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I Am Not Spock: #Aspergers #Autism is a HUMAN Condition

A few days ago, an otherwise well-respected medical professional and advocate for Aspergers said something that touched a raw nerve with me.  He said:  "I want to hang with #Aspies more than the humans.  More fun, funny, weird & authentic… My peeps!“

Can you spot the problem with this?  It looks very positive and affirming but look closely, read it again.  If you just said "Wait, did he just…?” then you saw the same thing I did and probably took it the same way.  This isn’t the first time, either.  He’s said things like comparing us to Data, Spock, and C-3PO.  What’s the underlying theme here?

That we’re not human.

Before we go any further, let me state that I do fully comprehend what he *meant* to say, that he prefers our company to that of neurotypical society.  He was also appealing to the fact that many of us do feel like aliens (and why is that, really?)  I do understand the context and what he was trying to convey.  I am an Aspie - screwing up what I’m trying to say is part and parcel of my life.  It’s why I always give people, including this fellow, another chance to rephrase and a chance to learn why the way they said it went so wrong.

Because I haven’t met another AS person YET who hasn’t been dehumanized since childhood.  I grew up hearing the grown-ups talking about me.  My grandmother said I was a changeling left by the fairies.  My teachers thought I was a freak.  I grew up listening to my stepfather tell my mother I had no soul, then would go to school where the other kids thought I was an alien.  Because I didn’t emote the way other people did and in the ways other people expected, because my emotions seldom showed on my face, people thought I didn’t feel anything.  That I was inhuman.  And that made it okay to abuse me.  My supposed inhumanity was used to justify all sorts of mental and emotional abuses against me.  And I have not met even one Aspergers person, online and in person, who doesn’t have similar stories.

But we ARE human beings.

Data does not have Asperger’s Autism; he is an android.  Asperger’s Autism is a human condition.
C-3P0 does not have Asperger’s Autism; he is a ‘droid.  Asperger’s Autism is a human condition.
Spock could possibly have Asperger’s Autism via his human genetics, but the traits he shows - logic, suppression of emotions, controlled face and body - are the result of Vulcan cultural conditioning.  Vulcans are not humans; Vulcans do not have Asperger’s Autism.  Asperger’s Autism is a human condition.

I did respond back to this professional.  As I said, I do understand the point he was trying to convey.  But he didn’t say he prefers the company of Aspies to NTs, he didn’t say he prefers the company of Aspies to *other* humans; he said he prefers the company of Aspies to *the* humans.   That makes a huge world of difference.   He effectively stripped us of humanity while praising us - wth??

Unfortunately his replies were even more ablistly ugly.  Of course, I misinterpreted him (I’d already stated that I understand the sentiment he was trying to convey.)  And then he offered to Skype me so he could explain where I went wrong.

He, a man in a medical mental-health profession in a position of authority, wanted to explain to me, a member of a disability community frequently dehumanized and abused, why I, a woman who has personally experienced being demonized, dehumanized, and my supposed inhumanity used to abuse me, am wrong about separating people with Aspergers from “the humans” being wrong and potentially harmful.  Where is that gif from The Office?

I wish I could say that he listened but I can’t.  In fact, he’s now blocked me.  So he’s likely going to continue working with Aspergers patients, telling them how wonderful they are, all underscored by a deeply-buried belief that we aren’t actually human.

SO

Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)

I definitely plan to expand about this later, but my goodness, this movie was beautiful and emotional and I am wrecked. It took me three hours to get through it because I kept re-watching all the high-emotion scenes and I had to stop to cry 4 separate times.

110% recommend this movie. Though please beware its heavy thematic elements and highly emotional theme. (CW/TW: for bullying, ablism, minor violence, depression, and suicide.)

Thoughts on Hook's Hook from a Hook Mun

Really, it’s too soon to make a big deal about whether or not Hook will get his hand back (and it was done in a joking way that we can’t take 100% seriously, tbh), but as someone who gets asked in my RPing “would you like to get your hand back?” I’ve devoted a fair amount to thought about Hook and the possibility of him getting his hand back.

We know that Hook’s hand is in Mr. Gold’s shop. He’s kept it all these years. That has left open the possibility that Hook could some day get his hand back (and not have it be like Wormtail’s hand in the Harry Potter series). The writers have always indicated that Hook could wind up having two hands again. It’s always been something that I’ve been like “yeah, it could happen.”

I’ve never really been interested in Hook getting his hand back. I like Killian having a hook – it looks cool, it’s kind of sexy, and it’s important to his character. Now, you can argue that he’s changing and that his redemption arc has happened, so it makes sense for him to change not just his outfits, but also to get his hand back. I’m not so thrilled about this because of a number of reasons. First, A person does not need to be physically perfect or “whole” in order to be a “whole person” deserving of their happy ending. Second, OUAT has already done disability erasure with Mr. Gold/Rumple’s redemption arc. It sends an ableist message. 

There are ways that it could be done, however, where Hook getting his hand back could not be a part of his redemption arc, or his hand is not returned to make him “whole.” For example, Rumple could give it back as an apology. (Not likely). It’s also possible that Emma could restore his hand as an act of love. 

Now, with the spoilers about a “believer” and “a helping hand” in combination with the spoilers about Henry haning out more with Mr. Gold and possibly working in his shop, I believe Henry will be the one to restore Killian’s hand. Jared has indicated wanting to develop the Captain Cobra friendship, and Henry giving Hook his hand back after seeing it in Mr. Gold’s shop would be consistent with the spoilers that have been given.

If Hook is going to get his hand back, that is how I want it to happen. Will I be mad if it’s done another way? Nope. Will I be happy if the writers are joking or if this is going to be a dream sequence? Yes.

Now, onto the most important matter: Does Hook want his hand back? As someone who’s had to answer this question several times, I don’t think there’s an easy yes or no answer. You can’t blame someone who lost a limb for wanting to get it back. Having disable friends and family members, I know that it royally sucks to be disabled. If Hook wanted to get his hand back simply because it made his life easier, that’s fine. If he voices that opinion on the show, then I support it 100%. But (and it’s a big but), Hook’s hook is a part of his identity. Hell, it’s become his name. He might not want to give that part of himself up. But, how he lost his hand is painful (in more than just physical ways). If he wanted to not be reminded of that part of his life, then I wouldn’t blame him for wanting his hand back and removing the tattoo of Milah’s name and Rumple’s dagger. Wouldn’t blame him at all.

At present, however, Hook has expressed only attachment to his hook, and Hook’s opinion really is the only one that matters. If someone gives Hook back his hand without his consent, that’s not very cool, even if it’s done for “the right” reasons (i.e. out of love or concern). But, if Hook indicates that he wants to have his hand back, then I don’t see why anyone (on the show or as a viewer) should tell him no, especially since we know it could possibly happen. 

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