Can We Talk, Chicago Med? 

I’m loving this inclusion and casting of Dr. Latham. However, a colleague in autism brought up a very good point in the storytelling. There is a troubling thing about the narrative, which I think ought to be reconsidered as well as my colleague: the cure narrative. While the cure narrative is the most common in the autism media universe, it is not one which most autistic adults refer to in living. There is a lot of trouble in pushing the cure narrative.

As for one, autism, as it stands today, cannot be cured. There is no cure known for autism. As for Dr. Latham’s radical treatments, they are fine to some extent. But why not show some of the side effects? I like that the treatment Dr. Latham is receiving is shown as temporary or needing to continue. I think we need to continue with that aspect.

2- I think I need to stop for a second and express a point here. There is also a big, foul prejudice reeking in the narrative that we need to address: ableism. Ableism, by definition, is adding stigma to a perceived lack of ability. As I have defined before, adding stigma to the perceived lack of communication is wrong. Even the language, “lack of” being the focus here, adds stigma to autism and other disabilities. It’s as if you have to experience things exactly as the neurotype in power, and all others is wrong and a tragedy. Autism is not a tragedy! The trouble is, there are scared, desperate autism parents looking at this show, hoping to find some answer to “fix” their “broken” child. They turn to risky, strange and even abusive treatments to do this “fixing.” And when those treatments do not work, the child might be permanently scarred, or even killed in some cases. Also, there are broken relationships, running away and suicide to consider. Is it any wonder very few autistic people talk to their families of origin unless forced to? What is there except autism acceptance?

I’ve got a question: Why not consult real autistic adults on their struggles and triumphs? Have you even considered that autistic adults are real people, with real opinions, real knowledge and real experience? Or are we still complete morons in your eyes? So, what about it, Chicago Med? Is Dr. Latham a moron? That is what you say if you do not consider a viewpoint from real life autistic adults.


The Cold Within, by James Patrick Kinney – A 1960s Poem For Our Time

Read this poem, take it in. This is the political problem for our time – cold, hard hearts ON ALL SIDES.


The Cold Within  – by James Patrick Kinney

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.[1]


I’m not asking you to change political beliefs. I’m asking you to open your heart.

America needs a hero.

“The Help” Bothers Me, and For the Right Reasons

My mother does not know this, but “The Help” bothers me to no end. It makes me uncomfortable when a perfectly smart and caring woman is mistreated, forced to use a glorified Porta-Potty and (SPOILER ALERT!) eventually fired for being black, and having an opinion different from utter devotion and praise. (I told you it was a spoiler.) I believe in giving everyone respect, regardless of description. That includes blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, and LGBTs. This is by no means an exclusive list, of course. I believe cordoning off and determining people are better or worse keeps people from achieving their full potential. “I am better than you” is holding us back as a society.

What does this have to do with “The Help?” Plenty. Women are absolutely cruel to other women, even their daughters, due to the fact that they don’t live up to some expected image of the Happy Servant, or the Thin, Perfect Daughter, or the Happy Slave Master. (No more spoilers; watch the movie or read the book.) A side plot revolves around one of the rich white women’s daughters being too fat for her mother to accept her as she is. The mother is told in the end, “Give that sweet girl a chance,” but to me, there is this unfortunate feeling that the girl will die of anorexia nervosa in the 1970s, the decade after the movie/book takes place. One sad side effect of childish thinking is that the child feels responsible for the parent’s happiness, and any negative message received is blown up into monstrous, self-harming psychological damage. For instance, a note on “chubby” or “fat” can turn into a toxic relationship with food, and that eventually develops into an eating disorder. I myself, as another example, turned to food to stuff down any feelings of betrayal and rejection inside my own life, and became a compulsive overeater. But this damaged relationship with food can go a myriad of ways, from overeating, to the binge-based bulimia nervosa, to anorexia nervosa. I guess this anger at her daughter for being too fat is a form of cruelty which resonates with me.

“But you’re not talking about the racism enough!” The excessive Jim Crow laws of 1960s Mississippi and the cruel treatment of blacks and servants in general is enough to make me vomit. Fortunately, it keeps much of it in the visceral, and exposes it deftly, and rightfully. There is so much cruelty across race, across class, across body, across society. Why are women so cruel to women? Were they born that way, or was it extreme competition for the few token spots at the Table of Love and Acceptance? It troubles me that women could be so cruel. It’s just like the bullies in high school.

Truth is, I only have a few friends, and they are a good split between male and female, I think. “The Help” is, to me, a study in female cruelty, and I don’t like that female cruelty exists. Stop it.


Better Off Dead?

Wow. Thanks a lot, Donald Trump. You have reiterated why I have to go over the same ground in the war for my safety and the safety of others like me. I know I am autistic. I just do not want to be pathologized, pitied and feared for it. Calling autism an “Epidemic” and “out of control” makes it sound scarier and harder than it really is. Do you have any reason why I find that offensive? I find it offensive because it makes me feel like a tragedy. I know I should not listen to people like you, but you invade my head and make tunnels in my brain. You make me think I ought to get off the planet, because that is the only way I can make it a better place. How do I put this? I am not going to get off the planet for you. I am not a tragedy. I am not a burden. I don’t know what I have to do, or how much money I have to make for you to value me, but I am glad I don’t have to prove my value to you. I prove my value to those who really care about me every single day, and none of them are you.

Let me bring up another point to this debate: Leaving aside the fact that the so-called link between autism and vaccines has been left unduplicated, debunked and left the man who published the study without a medicine license, you, Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vaxxers are simply saying this, by withholding vaccines from diseases that maim and kill:

“My child is better off dead or maimed than autistic.”

Thank you very much, Donald Trump. You have proven to me that your reliance on emotional anecdotes and wanton ignorance of science and medicine knows no bounds, and your tongue knows not the poison it carries and strikes into the hearts of your followers.


That Fateful Day


It pains me to think that school age children do not know the gravity of this day, but have distanced themselves from it. Maybe it’s because I was alive during this time, and old enough to remember. I was 24 on this day 14 years ago.

The morning of September 11, 2001, I was living with my sisters. We helped each other in the morning, getting ready for work. Today, it was my elder sister. My younger sister took her to work at Old Navy that morning. She worked in shipping and receiving, which meant a 6:30 a.m. start time. We said goodbye for the day, and off they went. I had the day off, so I tried to go back to sleep. I could not go back to sleep. (I did not know it at the time, but when I cannot relax, something major is going on.) My younger sister came back in, crying. She said planes had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. She finished by saying, “I am not kidding.” She was too devastated to be kidding. The news was just unbelievable. We did not have TV at the time, so we turned on the radio. One of the towers had already fallen by the time we turned it on, so we could only hear as the other one fell.

The reporting was chaotic. At one point, a reporter said that eight planes had been hijacked. Fortunately, it was reduced down to the four we know of. One plane had mysteriously crashed in the middle of Pennsylvania, so God only knows where that plane was being aimed. We picked up my sister after her store was closed, and I had the day off, so we were all together, comforting and supporting each other as sisters could. When my nephew was picked up, we all went to dinner at where I worked, which was unusually quiet for such a loud, boisterous place. Eventually, we made it to the Drug Emporium, where they had CNN on – and the plane hitting the second tower on loop. It threw my nephew into a scared fit. He went to his junior football practice, where the coach told them of his place in the Army Reserve, and his decision to go if needed. (Fortunately, he never did.)

In the days to follow, things were surreal. We all went to American rallies, vigils, we got TV so we watched CNN all the time for three weeks-at least I did. The “support America” haze lasted for an entire year afterwards, even until September 11, 2002. My boyfriend at the time even started a honk-your-horn rally over the freeway. It was so strange living in this particular haze, because we did not seem to be in need ot if before. Maybe what I’m trying to say is, when history happens before your eyes, it’s so different from seeing it on a page.


Where Were You? Hurricane Katrina Edition

On this day in 2005, hurricane Katrina made landfall as a Category 3 storm, breaking levees, flooding neighborhoods, and killing 1,833 people. Let that sink into your head a bit. Do you remember where you were ten years ago? I do.

I was in California, watching all of this on T.V. as it happened. I was at home from my job, so it was a Monday or Tuesday. I watched and prayed for the entire city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in general. I knew hurricanes were an annual thing which peaked at about this time, but what I learned was that the city of New Orleans was willfully unprepared for the tragedy it was facing as time wore on. There were rumors of violence in the Superdome, which were later disproved. People chanted and screamed for help. When help did finally arrive, it was almost always overwhelmed. Families were shoving and throwing their children on buses to nearby Houston and other places. I was literally numb with pain for all of those people, and due to the largely black makeup of New Orleans’ lower classes, I always wonder: if this were an earthquake in Beverly Hills, a mostly white and rich area, would the response be more effective because it was a mostly white and rich area?

We almost lost our respect for authority in those times. One rapper even said, “George Bush don’t care about black people,” which is literally untrue and the lowest point in the administration. I don’t think the problems with the Katrina disaster could have been solved through George W. alone, just like Hurricane Sandy’s problems could not be solved through Obama alone. In a disaster, it is usually a

Ten years later, I have decided to write about Katrina because I am seeing the uneven recovery that New Orleans is experiencing. Much of the Lower 9th Ward, a lower-class neighborhood, lies in ruins, while the French Quarter is better than ever. It makes me wonder if we still treat the poor like trash, when this should not be. New Orleans is rebuilding, but can it survive another Katrina? Will the government make these things sure? It shudders me to think that maybe this might not happen in time. I care a lot about the poor and disadvantaged, because they are getting frustrated again, and might turn to feared and hated ideologies in order to meet their needs. This happened in Russia; it can happen here.