“It Didn’t Happen to Me, so it Never Happens!” The Black Swan Fallacy of Functioning Labels

Lately, I’ve been thinking about functioning labels, again. (High Functioning, Low Functioning, etc.) What I have noticed is that in autism, and very likely other disabilities, these labels are assigned to their holders by the way other people experience their autism. Does anybody see the problem with this? It’s a black swan fallacy in the making!

Okay, let’s back things up. The Black Swan Fallacy is a tendency to deliberately ignore things that contradict our views. It goes like this: In Europe, at least until Australia was “discovered” by Europeans, swans were generally seen as white, that is, with white feathers. But when explorers went into Australia, there were black swans, that is, swans with black feathers. This threw the “all swans are white” notion into a giant tailspin. Black swans were seen as rare, since they were barely seen at all. Here’s my personal beef with that particular notion: I’ve been to Lakeland, Florida. Lakeland, Florida is known for its swans. And there, roughly a third of the swans are black. I counted the black and white swans out of curiosity to figure this out. (Now, don’t get me wrong; all swans are beautiful. I’m not arguing about their beauty.)

Now, let’s apply this to functioning labels. If a mother says about her autistic daughter, “She is high functioning. See, she greets people extremely well,” the mother is more likely experiencing the girl’s autism mildly, and judging so because she greets people “extremely well.” But what if the autistic daughter constantly, and with pain, rehearsed this greeting to death in order to do it extremely well? The mother probably doesn’t know that. She might actually be wrong about her daughter due to lack of information! That is how the Black Swan Fallacy works. So, if an autistic person tells you they are struggling, they most likely are. They may not be as high functioning or low functioning as they present in that moment.

Besides, functioning labels are often used to dismiss the experience and views of the disabled person anyway, as if to say, “Well, it doesn’t happen to me, so it never happens.” So, what the abled need to do is sit down, shut up , listen and accept that things may be different. There are lots of black swans.

Can’t We Just…Eat the Food?

You know, I look at a lot of beauty products. They often say “This extract” or “That emulsion” to get a healthy glow, or whatever you want it to do. What I mostly notice, is that when this or that is a food, this is usually a fruit or vegetable. This got me to wondering: Can’t we just…eat the food? I mean, I’m not asking to smear ambergris on your body (just…ew), or drink Kopi Luwak coffee (again, ew). I’m just wondering if we can get the same healthy glow from eating the fruit and/or vegetables we would get from the extract of said food. I think it would make some sense to me, but what do I know? I’m just a girl who eats vegetables on a regular basis, and people don’t think I’m 43 for some reason, even though I am. (It’s June 5, 2021 as I write this.) I guess common sense is not all that common. I mean, people who eat vegetables tend to be healthy, you know? I mean, let’s eat!

What is the Point of the “International Food” Section Anyway?

Okay – I went to the local Walmart, and I was looking for Hi-Chew candy. (I was curious due to a heavily rotated commercial.) The sad thing is, I never really found Hi-Chew in the regular candy section. I had to find it in the “Asian Food” section. I don’t know, is it too Asian to be considered real candy? I don’t get it. It’s a good candy!

You’ve seen the “International Food” section – or “Ethnic Food,” if your grocery store is definitely fond of othering. They put certain things in those aisles that, in my view, deserve to go to the regular food aisles just like the other ones. I mean, why isn’t the Mexican hot sauce with the regular hot sauce? It’s hot sauce! What about the rice recipes? Maybe I’m blind, but saying “this is one country” or “this is one continent” is kind of saying “this is foreign food.” It almost means, “Americans don’t eat this,” when, in fact, it is being sold in America specifically for Americans to eat! Let’s nip this in the bud and get some integration in the grocery store.

This kind of irks me the same way Hyphenated-Americans do, but not in the way you might think. Hyphenated Americans grinds my gears because it reminds me that being a “real American” is literally barred from some for reasons they can’t control, like the color of their skin. That’s what irks me.

I guess America gets the same treatment in the “American Food” sections of grocery stores in other countries. And let’s face it, “American Food” can get pretty ridiculous, too.

Attacks, Attacks, Attacks. Stop the Hate!

Anti-Asian Attacks. Anti-Black Attacks. Anti-Semitic Attacks. Attacks, attacks, attacks. What is going on here? It seems that every day, people are attacking each other for the slightest reason – as if they literally want to attack somebody and use something like race as an excuse.  Why? Why are we so eager to fight? Why are we so eager to incite violence on our neighbor? There has got to be a reason. There seems to be a darkness in people’s hearts. The pandemic seems to have exposed the evils of tribalism. Tribalism is tearing the United States apart. 

What is tribalism? Tribalism is simply saying, “I do this because I am a _________.” I think it’s renting your brain to a labeled group. Some of the groups I am inferring? Whiteness. Blackness. Asianness. Womanhood. Your Specific Church. (Why can’t there be ONE CHURCH? Why are there fifty kajllion? Questions for another day.) Your Local/Regional/National Government. Shall I go on? It seems that people tend to form slapdash group brains to war with other slapdash group brains. It seems that people are Waiting on a War, like the Foo Fighters song says. Are we waiting on a war? Is war the ultimate expression of the human heart? I hope not.  

Autism Does Not Make Me An Insurrectionist

Why in the world do I have to say the above in the title? Are we that stupid so as to think our mental conditions supersede our moral compass? Or, much worse, that people with illnesses, disabilities and/or other conditions do not possess a moral compass? Outrageous!

Want to know why I am screaming about this? The QAnon Shaman’s lawyer is trying to blame autism for his actions at the January 6 Capitol Riots. Well, let’s make it absolutely clear: We, the Actually Autistic, will not let him. If it were up to us, anyone who blames autism for bad actions would burn in hell. We will not let you blame our condition for your client’s clearly wrong actions.

A little background as to where I was on January 6: My mother and I had gone to the car repair to have some work done on our blue Chevy Aveo. We went to the Arby’s nearby to get some lunch. My mother ordered a roast beef sandwich, I a Beef n’ Cheddar with curly fries. We got drinks with them. We know about the rioting because our Arby’s has televisions to which the channels had the news on them. I think they had interrupted programs for this news report, because we were eating lunch. We both watched in shock and horror as the news unfolded on the screens, suspended above the eating areas. It was a very long lunch, indeed – for the both of us.

Now, I had covered this kind of condition-blaming in previous articles. Remember when they tried to blame autism on Putin’s behavior? Putin Has Asperger’s? – Cambria’s Big Fat Autistic Blog (wordpress.com) I wrote about that. This is the same thing! They’re trying to paint autistic people as evil! And I absolutely do not approve! Trust me – most autistic people who are old enough know that you would look absolutely insane walking around a monument/government building looking like he did! Also, most of us accept the election result. It is troubling that we even have to say, “Autism does not make me an insurrectionist.”

From Blue Milk to a Fifty Year Old Child

May the force be with you, everyone!

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Star Wars has seized the imaginations of many people, of many generations. It is extremely popular among the crowds, and there are entire families out there dedicated to its awesomeness.

I have a few questions to ask Star Wars fans:

  1. What is it like for Japanese and Japanese-AMERICAN fans, knowing it has a heavy Japanese influence in the design? The films’ design is based heavily on the films of Akira Kurosawa. I saw it immediately when I watched The Seven Samurai in film class. (“What are the enemy generals doing in Darth Vader helmets?” Of course, I never asked that question out loud.) I have wondered about their point of view in viewing the films ever since.
  2. WHY would you be mean to John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran? Is it because they’re persons of color? Okay, David Duke, how does that go for a good and tolerant Galactic Republic? Let me tell you one thing: this kind of racist blowback would never clear the runway in the Star Trek universe, especially since Rick Berman took over. Even the Klingons are able to form a détente with the Federation!
  3. Also, Grogu is fifty years old…but by which planet’s yearly orbit? I mean, even in our own supposedly boring Solar System, the planets’ years and days are wildly different. We even have a gas giant on its side! (Uranus, in case you were wondering.) So, by which planet’s star orbit are you judging years? (I’m guessing Coruscant. Ask your fellow Jedi.)

I’m pretty sure there will be more questions to come.

I don’t think I need to explain Blue Milk to many fans, but take a gander at the drinks on the table at the moisture farm in A New Hope. It’s blue, and looks like milk. No real explanation there.

Now, the fifty year old child is Grogu, aka Baby Yoda. That’s what one of the first things about him was told. (I’m assuming Grogu is a boy.) Now, Grogu is a yoda. Yes, we know that’s not the species’ real name, but we don’t know the species’ real name. So, we name it after what is/was the most famous member. Now, Yoda (the real one) was 900 years old at his death. Also, that is even old for a yoda. According to this information, the yodas age at about ten times the rate of humans. So, if we just take off a zero off the end of Grogu’s age, we get an equivalent of a human five-year-old.

So, even as questions rise, I am still a fan of Star Wars. So, I think we ought to just relax and enjoy things before we go all cross-eyed.

Do You Understand We Are Also Human?

I’m sorry for not pushing autism acceptance more this month. To be honest, I lost the writing prompts and it was too late to get back on board. Of course, there was a lot of news going on. But enough excuses. I’ll make my own prompt:

What is the one question you want to ask neurotypical people about the autistic?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. The question is:

Do you understand we are also human?

Because I barely think any neurotypical does.

We are human. We are as varied in our names, ages, faces, and colors as any other group who share a neurotype. We are even varied in our levels of function. Yes, they are multiple – even in the same person! One person who can run a house cannot hold down a job, and another person who can hold down a job might need help taking care of themselves, among other things.

And here, in this push to recognize our humanity….we need to accept that we make mistakes, and we do wrong, even when we don’t mean to. You want that mercy for yourself, so why not give it to others, so you can get that mercy for yourself from them? I mean, that’s the Golden Rule.

“Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”

That is so true. People are instinctively reactive. They often give what they receive. So, would it not make sense, given the above, to give kindness? Eventually, you’ll get it back.

So be kind and merciful. We autistic are also human.

The Real Cause of Autism – In My Words

Now, a recent study proved that giving a mother and epidural does NOT increase the risk of autism. That’s a relief to guilt-ridden mothers everywhere, I hope. That’s not the cause of autism.

Want to know the real cause of autism?

It’s genetic.

How do I know that?

We’ve ruled out vaccines, we’ve ruled out epidurals, we’ve ruled out gluten, we’ve ruled out everything else on the face of the earth, and yet autistic children keep coming into this world. But what often happens when a child is given an autism paper diagnosis? The mother or father often gets one, too.

And that proves autism is genetic.

Autism is passed down from generation to generation. It was probably a genetic mutation in ages past. The evidence for my claim? The behavior of the “fairy changeling child switch out” mirrors that of autism. Also, just because a condition has been only recently discovered and named, does not mean it has not been around.

Want evidence of that?

Look at Covid-19. The accepted theory is, it came from local bats in its place of origin. Look up the rest.

So, how do we “cure” autism?

I think the answer Autism Speaks is looking for is genocide.

Since the “cure” is to literally murder me personally, I will not take it. I already gave up children to those monsters. I’m not going to give up my life.

Autism Acceptance is the way to go. Not Hitler.

Bittersweet Victory

For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. He shall die for want of discipline; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. He will die for lack of instruction. -Proverbs 5:23

Earlier today, I heard the three verdicts that were handed down to Derek Chauvin, the former policeman who is the now-convicted murderer of George Floyd. While I celebrate along with others that accountability is possible, there is a feeling creeping up on me that I am the average-intelligence woman or man in the movie Idiocracy among the intellectually discouraged people of the future. I feel like it’s a bandage on a broken leg. But I don’t want to. It’s bittersweet.

My concern is, as I straddle the fence between believing that there are still good people on the police force, to the bitterness that has taken hold of people who say “All Cops Are Bad,” my mind scares easily. They say, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” I have a feeling the bunch is almost entirely spoiled by now. I was one police acquittal away from bitter. The constant blind eye turned toward the bad apples is now spoiling the bunch. I mean, I’m at “Most Cops are Bad,” but I wish somebody would give the Bad Apples some discipline and/or removal.

The point is, cops are human. In their case, this fact is a detriment. When there is no motivation for improving behavior and morale, human behavior deteriorates. This is also true for those on the police force.

To be honest, if racist cops actually humbled themselves, took Derek Chauvin’s verdicts to heart, and realize “there but for the grace of their higher power go I,” cops would garner more respect. I have witnessed some cops actually do this, race rendered irrelevant in their aid. Cops are human. That also means cops can improve and change.

How I Feel About Terms like “Special Needs”

First of all, what makes my personal needs special? What makes meeting those needs extra hard? Perhaps I am also hard to love and accept for having those needs. So, what else can be “special needs?” Sweeteners that are not sugar? Elevators? Ramps for those in wheelchairs? It seems that terms like “Special Needs” are there to only make meeting those needs sound unreasonable. I prefer the term “individual needs.” That way, there is no flavor of being unreasonable.

The problem is that now “Special” ends up being tainted with a negative context. In a recent sitcom (Two and a Half Men, to be exact), one man refers to his son as being “very special” after he decided to try and drop out of high school to get a million dollar idea. In that context, he gave the term “special” a negative context.

Most people who know those given “special needs” tend to agree with me, as well as those who have the needs themselves. I think they came up with the term “special needs” in order to make the person who has them feel special, but it only made them feel singled out, and left out, like the once-beneficial, now-harmful douche for women – but that’s for another day. It is revealed to only bring harm by abnormalizing. I say, normalize caring for individual needs. Stop leaving people behind.