(Cross-posted from Life in the Patriarchal Mix)
Yes, You ARE a Bigot!
I have received word from an autism awareness group on Facebook that a mother of an autistic child wrote a blog post about how her 10 year autistic son learned to write for the first time and telling autism to “suck it.” I find attitudes like that to be extremely offensive and dangerous to autistic people such as myself. It brings up the image that autism is some sort of disease or monster that needs to be eliminated. Of course, the author of the post makes it obvious that she is neurologically typical by the way she talks about her son and his identity as an autistic person.
She also said some extremely offensive and ableist things such as:
I watched the light go out from his eyes at 12 months of age and I have fought tooth and nail since then to turn it back on, even when others told me there was little hope, even when I spent the first few years drinking myself numb, even when he didn’t even know I was in the room with him.
I absolutely HATE phrases like “I watched the light go out from his eyes….” because it implies that autistic people are lifeless of which they are not! Autistic people have as much life as non-autistic people and it is incredibly offensive to autistic people.
Another disgusting phrase:
This is NOT THE SAME as saying that people with autism suck. My son has autism. My son most definitely does not suck. In fact, he’s amazing, funny, loving, beautiful, inspiring. But he’s also being held hostage by a disorder that comes in many shapes and sizes, a disorder that in our house, is not a welcome guest but rather a selfish and thoughtless intruder. The fact that I do not embrace autism as something to be romanticized or adored does not mean I do not love the bejezus out of my son. I also realize that autism is a part of who he is, has shaped a portion of the person he has become and continues to be. But if someone handed me a guaranteed cure tomorrow, I wouldn’t hesitate one nanosecond before shoving it down his throat. I would risk losing a portion of the little boy I love so fiercely and unequivocally if it meant that he would have a chance at navigating this life without the bondage of autism.
Oh noes, my son has autism! He is being held hostage by who he is! I am gonna pretend that my autistic son does not understand how words like that is extremely offensive and hurtful TO HIM and other AUTISTIC PEOPLE because of my ableist/sanist/mentalist privilege! Of course, she is not gonna give a shit about her son’s feelings! It’s all about how the awesome neurotypical mother battled against her son’s autism in order for him to be “normal.”
There is nothing wrong with being proud of your autistic child for his/her accomplishments but if you are going to imply that accomplishment somehow defeated autism then you are displaying ableism! You are saying that autism is curable if you force a certain type of normalcy on them! If an autistic person tells you that certain phrase if offensive, don’t shrug it off! Listen to them! Do not dismiss them! They know more about living with autism then you do. If you go around dismissing them for bullshit reasons then expect people to react and be angry at you.
Another quote which dismisses the people who point out her ableism:
I invite those of you who consider me an ableist for telling autism to SUCK IT to come into my home and spend a day with me and Andrew. I invite you to see the reality that my child lives with as he struggles against the silence that blankets him, falls apart when those around him don’t understand his needs, and begs for mercy when the sights and sounds of life come bearing down upon his ears and nervous system. I want you to see the drooling, hear the teeth grinding and the desperate wails, watch as he wills his body to keep up with his younger brother even though he doesn’t stand a chance.
I just love how external experiences with autism are somehow the same as internal experiences with autism from this woman’s perspective. I would invite this woman to walk in MY SHOES for a while and see how it is like to LIVE as an autistic person! Of course, she is unable to do this since her bigotry clouds her empathy. Funny how NTs claim that autistic people lack empathy/emotions and yet they display lack of empathy towards autistic people! I would imply that these curebies display symptoms of a sociopath but I’m too nice for that.
Low functioning autistic people such as Amanda Baggs can speak her thoughts through a talking keyboard, when the keyboard is speaking her words, the words are incredibly eloquent and intelligent. Is she being held hostage by her autism? Is she lifeless? Of course not! She is perfectly happy with her identity as an autistic person. She doesn’t want to be cured and neither do I, a high functioning autistic.
Ashline wrote a response which is even more offensive than the last post:
So if that makes me a curebie, or a bigot or a child abuser or an ableist or whatever other fucking word du jour you come up with, so be it. You guys are just a bunch of bullies. You bully parents like me who want more for their kids and you do it all from the comfort of a life we would give anything to be able to promise our own children.
You took my message out of context and used it to make yourselves look like the victims, when the real victims here are the very children parents like me are trying to save; children who are easily overlooked, children who are in physical and emotional pain, children who will someday be adults that society will have no idea what to do with so it’s OUR JOB TO FUCKING FIGURE IT OUT.
So pointing out your ableist privilege and stating that what you are saying about your son’s autism is extremely dangerous AND offensive to autistic people is bullying? That’s a laugh riot! Autistic children do not need to be saved from their autism! They need to be taught how to cope with the world, to teach them problem solving skills. Not to hate themselves for being autistic. That is what you are doing to your son! You are teaching him that him being autistic is BAD! No one just made up words like “ableist” just to “bully” you. Words like that have existed for as long as ableism has existed and you are dismissing these words even though you are raising a disabled child?
Autistic people are NOT suffering from their autism, they are suffering from discrimination, abuse, neglect, ignorance and self-hatred because of people like Ashline who force their domination on their autistic children. They expect autistic people such as myself to feel sorry for them when they dismiss us for pointing out their bigotry? Sorry ma’am but that is not how it works. You have to LISTEN to the autistic people and LEARN from them! If you don’t take in what the autistic community is trying to tell you then we will not waste our time with you.
Ashline needs to realize that autistic people like myself-and quite possibly her son-will fight against such bigotry and hatred against them because they deserve to be treated better! Ashline is not considering things from her son’s perspective, she is only looking at things through HER perspective which is not only ableist but dangerous for her son who in his current state of affairs is dependent on her mother’s approval and guidance! I would hate to see how he turns out if he adopts her way of thinking about neurologically diverse people.
Life in the Patriarchal Matrix: I mainly blog about feminism, misogyny, disability and activism.