Musings on Prejudice

Definition of prejudice  (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. 1 :  injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especiallydetriment to one’s legal rights or claims 
  1. 2a (1) :  preconceived judgment or opinion (2) :  an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.  2b :  an instance of such judgment or opinions :  an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics 

My first experience with Prejudice was a magazine cover on a news magazine. It was a series of differently colored or shaded(?) fists surrounding planet Earth. I asked dad what prejudice was, and he told me. He also warned me about not having prejudice, since it was one of those evils in society. In my family, we believed in equality. We believed humanity was humanity. This is why, today, I am an avowed opponent of ethnic separatist groups, the Ku Klux Klan among them. I believe separating and segregating people apart causes unnecessary fear and anxiety in people. I believe everybody is in the same race – the human race. There are people walking around everywhere as a testament to it. This is why I say what I say about the events in Charlottesville and other race relations hot spots. 

I cannot sit by while people are murdering each other because of minor differences that seem so much. I cannot sit idly by while hate rules in the halls of American government. I know violence is wrong on both sides. However, when the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and other segregationist groups want to destroy the multicultural diversity that actually makes this nation great, I cannot stand idly by and sit silent. I cannot sit idly by, because I am a firm believer in equality. I was raised as a firm believer in equality.  

I may not go to the protests and marches due to various circumstances, such as disability and economic hardship, but I speak wherever I can. I speak on my social media. I sincerely disagree with Trump’s approach to race relations. Yes, there was violence on many sides. But sometimes, you have to take a side. Unfortunately, you either stand against intolerance, or you are intolerant. The ultimate paradox of tolerance, is that you have to be intolerant against intolerance. The whole world has seen the results of accepting intolerance. It caused World War II, as a matter of fact. 

Sure, you can blame the other side for race baiting and the presence of prejudice. Both Democrats and Republicans do this. But what if we stopped blaming each other, came together as one, and vowed to do something BESIDES blame? Would that not be more effective? If we forgave each other (NOT excused, by the way) for race baiting and prejudice, stopped doing it ourselves, and finally decided to work on it together, would that not be more effective a weapon against hate?  

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May the Fourth Be With You

My Star wars fascination started early. That might seem weird considering that I was born after the first movie came out (July 17; the movie came out May 25), but it gripped the nation like no other movie had before. It was unlike anything people had previously seen. I mean, most of the actors involved were absolutely sure it would be a flop, that’s how unprecedented it was. Of course, nobody would give George Lucas his due until after the movie came out. Sometimes, you have to bop somebody on the head before they actually get something sometimes. But, on to me.

When I finally had a good look at the movie, there were some great things that the sci-fi overwhelmed. Let’s see; there’s a princess who aids in her own rescue, a sword fight in which the villain strikes down the hero; an antihero who was kind of sexy (hey, I was a kid!), and robots with personalities. Had anyone done a robot with a personality before? That was amazing. (I’m not sure HAL 3000 counts.)

Of course, there are drawbacks. Let’s start with Stormtroopers that miss their targets; not-great dialogue, and almost completely illogical transport vehicles. (Ever heard of the wheel, Star Wars engineers?)

I’ll admit it; I’m a slight geek. But how could you not be some level of geek when science fiction and fairytale elements collide, and it’s so well done? Yeah, George Lucas seemed a little tone deaf when it comes to relationships, but a little coaching could have improved that. The movie, and subsequent movies to follow, are amazing.

On the Road to Being a Real Woman 

I’m not going to lecture you on what constitutes a real woman or a real man. What I’m going to do instead is share with you a realization about what being a woman is, as opposed to being a little girl, in a new aspect. Now, I’ve been critical of the general societal perception that thin is in. I’ve even gone so far as to call the skinny girls of the world “broomsticks” out of sheer jealousy. But this morning, something inside of me changed. It’s not my attitude toward thin is in. It’s my attitude toward the girls and women who fit this particular image. I’m not hateful towards them anymore. I have no reason to tear the thin ones down, simply because they are thin. It’s not their fault they’re thin and therefore beautiful by society’s standards. Just because they were born lucky, doesn’t mean they stay that way.

There is no need to tear a person down, because they’re perceived as having more value than you. It must be hard for them, too, because of this perception that you have to compete.

I’ll admit it. I’m fat. I can’t compete. But knowing this frees me to find the inherent value I have inside myself. There is a purpose to my existence. If there was not, I would not be alive. Believe me, those who love me have fought to keep me on this planet, even though I have had a strong desire to leave at times in my life. Yes, I have had to fight my own desire for suicide. But I have won. To paraphrase Alice Walker, I may be poor, I may be fat, I may be ugly, but I am here.

I’ve also learned that I can get a man on my own, without having to compete with anyone. A real man won’t make you compete. Boys want women to feel insecure, to compete and focus on them, as if the woman is his mother. Boys need mothers. Men need women. Which brings me back to the real woman.

A real woman is not that hard to spot. She is the one who builds women up, not tear them down. She can stand on her own without a man. She can want and desire a partner, but she does not need one. A real woman works on her healing. Trust me, the world wants you to be a girl, because girls are controllable. That’s why the world works to break you as a girl, to freeze you – keep you as a girl. Girls wallow in their hurt. You can see this in earlier posts.  Trust me, I have not quite made it to being the real woman. But I have taken a step toward it.

April Post 2: Calming Down 

I must admit, that last post was mostly reactionary. It’s terrifying to know you’re the worst-case scenario for a lot of people. Well, maybe they don’t quite know about me. I don’t want to be all hate and vitriol. It’s really dragging my blog down into a negative space. Perhaps we need a new and more accurate version of autism; not one that’s all doom and gloom. That is just why I have decided to mention the new, for 2017, Blue Power Ranger. Billy does a LOT of good things for autistic people, and I haven’t even seen the movie yet! First of all, Billy is a Power Ranger. He is a member of a superhero team. I hear he even contributes to the team’s success. If we can contribute something to the success of humanity, please, let us know. Oh, and another thing: Billy is the Blue Power Ranger. I must admit, I was a little scared that Autism Speaks might take that as a clue to hijack him, but Billy is too positive an image for Autism Speaks’ anti-autistic rhetoric. I mean, Billy contributes to the Power Rangers’ success! That, according to Autism Speaks, that cannot be. To them, autism is the enemy. So, unless Autism Speaks gets itself together and accepts autistic people as they are, then Billy is taking the color blue back from them. And that is the upside of the blue Power Ranger.

Ways to Get Through April and Other Tough Times

I can promise you that you will have tough times. But what I can also promise you is that you can get through it. As I have said before, April is a tough time for adult autistics, especially around April 2. The trouble is, Autism Speaks hijacked the conversation about autism, and with its generally negative tone, many autistic people are vilified and pitied to a certain extent. As you can see, it is a tough time for us. We have to work extra hard to get ourselves through this month.

I’m not a doctor. I’m just an autistic wanting to help other autistics.

1) Acknowledge your feelings – and FEEL them

I’m sure you might have begun this particular technique if you are here. I’m not going to give you a platitude, I’m just saying that acknowledging what you feel is the beginning of getting through things.

2) Find someone to talk it out with that you trust

“That you trust” is critical. You need a safe space to talk about what you’re going through. For some people, it might be a fellow autistic on the other side of the planet – and that’s okay.

3) Practice Self-Care

You need to take care of yourself to fill up your particular spoons of limited resources. I have said before that self-care is not always luxurious and pretty; sometimes, it is choking down large amounts of pills up to several times a day. Need I say more?

4) Stim, stim, stim

That’s right; I’m going against all Applied Behavior Analysis training and saying that you could need a stim. It’s a comfort, and may even be a form of self-care. The only stims you need to avoid are ones that, obviously, injure you or others. If you need to find a stim idea, Tumblr has a blog called “stimmysuggestion” that has many ideas. My own stim is moving around; I can easily work that into public life. I am no hater of stimming; just find one that suits you.

5) Go crazy so you don’t go crazy

This was the entire point of MASH, a TV comedy in the 1970s-80s that centered around doctors in a medical unit during the Korean War. If you need to act WAY out of turn, go ahead and do it. Comedy and other forms of silliness are welcome in the self-care category of psychology. Go play on something (but make sure it can hold you). See a kid’s movie, even if you need to grab a niece or nephew to go see it. Play with a toy.

6) Try to See Past the Hardship – Consider that it’s only during one month, and drops off greatly after April 2

Also, remember that June 18 is Autistic Pride Day. I’m just saying.

7) Let Go of those Autism Marbleheads

Marble is a dense stone. Dense, hard and continues to be itself. Sounds like the anti-vaccine camp, huh? It often takes a dramatic, usually harmful event to get through to those who stubbornly hold onto false beliefs about autism. You can’t change a mind unless it wants to change.

8) Ask for help

There is nothing wrong with getting help. Considering the apparent stigma surrounding help, asking for it is a sign of strength. You are not Superman. You do not have to be.

9) Bonding with Other Autistics is Good For You

One of the things about finding your “tribe,” if you will, is that it feels good to know someone who understands you. That’s why so many of the actually autistic forums do so well. Besides, if you’re an eagle, wouldn’t you rather learn how to fly from other eagles?

10) Remember, everyone heals and deals differently

Again, if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Everyone needs their own specific combination of mindfulness, bonding, and even help to get through this tough time.

11) Think, Then Take Action if You Can

This is probably what this particular post is doing. Sometimes you need to just see what action you can actually take, and go with it. I say see what you can do first, because it could be wrong, like a bad movie. Thinking and then doing something is the best course of action. Perhaps other autistics can guide you.

12) Religion or Spirituality Helps

It helps to be part of something bigger than just yourself. This might help you remember that you’re not alone as well.

*****

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just a few ways to get through upcoming tough times, using the actually autistic person’s relationship with Autism “Awareness” Month as a background.

Hiding Your True Self

It’s a troubling thing I have come up with: I often wonder if I would have succeeded more, or gotten more in life, if I had not known or revealed my autism? I sometimes think that, but then I remind myself: lots of people have to hide certain “undesirable” traits about themselves, like choosing a “less black” name for a baby to make a resume more “acceptable” to certain hiring staff. (I watched an episode of Blackish a couple nights ago. Bear with me; it was a plotline.) It troubles me that people feel the need to hide their true selves. It’s a form of lying. Somehow, the truth will always out itself. A funny thing about lies: little white ones always grow and get color to them.

About lying about yourself: it’s often necessary to hide your diagnosis, or your race, or your nationality, etc. In order to be accepted to people who would judge you as “less.” So, maybe they’re partly responsible for people hiding themselves. Of course, I’m not placing blame on any system or person. Nobody gets away clean in the bigotry-and-hiding-cycle. The gatekeeper is a bigot; the person trying to get in is a liar. I think we may have to completely reject the whole cycle to get away from it. It is a big mess.

No More Self Hate 

Recently, I’ve been going over some of my posts. I’ve noticed a pattern of pity and self-loathing. Will I die alone? Am I pretty enough for love? Am I too fat for love? It has come to me what I have been doing, and what drives these posts. I have been listening to what the haters say, and not what the people who love me say. It’s a vicious cycle. The haters scream and shout, while those who love you are drowned out. It’s vicious what I’ve been listening to. Well, it’s time to make a definite change. I’ve come here to say NO MORE. It’s time I reverse my ears and listen to those who really love me – those who say that love is there, even if it’s not in a partner.

Autistic people find love. I have known a chemist/inventor who has been in Time Magazine, and she has been married for years. Of course, no one has to marry their partner, but isn’t that sweet? I have decided this: If I am bound to find a soul mate, they will come at the right time. If not, oh well. Maybe I can look at the other ways people can be loved – you know, without partners.

I’m going to go off script and talk about this – it’s related: Ashley Graham – yes, the plus-size Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model – says she’s not ashamed of her body. Why should she be ashamed of it? She’s a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model! Even now, I can hear the cracking and crumbling of the plaster statue of broomstick beauty dictatorship. I’m not a broomstick, but why does that have to shut me out of love and acceptance? It’s sickening.

The worst part of it is this: It recurs almost every now and then. It’s like a pain that flares up with this trigger or that trigger, and I want it to stop. I want to stop feeling like I am inadequate to find and give/receive love. I’m tired of being disqualified because of things I can barely control, let alone things I can NOT control. I can’t control that I’m autistic. I can’t control that I’m short and stocky. I can’t control your attitude, either. So why lament about it?