April Post 1: Neurotypical Supremacy, as Proposed by Autism Speaks

Content Warning: Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks has largely hijacked the dialogue about Autism. And as we know, Autism Speaks is just as mean and hateful towards the autistic person as the Ku Klux Klan is toward other races. Sure, they don’t say they want a cure now, but it still searches for “solutions.” Autism Speaks still describes our genomics as “MSSNG,” which is “MISSING without the I.” How negative is that? They want to “crack autism’s code.” To me, that means they still want to rid the world of autism.

Why do I hate Autism Speaks? Simple. I am their worst-case scenario. I am what they fear. I am different. I am an autistic adult.

You see, their way of thinking and processing the world is thought of as “right” and therefore “supreme” by them, the exact same way that whiteness is supreme, if you ask any Ku Klux Klan member. It makes me shudder to think how similar they are to the Ku Klux Klan in their hate.

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.

Black Bart and the Unseen Enemy

Blazing_Saddles_inline_-_Gene_and_Cleavon.jpgI am a fan of “Blazing Saddles.” Yes, the 1974 movie about a black sheriff taming a Western town. There, I said it. It is one of my favorite movies concerning prejudice. It gives the lesson with a good spoonful of sugar. In case you missed it, the racial lessons are the medicine, and comedy is the sugar. Not to say that “Blazing Saddles” is perfect. For example, there is a lot of mockery of gays, especially gay men, plus tossing around of homophobic slurs. (Personally, I do not find them funny.) That is not to devalue the lessons in “Blazing Saddles.” As I said, it was made in 1974.

The warning of “Blazing Saddles” is that the societal ill of racism is elusive, and must be defeated in order to defeat the enemies. It is the fatal flaw that the townsfolk must overcome. The nature of the unacknowledged societal ill is plenty displayed. It works like a malevolent ghost, waiting for the right time to strike, and strike it does, in the form of the sheriff’s general treatment by the townsfolk. Of course, it takes the striking down of racism in the townsfolk’s hearts to save the town. Watch it for how it works.

Unfortunately, in real life, that ideal has not happened yet. It’s still 1874 in some people’s hearts. What some people think about racism – that it was over in 2008 – and what is going on – that it went underground only to resurface with some misguided permission – are markedly different. Racism is a poltergeist.

Blonde Dolls Everywhere 

Now, let’s talk about real systemic racism. The systemic racism that exists in your toy box. I am writing from a position of privilege, so bear with me while I tell you what I see.

When I was a child, the lead character in any given cartoon was always blonde-and she still often is today. Let me give you a few examples from my era: Rainbow Brite, She-Ra, Jem (You KNOW she’s blonde under that pink dye!), Barbie and Skipper, Sailor Moon…need I go on? It was easy for me to find a doll that looked like me. You see, I was a blonde. The trouble is, I don’t think I had a lot of dolls that looked like my friends. That, to me, was troubling.

You see, I grew up in Southern California, among a group of friends that did not look like each other at all – and that was life. People looked different, people acted different, people even spoke different languages! But then and there, it was all acceptable, because it was life. I actually miss that part of Southern California. It’s the part I miss most, the diversity. I like learning about different things, and different people. Fascination and curiosity are great things.

Trouble is, there was not a lot of diversity in the toy box. If you were a brunette or a redhead, for example, you were relegated to sidekick. I had to specifically ask for redhead dolls to include my redhead friend. I even got blowback and freakish looks from my parents for asking for diversity in my doll kingdom. I mean, all my real friends are different, so why not have all my imaginary friends be different too?

What really hit me hard, though, was going into a store with Spanish-speaking owners, in my twenties, and seeing blonde dolls in Spanish-language boxes. At the time, I had just learned about various kinds of Eurocentric beauty standards, including Asian eyelid surgeries made to look more Western-which seems to be an Asian code word for European. Coming from my position, it still baffles me that they want to look like me, and not their beautiful selves. Anyway, back to the dolls. They looked nothing like the dark-haired beauties I normally came across with Hispanics. Blonde Hispanics do exist, even in natural states, but they are literally praised for “passing” as white somehow. I find all of this disturbing, that a person could hate their genetics so much. Of course, I am currently a size 18 in my clothing when the average model is a size…what is it now? Zero? So I can relate somewhat. Don’t even get me started on dolls in wheelchairs. Maybe they ought to exist, too?

Maybe celebrating differences would be better than making a uniform case that the leader is one uniform look, which could possibly be unnatural to the group of people supposedly represented. (I’m looking at you, Sailor Moon.) Perhaps make the brunette the leader, or the dark-skinned girl every once in a while?

I Don’t Want To Be So Serious! 

 

Looking back at the previous entries, there is a disturbing trend among them: There is so much serious, depressing material. It gives the impression that I am really serious, and it really depresses me. There is so much I want to talk about, but I am stuck speaking out about autism issues, civil rights issues, and just issues in general. I wanted to talk about things that were fun and universal, not serious.

I want to talk about fun stuff, like how Rihanna is a hardcore Trekkie, and Star Wars! I am a total geekgirl. In fact, when I heard the Wachowskis came out as sisters, I was cheering for the fact that fellow geekgirls had somehow snuck their way into a position of power and influence in a place they would not have normally gotten in the door! I am all about Rainbow Brite, Star Trek, The Matrix, Sailor Moon, Sherlock….but I’m stuck drilling ________ Lives Matter into your heads. (Fill in the blank with your type. Unless you’re a Stan Smith. Then you don’t need to say “My Life Matters” because it actually does. For example, Donald Trump is a Stan Smith.)

Believe me, sometimes I need to rant and strike out about stuff like Star Wars as a form of self-care. Oh, and just so you know, I LOVED Jupiter Ascending. As a matter of fact, I would design my wedding around its botched wedding scene. I don’t care who knows. I suggest you watch it, you know, unless you’re insecure about your manhood or something stupid like that.

Oh, and By The Way….

People are just flabbergasted that Carrie Fisher / Leia Organa Solo actually aged before their eyes. Come on, people! That’s what women do! They age! I have also noticed that nobody has hated Harrison Ford / Han Solo for aging. Just putting it out there.

Boy, the world is confused and hateful of reality.

Why I am So Vocal About Civil Rights

Why I Am So Vocal About Civil Rights

I went on one of those “Word Cloud” meme sites, just to see what my “word cloud” looked like. Sure, there was a giant “retweeted” in there, but there were lots of much more interesting words in there to look at. For instance, “black,” “white,” “rights,” and “#AllLivesDidntMatter” were among them. I found that to be very interesting, considering I am clearly a white person. What I realized, however, is that the “Black Lives Matter” movement got my attention, and my voice. As I have said before, equitable treatment under the law and by its enforcers is all the movement wants. And isn’t that an inalienable right?

I have many reasons to feel this way. I have friends, especially Facebook friends, of all colors, shapes and sizes, political beliefs, etc. I grew up in southern California, where diversity was an everyday occurrence. (Orange County, to be exact, before it got too expensive for most people.) Sure, there were hiccups along the way, but I was taught by my parents to give everyone a chance to impress you, no matter what. I am also autistic, and by this categorized disability have faced discrimination. Sure, I could sit around and whine about how hard it is to be an autistic person. It’s certainly no walk in the park, but the reason I get so vocal about civil rights, especially of people who do not look like me, is much more simple: I am an egalitarian. Here’s the definition from Oxford Dictionary:

e·gal·i·tar·i·an

[iˌɡaləˈterēən]

ADJECTIVE

  1. of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities:
  1. “a fairer, more egalitarian society”

NOUN

  1. a person who advocates or supports egalitarian principles.

 

Just in case you were wondering.

Perhaps I speak about racial equality too much these days, but it has come up as a major issue. There has been race baiting to push both liberal and conservative agendas. Both sides have been screaming themselves hoarse to make sure they can be heard, but is there any real listening? Have we progressed as a nation at all?

Perhaps I am just reacting to potential blowback concerning my little Quickshot on not calling the police on kids hanging out. Are they just hanging out, or are they actively talking about or doing something illegal/immoral? My mother once called the police on a huge crowd of youths in our yard when I was a child, but they were actively fighting. (By the way, I did not see anyone very dark skinned that day, especially in that crowd, if you were wondering.) The point is, I know the haters are out there. Maybe I should not be so scared.

Black Lives Matter, Too

Black lives matter, too.

That is all the “Black Lives Matter” movement seems to say to me. It is only saying that some lives are not being regarded with the same respect that other lives are. Of course All Lives Matter. What the problem is, though, is that there is STILL an inequality put on certain lives because of race. Just arguing that all lives matter is, unfortunately, what I call a Microsoft Answer: Correct, but completely unhelpful. It’s like telling a helicopter pilot who is lose that they are in their helicopter. How does that help them? Of course all lives matter. But if we are oppressing or not respecting one particular race, “All Lives Matter” is hypocrisy. “Black Lives Matter” is simply a way to say “Black people are people, too.”

Even as I have waxed on this topic before, the trouble is, race relations has become a hot topic yet again. People of darker skin have been put on the downside of the seesaw once again, especially by the ones who have been charged with their protection against this type of thinking: the police. Now, I am not talking about all police: to forget the contributions of community policing, and the contributions of so-called minorities would be ridiculous and blind. What I am talking about is the bad apples, who are surely spoiling the bunch. If we do not address the rotten apples in authority, we risk having nothing but bad apples.

As I have said before, pro-black is not anti-white, nor is it anti-police. The fact that it has become a side-taking issue cuts me to the core, personally. When one group comes into power, it usually corrupts. As a matter of fact, I have not seen a case when power has not corrupted. That is why we set up a system of checks and balances in our three branches of government at the beginning. I am not going to bore you with the details of that, but our government was initially designed to keep all government employees from grabbing power over the others. It is not perfect (which seems to be a requirement these days for ANYTHING), but it is better than other forms. Now, let us speak how those of us who benefit from our privilege can help those who do not.

Now, being white, I can probably gain more effective traction in government to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which does not seek overthrow or oppression, as its opponents have claimed, but mere equality. I can do this because I have something in common with those who benefit from power. That is all. Apparently, it often takes people with privilege helping those without privilege to get others with privilege to listen. That is how those of us with privilege can help.

Of course, if you do not help the oppressed, that makes you an oppressor. There are no innocent bystanders.

I must admit, I did not come to these conclusions lightly. I was simply waxing hopeless about the situation of race relations in  the United States, when I saw a beacon in the night. My mother was flipping through channels to find something to watch. She settled on the movie “Ray,” about the musician Ray Charles. For those who don’t know, Ray Charles was an African-American musician whose music influenced countless others in the 50+ years he played. She could have chosen other entertainment, but she chose “Ray.” Now, if somebody can choose to learn about a man who is different from her in some way, so can everyone else, especially with privilege. Now, she’ll probably just say that she was choosing the best movie, but it could have been taken off her radar due to his skin color. Believe me, crossing a boundary in entertainment is no small feat.