 4:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/ought/vol4/iss2/8
African American Studies Commons, Communication Technology and New Media Commons, Development Studies Commons, Disability Studies Commons, Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication Commons, Social Media Commons