“The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.” -Aesop Fable
You wonder why I put this Aesop Fable in here, let me give you a background: I have been recently obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch. Yes, he dismissed claims of Alan Turing being on the Autism Spectrum. Yes, he has said some disparaging things about autism concerning several of his characters. Yes, he compared autistic children to Frankenstein’s creature-but only in that they were both innocent and childlike. Yes, I can surmise that he still does not know about autism.
But I believe he can still be reached.
I believe Benedict Cumberbatch can still be reached because his journey is still far from over. I believe he has not experienced the full spectrum of the trait(s), because the autism schools he speaks of tend to have a smaller range of autistics than the general public, especially due to mainstreaming the “high-functioning” ones. (I myself never went to an autism school or “special” school, but public school, for an example.) I still believe he can be taught, because he has yet to experience the full, capable side of autism. If he were to open his mind, the truth about autism would get to him. How do you open his mind? It must be done gently, of course.
I got to read much about the man’s missteps, and much of the information was filled with bitterness. There was rage, there was anger, there was hate and confusion. There is a lot of hate in the autism community for Benedict Cumberbatch. The only way a person has changed their mind about something is by gentle persuasion, even when the facts have not done it for them. Vitriol does nobody good-not even yourself. I have learned this the hard way. My last few posts can attest to that. A gentle touch does wonders for the heart. When the heart hurts, that gentle touch will be remembered. Remember, when a person has the harsh overcoat of ableism or a limited viewpoint on, howling like the wind will only make them bind it to themselves tighter. It takes gentle patience and understanding to glow like the sun, and then the man will take off his coat.