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?  

Too Concerned with Mental Health at Times? 

When I heard an actress, who had recently given birth, was getting health with her postpartum depression, I felt that concern time was over because I somehow knew she was in good hands. I often wonder if that concern was prematurely ended. I mean, since she was in good hands, she was getting good help, right?  

I was wondering: when should you be concerned with a person’s mental health, and when should you be NOT concerned? Also, could you be too concerned? Could that concern actually be thinly-veiled fear? 

When you’re dealing with your own mental health, I think concern should be best had by the person themselves. Mental health persons, when dealing with it, can be their own best advocates. Besides, they know what is best for them a majority of the time, especially in dealing with the tedious trial-and-error method of mental health medication. I am a fan of telling the doctor everything that is going on with your body, mind and mood. I know it’s long and drawn out. I myself had to tell my own prescriber that I was not feeling and functioning when they switched my prescription on me once. I am even glad there is somebody who looks out for me and my mental state as well. Unfortunately, few of those with mental illness have that person who really looks out for them. I know I am blessed in that aspect.  

About excess concern: that is usually a veiled fear of mental illness itself, and the various aspects of the behavior. I must speak again and again of the stigma, fear and hate that surrounds us who have mental illness, and our families. Pushing it under the rug will do nobody any favor. As a matter of fact, stigma gives mental illness a cover of darkness, and darkness is the perfect environment for the illness to spread and fester like bacteria, claiming lives and families as it grown. It is only in exposure to the light of day that we can fight it. 

So, what is the limit of concern? Where do we stop being scared for the person and begin to help the person in their fight for their health?  

Seek Help Beforehand

Chester Bennington was found dead of suicide. He was 41. I recently came across a tweet that basically said, “If you only want to talk about mental illness when someone famous commits suicide, you’re part of the problem.” Trouble is, that seems to be the only time people are listening. Most of the time, people shut their ears at anything unpleasant. They want to be unrealistically happy. I consider myself a pretty happy person, but I have also been diagnosed with major depression right along with my autism. (Surprise, surprise – this world drives me crazy.) But mental health should be talked about all the time, not just when something terrible happens to shake you out of your “Happy Haze.”

For me, mental health is a daily management. It’s a sort of demand in order to keep performing at my peak. I include my medicines in my routine. There is no shame in the process. I just take my meds and move along with my day. If there is a problem, I talk it over with someone who can help me. Again, there is no shame in the process. Yeah, I live with the specter of stigma when it comes to mental illness, but I know that I am an adult, and I do not have to take on that stupid stigma myself.

I can tell what people are thinking – what if I go off my meds? Then I become irrationally depressed. That’s why I stay on my meds. I can tell people are thinking this, because every mentally ill person on TV has been through a “go off their meds and go crazy” storyline, usually with a dictation that they cannot cope with society and need to be locked up at least for a time. What a negative, hateful, bigoted LIE! Those with mental illness (I use “mentally ill” and “with mental illness” interchangeably) are perfectly capable of living in society, with their meds. Perhaps this dictation from the media is why Chester Bennington never sought help for himself and is now dead. Perhaps seeing illness as weakness is why Robin Williams never sought help for himself and is now dead as well. Perhaps the fear and stigma surrounding having a mental illness is why so many people never get help for their conditions and let their conditions morph into boatloads of unnecessary drama and, in many cases, unnecessary suicide.

Now, let’s get the myth out that a person who commits suicide is supposed to go through with it anyway. I once considered suicide a long time ago. My mother found out about it, and eventually I got help for my own conditions. That’s how I got diagnosed with major depression. Here’s the thing about it all: Once I verbalized my pain, I changed my mind. Here’s the kicker: eventually, a person will change their mind. Maybe it’s in the throes of death itself, but they eventually change their mind. A survivor of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge himself regretted the act once he went through with it. As he was falling, he prayed to survive. The point of that is, we will change our mind. Perhaps if society made it okay to admit you’re struggling with your own head, we would seek help BEFORE we are falling off the Golden Gate Bridge, so to speak. I want people okay with thinking about unpleasant things. Maybe we can prevent tragedy when we do.

A Closer Look at Glorifying Autism

I just heard the most ridiculous thing: we autistics are “glorifying” autism. I would like to know: How do you do that? How do you glorify something when you can’t help but be that something? This contends to be a twofold problem: One, people are upset that there are autistic people out there in the first place. Two, they are upset that these autistic people are not going away. These accusations of “glorifying” autism are simply one thing in particular: they are undeniable proof that people have a hate of autistic people because they choose not to understand them. They are willfully ignoring us because of anti-autistic prejudice.

Anti-autistic prejudice has existed since the discovery of autism itself. There is no denying that. What exists around it is that people are willing to stick their fingers in their ears and yell “LA LA LA LA LA” at autistic people, as if they think autistic people have no idea what is going on with them. Why do you not take autistic people at their word? Is it because you are going to find out you might be wrong about us? This inexperienced “expertise” is one of the things most Actually Autistic People hate about Autism Speaks. Yeah, there may be so-called “experts” on the field of autism now, but it is only after an autistic campaign of shame and exposure, and for us, it’s too little, too late. Those neurotypical experts, I believe, come from the same position of autism as most White Americans on the position of Africa. The position is as such: they know what it is, they maybe have seen it somewhere, but have they experienced it? No. Only people who have been to Africa can actually tell you about Africa. Likewise, only people who are autistic can fully tell you about the experience of autism.

So, about “glorifying” autism: this seems to me, as I have said before, a simple sign of trouble with autistic people existing. Why don’t you just say: “We hate autistic people?” I mean, be honest. Isn’t that what you always really wanted to say? Usually, somebody talking about “glorifying” something that simply exists is actually wanting to say how much they hate it. They are saying they do not want to be reminded that it exists. They want it to go away. They hate it. They hate us.

Why do I speak of hate in the “glorifying” accusations? Simple: it is there. Usually, when a “glorifying” accusation is thrown out, it is thrown out at something unpleasant that people want to go away. Here are a few: glorifying drugs, glorifying LGBT existence, glorifying single motherhood; I could go on. What all these things people are supposedly glorifying have in common is this: they are unpleasant to some. What these accusations of glorifying do not do is help. They simply drive these unpleasant things underground, where they can thrive in the fertile ground of secrecy. We need to talk of unpleasant things. No, we are not glorifying that.

Politics is Now Too Hateful For Me

I try to avoid politics in my work because I want everybody to feel welcome on my site. Honestly, I hate just about everybody involved in politics, and I only stay on social media for my blog. I have thought about quitting many, many times. I absolutely hate that every word of mine is judged by those who would twist the very name of love and/or God itself to their specific agendas. I also hate the fact that everything I say and do means I am either a hater or a snowflake. I even fantasize about leaving the Unites States altogether due to the hellish political climate. So, if you want to discuss politics anymore I will not participate. I am tired of walking on eggshells for the right and the left. So, I am now apolitical. I wash my hands of this political climate. Call me Hitler, call me Stalin, call me every swear word in the book. I am done. I must take care of my mental health in order to survive you. 

Learning to Adapt

I saw a rerun of “America’s Got Talent.” On the show, a deaf woman sang her own original song, with her own original, beautiful voice, and with her own way of feeling out the notes and vibrations; she had her shoes off to feel them through the floor. I thought that bit was amazing. It got me thinking: I know what we do when we have a perceived disability: We adapt. We adapt to get through the world not made for us.

For some of us, the learning process is easy, especially when the person is supported and accepted as they are, without shame or blame. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us have a hard, trouble-ridden process of adapting. I used to speak stiffly and with echolalia well into adulthood, especially since I was not taught how to mimic good speech properly, in the right environment. I know that through childhood and early adulthood, I have been bullied, made fun of, tricked into compromising pranks, and even mocked by adults supposedly watching out for my best interests. However, I later found these adults who looked out for me in a group “program” setting. It was there that I finally felt like I was in the “inner circle” I longed to be in. I finally, in my thirties, found the way to speak with a natural flow and rhythm.That group therapy has been discarded through budget cuts now, but it was the first time I actually felt like I fit in somewhere. It was a new feeling to me; I did not know what to with it at first. The point of the story is, in the best environment, where I am supported and encouraged, I learned an essential skill.

A lot of people with autism do not receive this essential support at all, or not until late adulthood. I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I would like to get some tips on how to create that particular environment online, where I apparently have a tiny sphere of influence. I want to create a space where people can easily be themselves and supported, without blame or shame. I want to create a space where we can learn to adapt and practice adaptation safely. Anyone want to help?