Ableism in Action: Negativity Breeds Negativity

A recent post on Autism Wars brought something to my attention: the common link between digital exhibitions of the worst of autism and the outright murder of the autistic child in the future of those posts. A quick summary of the cases presented:

 

Issy Stapleton: Her mother blogged The Status Woe, which obviously sounds negative, and whose murder I have posted about previously.

 

Alex Spourdalakis: A video of a naked restraint on a bed session raised funds, then he was stabbed to death by his mother and godmother.

 

London McCabe: Similar style of blogging and fundraising used, then thrown off a bridge.

 

This article touched on a pattern of exhibitionism and agony that seems to focus on the parents’ agony, not their child’s agony. What it fails to mention, however, is that systemic ableism in society encourages this kind of dwelling on negativity and personal agony due to the apparent agony that society seems to, for lack of a better term, get off on this type of agony and parental pain of the deserving angel parent, not the less-than-human child with the disorder. Do you see how this type of valuation harms not only the child but the parent? I believe society focuses on negativity when it comes to autism, and encourages autism parents to do the same.

 

Are you aware that negativity breeds negativity? Focusing on meltdowns and all the things the child takes away from you takes your mind off the positive contributions that person may or does contribute to your life. It’s as if these agony-focused parents are wanting everybody to agonize with them. It’s like the old saying: Misery loves company. Or should I say, misery loves to spread and contaminate? Of course, it makes no sense to love misery unless it’s accepted, right? So the now-miserable parent does something drastic to try and “stop” (they think) the misery. But of course, now they have a dead child and a potential prison term. Oh, and they have society saying “You were right to murder your child. It was life unworthy of life.” (Those last four words were a term the Nazis used to describe the Jews, by the way.) Dr. Phil, I am talking to you. You justified Issy Stapleton’s attempted murder by giving her an audience for her negativity, and made an attempted murder right in society’s mind. How insane is that?

 

I am just saying that putting your child in a negative, undeserving, unwarranted light will make you want to eventually murder them, whether you actually hate them or consider it euthanasia (mercy killing), or “sending [them] to heaven.”

 

Yes, autism can be a crippling disease with little or no recovery – but only if you let it. What a parent needs to understand is that every life is precious, no matter what level of contribution to society. There is something you can learn from every facet of society-even ones you consider to be doing or being wrong. ‘

 

Just so you know, my mother would never have put any of my childhood meltdowns on a global video website, or even blogged about them. You do not do that to your children.

The Great Antidepressant Freak Out of 2015

Like you, I have heard of the study that says antidepressants have an increased risk of autism, by apparently 87%. Now people are freaking out and blaming antidepressants like some still freak out about vaccines.

 

First of all, let’s calm down and get some facts. The study does not, I repeat, not, have any distinction between the antidepressant use and the occurrence of clinical depression. According to Science Alert, the chances of developing autism are only 1%, and the chances of developing autism with certain antidepressants are 1.87%. It’s kind of like saying that one third of a class failed a test when the class only has three students. Sometimes, we have to get some more background information in order to avoid the Great Freak Out which comes from headline-grabbers.

 

It now seems that in cases of things like autism studies, even mainstream media follows the supermarket tabloid in the alarmist style of making people freak out. There is a saying in the news: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Apparently, due to so little being known about autism and most disabilities, they definitely bleed. So, grabbing the headlines is an “increase of developing autism with these antidepressants is 87 PERCENT!!!” and most people are afraid. I, however, am not impressed. I need some more background information before I should learn to hate myself even more, which is what seems to be the aims of people who are afraid of autism.
Yes, autism can have a debilitating effect on one’s life and its quality. But does the autistic person have to hate themselves? The thing is, I am terrified of the children with autism and their self-esteem. Many of us have only found their self-esteem later in life, long beyond their cultural significance of a society that focuses on youth and neurotypicality. I have only begun to learn that I am an equal being who is capable of being loved-and I’m 38! My age beside, to treat autism as a disqualifier of love is detrimental to everyone in the family. This is why we freak out: we treat autism and other disabilities as disqualifiers and dehumanizers, like we treat dark skin color or being a woman. These freak-outs of autism risk are ableist.

Why I Care

I get it. I am a white woman. In that, I am privileged, to a degree. I am also autistic, but I did not receive the controversial Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, nor did I get other types of “therapy” such as restraint and seclusion. I am also fat. Let’s face it. I am 4’ 11” and a size 20. There are some things which give me a certain amount of privilege, plus a very loving and accepting mother, and a father who loved me the way he could. Now, with all of this going for me, why do I care about the person with skin darker than mine, the person in the wheelchair’s dignity, the fellow autistic who was abused? There are a myriad of reasons why. I am compelled to be concerned about my fellow man and woman, and understand why they might have a degree of mistrust toward me. I get that. As I explore these reasons and troubling, unfair and often untrue stereotypes about this type of person or that type of person, I also get my eyes opened to some pretty stupid and cruel treatment of others by people I am familiar with. For instance, one of my friends a couple of years ago got offended by another woman talking about her and her race as “you people” negatively. I’m not sure if that other woman’s eyes are opened yet, but my eyes definitely are.

It is wrong, and visually comical, to try and set a type of people into a narrow box of behavior. Let me give you an example from my own life. A stereotype of autism is that we are all skinny white men who are proficient in math and cannot grasp intangible subjects, like love and fashion. I have only met one person who could wholly fit the stereotype, and he was not autistic. Besides, my family taught me how to love, and What Not To Wear demystified fashion for me. Let me also tell you something: I am not a skinny man. Have you been reading this? If so, I applaud you. We have a saying among the autistic community: If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. I swear, other people think we have a hive behavior or a hive mind or something. We do not all react to everything the same way.

We all are members of different cultures and families; we all, however, have one thing to set us in common: We all have human hearts. We cannot live without our hearts. We have an innate sense of right and wrong as well. Our differences are so many, yet there are so many things we have in common. Besides, those in power love to point out the differences of the oppressed to keep them fighting each other, so they can stay in power. I’ll wax on that another time. Let’s come together among our commonalities so we can help each other and do what’s right. That is why I care about others who are different from me, because those differences are minor in comparison to the fact that we all have human hearts.

#YesAllWomen, but #NotDisabledWomen: The Hypocrisy of Ableist Feminism

I guess my autism makes me less of a worthy woman in the average feminist’s eyes. I mean, one of the primary arguments of abortion is for women to abort their disabled children. The stereotype is that disabled people are all need, and no contribution. Of course, Helen Keller was both deaf and blind, but she spoke just fine. Should we have gone back in time and killed baby Helen Keller? Nobody could have known if she was able to verbally speak at age 7, when she was just learning to sign. When I hear about people with disabilities being aborted, I get so angry, because I believe life is just as precious, no matter what it brings. Perhaps disabilities, in most eyes, means you are less of a person. It’s the whole “strikes against humanity” thing I keep talking about. Do you not realize there is a painter out there who only painted with his left foot – and he was truly talented? Also, a composer wrote symphonies only for the left hand to play? What terrible things are often discounted and ignored simply because their creator was disabled.

And what about sexuality? My mother keeps telling me that I do not need a man to survive in this world. At some level, I wonder if it’s because it’s feminist-egalitarian thinking, or if it is because of my autism. Even though there are countless types of sexualities out there, with just as many people, I on some level feel I am denied this. I mean, I have a regular, vibrant sexuality waiting under this for a husband to discover. But nobody wants to marry me, or even admit they are attracted to me, once they find out I am autistic. It’s often an argument to discourage suitors that my enemies use. Is disability really so bad?

Also, there is the basic argument of killing people with disabilities, before or after they are even born. Yes, I am including abortion in my talk of killing people. It’s your choice whether to go through with it, unless you live in, like, Texas or something, but it’s often encouraged in cases of, say, Down Syndrome or other genetic conditions. Also, once they find out which genes cause autism, don’t you think they will encourage abortions in those cases, especially with Autism Speaks cure mongers encouraging them? As I see it, my life is in danger! People like me are in danger! There are so many women being aborted and killed, with the blessing of feminists everywhere, all because they are disabled! So many daughters and sisters getting the ax because some parent could not handle it, and people are siding with the murderers! I hope they are ready to answer to God for siding with murderers. Believe what you will about God, but to even the unbelieving, know this: it is the dead who are keeping score, whose blood cries out from the ground for justice.

I hope I have opened your mind to the possibility of considering a disabled woman as much of a woman as an abled woman. That was my hope. To me, I am fighting for my life.