I read blog posts this morning that referred to the latest outrage on FedBook oh of course I mean FakeBook, no let me think, SpaceCaseBook, oh crap--- Face Book-- whatever. Apparently, the auto-complete there is currently set on the word "die" for the phrase "autistic people should." Well, I protest.
Back in the days when I was using Live Urinal, I mean Live Journal, before it began to use me a common comment on the word "Aspergers" was to turn it into the word "Assbergers." This was frequently done by folks who
I affirm that part of the risk of freedom of speech/self-expression is that I risk running into someone using their freedom to express ideas which I consider to be bigoted. I support their rights to say what they want to. I also support my right to say what I want to and so I will say this:
Anyone who thinks that "Autistic people should die" is not someone that I care to associate with. The thing about neurology is that all of us are eligible too. While you may yack and yuck it up about the difficulties that those of us who are neurologically a-typical [which includes the labels denoting Autism, Asperger's, and Autism Spectrum Disorder but also includes labels that can and do happen to neurologically typicals throughout life such as: Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, various forms of Dementia...et cetera, ad infinitum...] the fact is that You're Eligible Too. We all are. While people off the Spectrum may not have to face Autism in any real sense, other stuff can and does happen. And the disability caused by these other things can and does trigger bigotry in those who are unaffected.
You mock the peculiar gait of an autistic child today. Tomorrow or the next day or someday in the future, you yourself may be told that you have Lewey Body Dementia and then boom-- others will be mocking your own peculiar gait. So while you are of course free to express your ideas and to laugh at the misfortune of others, I am free to cross you off the list of human beings that I care to associate with. I am equally free to call you names. Although tempting, I won't bother. Instead I will just say a heart-felt, "Screw off."
Autistic people should not die by virtue of having autism. Autistic people should be heard. Not in the way that Autism Squeaks tends to do, but in our own ways. We the people. Not we our parents, caretakers, professional helpers. Not we the outsiders who like to mentally masturbate over what this all "means." We the people. We the affected. We the disabled.
The time has come when we the autistic and we the disabled no longer tolerate being told what we ought to feel, think, do, say, or believe. We the people as people no matter what our labels deserve to be heard by whatever manner we communicate-- be it via signing, a communication board, words, song, dance, art, voice or any other way. We the people are also individuals. As individuals, we deserve to be heard.
You who perceive yourselves as being non-disabled, clean, uncontaminated, non-blemished, pure, average, good enough, smart enough, and the pillars of society take your status for granted. You expect to be heard. You expect not to have to shout or organize or protest in order for your rights to be recognized. You take so much for granted. This is the way that I perceive you. My perception may not apply to all of you. But I know it applies to some percentage of you.
When I began learning how to sign, I did so with the hopes of being able to communicate with that part of the population that uses sign to communicate. Besides learning how to sign, I learned some things about deaf culture. I learned that there are deaf people who consider us hearing folks to be the ones who are disabled.
So this I will say to you the ignorant, the bigoted, the proudly enabled, the ones who think that autistic people should die or who think that we the disabled should shut up and be satisfied with the crumbs or who think that you are our doctors and that we should be working regardless of our medical status or who think that my friend Jeanne now dead from Von Recklinghaus should not have availed herself of the "handicapped" parking space because from the back she "looked" normal; this is what I will say to you: If you aren't going to help us, then don't hinder us. Get out of our way. We are tired of your suppose-es. We shove your limited dreams for us back into your "treatment plans" and then burn the pages. We unite in solidarity with the South African disabled community and we say, sign, shout, dance at you, Nothing about us without us. Ever again.
We are people. We are people who deserve to live. We are people who deserve to have dreams. We are people who deserve to act upon those dreams and do the work so that we can reap the results. Oh sure, we will have to work harder at it than a good lot of you. Oh sure, we will have to fight for what we want to achieve. And while societal acceptance of autism, disability, different ways of being may lag behind us, we will continue to do what we do in order to get somewhere else. And that somewhere else will not be making under minimum wage in your corrupted sheltered workshops. That somewhere else will not be within your damning professional opinions and lowered expectations. That somewhere else will be where we determine that we want to go. And we will get there in spite of your shitty auto-fills that dictate that some of us should die. We will get there in spite of what you believe about disability. We will get there.
We are getting there. So while you continue to laugh, we continue to strive for a piece of the good life. Don't look now, we are catching up to you. Don't look tomorrow, we will surpass you and leave you in the dust.
sapphoq n friends say: Here are the links to the blog posts that I read about what autistic people should do: