Ok I just finished Power Rangers (2017) and I don’t think Allistics quite understand how important it was to see Billy (the blue ranger) portrayed the way he was.
In media, there’s generally only one kind of canon autistic. And by canon I mean “The source material uses terminology that references autism or outright states said character is autistic”, and Billy straight up said “I’m on the spectrum” which is how many of us say “I’m autistic” without actually saying it’s Autism Spectrum Disorder. He also said “No it’s a diagnosis” when he missed Jason’s (the red ranger) joke.
So we only get one (1) kind of autistic in media. What kind is that? Well look no further than Sherlock “I’m a high functioning sociopath” Holmes of BBC’s Sherlock. That is usually what we get. A genuinely horribly written person who treats his peers like trash because he believes he’s smarter than them, and is given ~mystical Autism powers~ [read: he’s really good at logic and things] because of the fact that he is Autistic.
We generally get the white boy who likes trains, is good at math, and treats people badly (if an adult) or is a “problem child” if a minor.
Billy is a black autistic teenager. Now I’m white, I should say that straight up, but it is super important that we see black autistic characters. Why? Because people of color are massively under diagnosed with autism. The reasons for that vary, it could be resources (getting diagnosis is expensive), but a lot of it does have to do with racism in the field of psychology. It’s important for young black autistics to be able to see people like Billy on TV. To be able to think “That’s me. I could be a power ranger to.”
Not once was Billy shown to be a “problem child” at all. He was a Soft Boy. He has special interests, trouble communicating and picking up on social cues. A few times there I thought he was going to cry from the stress of everything and when the bully at the start of the movie broke his pencils I felt what he did because I was in his situation once upon a time. He was distressed and if it wasn’t for Jason stepping in I have no doubt that the bully would have pushed him to tears.
Billy was the reason everything took off. He found the coins. He was able to map out where the crystal was. He was the first to morph!!
He wasn’t this egotistical jackass who treats coworkers like they’re disposable silverware, he was a real person. He was a real autistic person.
And seeing someone like him, being himself and was unapologetic about it! And when he did face shit for being autistic, both times the bully got fucked up. It even went the extra step of making the bully a running gag for getting hurt and tbh I don’t give a shit about a bully’s feelings I’m glad it was a running gag.
Billy is so important, and I need people to understand we need more people like him in media at large.