Apparently there’s neurotypical people who see autism awareness month (you know, the campaign that treats us as an epidemic and a burden) as glorifying autism, and have taken to “lighting it up red” to challenge the idea that autism is something to be proud of. Fuck. Lighting it up red is autistic people’s way of reclaiming the fearmongering campaigns that demonize us it’s an act of self-love. Neurotypicals who see us as shameful don’t get to cash in on the switch to red because they hate us even more than the blue crowd
Prevention Point, San Francisco, 1988 Volunteers provide clean syringes in exchange for dirty ones, as well as other safer injection supplies. The needle exchange program began in the city when a group of people recognized they needed to do something to stop the spread of HIV among injection drug users. Acting against the law, they created Prevention Point — an all-volunteer, street-based operation.
During the U.S. Revolution smallpox swept west from the Atlantic Coast
into the heart of the continent. Many Native American nations, like the
Lakota, were effected. These images
depict the 1779-1780 and 1780-1781 entries in Battiste Good’s Winter
Count with the words “The eruption and pains in the stomach and bowels
are shown as before, smallpox used them up winter”. The first Winter
Count record of epidemic disease is from a Yanktonai Dakota in 1714 with
the description “fatal cramps and convulsions”. On average, epidemics
struck the Great Plains every 5.7 years, with epidemic-free periods
ranging from zero to 45 years depending on the band in question, and
disease mortality increased in years following nutritional stress.
(Sundstrom, 1997, “Smallpox Used Them Up: References to Epidemic Disease
in Northern Plains Winter Counts, 1714-1920”).
They end at the shoulders,
they are clipped off at the neck.
Never talk to fat people.
You may talk to an expert,
to a dietitian or a doctor
but never to a real live fat person
because fat people have no heads.
Use the word Epidemic
at least once, especially
if children are involved.
Children are always involved,
so use the word Epidemic
at least once. Fat children
still have heads, usually;
only fat adults must be
d e c a p i t a t e d.
Because he still has his head
you may talk to a fat child,
especially if you offer him
a box of chicken nuggets.
Entice him to say Alarming Things
with a box of chicken nuggets.
After the word Epidemic
segue from concerned anchorwoman
to stock footage of fat headless girl
browsing the racks at J.C. Penny’s.
Segue to fat headless mom
walking with her fat headless son
on a sidewalk populated by
fat headless pedestrians.
Voice-over Alarming Things
about fat headless people
not getting enough exercise
and segue to fat headless man
stuffing his fingers into a box
of McDonald’s french fries.
Fat people eat only McDonald’s
french fries and we will be right
back with more on this story
after a word from our sponsors.
Cue McDonald’s theme song.
Pretty people, Golden Arches,
laughing with their heads
as they eat McDonald’s french fries
with their heads
and never gain a pound.
I feel for these families…However, when asked why their middle/upper-middle class children turned junkies shouldn’t be stigmatized and should be handled with understanding, one parent claimed that since we don’t stigmatize diabetics and chain smokers for their conflicting habits- Not Their Children! So, what about all of those years that “inner city” children turned junkies abused they were hugely stigmatized, harshly imprisoned and created families with revolving habits…where’s the understanding? Why is it that the girl next door or valedictorian has to be affected in order for the problem to be considered valid and treated with such compassion?
I am an autistic fanfic author, and I’m tired of autism being stigmatized and misrepresented. So here you have a genuine autistic POV via my fanfiction.
Whouffaldi Triad(Doctor Who)
A short trilogy where the Doctor and Clara stop running away from their feelings.
Autism isn’t a Tragedy! (Guardians of the Galaxy)
You won’t see Groot overcoming autism. Nope, you’ll see him overcoming neurotypical/allistic ideals that he has to fit in to be accepted.
What you have here are two very different presentations of the same autism. Yes, the same autism. There are no “different” types of autism that are more “severe” or “mild” than the other. People are not “low functioning” or “high functioning”. Functioning labels are useless, harmful and dehumanizing. Autism is autism, all that is different is some people’s symptoms are more obvious and disabling than others.
What are these stories saying?
Stop comparing us to you. Stop saying we fall short because we don’t meet your standards of average. Stop calling us burdens, epidemics and tragedies. Stop dehumanizing us. Stop speaking over us. Stop presuming you know more about autism than autistic people. Stop abusing us until we look, sound and act like you. Stop ignoring our voices.
Each morning I wake up slightly dumber than I was the day before. It’s happening to all of us. It’s an epidemic. Or a pandemic? I don’t remember the difference. You don’t either. SEE?! We’re dumb.
For years we’ve believed that we gain intelligence as we age… that’s just how it goes, right? Nope.
Theory: You are your least intelligent in your mid-twenties. You are no longer as sharp as when you dedicated eight hours of your day to learning, and you’re not old enough yet to impart any sort of wisdom on anyone. Essentially, this is how life goes:
0-5 years old: Be cute, and people will love you.
6-18 years old: Recite some Shakespeare or a couple of periodic elements, and people will be proud of you.
19-22ish years old: Have some beer, and people will like you.
22ish-29 years old: YOU ARE AN IDIOT. EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING IS WRONG, AND EVERYONE HATES YOU.
30+ years old: Say whatever you want, and people will believe you.
If you have doubts, my twentysomething friends, that we are the dumbest creatures on planet Earth, take some examples from my personal life:
There was once a time that I could use something called the Pythagorean theorem (yeah, idk?!), and now I can’t even calculate a 20% tip for the Pizza Hut guy without whipping out my tip calculator app. #idiot
In grade school, I was able to recite all 50 state capitals from memory… It recently took me twenty minutes to remember my SnapChat password. #idiot
I used to write 10 page papers, no problem…Today I went to draft an email and I couldn’t even form words. What’s the past tense of reach? Reached? Why does that sound funny? The past tense of teach is taught, so the past tense of reach is probably raught, right? Wrong. If it weren’t for spell check, I would’ve been fired months ago. #idiot
AND, apparently your emotional intelligence goes all Benjamin Button too… Last month my dvr didn’t record Scandal, and I cried. Like actual tears. I got so worked up that I almost forgot I could watch it on-demand. Tears continued to flow the entire episode. #idiot
I can no longer dress myself. I can’t seem to figure out what is an appropriate outfit choice for each of the occasions in my life. Like, I understand that leggings at work are generally a no-go, but like am I supposed to be in “real-person clothes” when I go the grocery store? The dentist? Ugh. Do I need to have a pair of khakis in my wardrobe? I hate khakis. Does adulthood = owning khakis? #idiot
Plus, it’s not unusual for me to look like this after a meal. #idiot
Hey #idiots, I’m on that twitter thing: @20_nothings #chirpchirp
But AIDS probably did not affect gay men first, even in the United States. What is now called AIDS was first seen in middle-class gay men in America, in part because of our access to medical care. Retrospectively, however, it appears that IV drug users—whether gay or straight—were dying of AIDS in New York City throughout the ‘70s and early '80s, but a class-based and racist health care system failed to notice, and an epidemiology equally skewed by class and racial bias failed to begin to look until 1987. Moreover, AIDS had never been restricted to gay men in Central Africa, where the syndrome is a problem of apocalyptic dimensions, but to this day receives almost no attention in the United States.
Douglas Crimp, How to Have Promiscuity in an Epidemic (1987)
(Image description: A screenshot of a youtube comment. The profile picture and screen name of the poster is blurred out. The comment reads: Autism Speaks was created for the ones who can’t speak for themselves and create awareness. 1in 68 is a high number, so yes do research to find out why. You have a great life, but for the ones who can’t speak for themselves and banging their heads, someone needs to help them. Why all the high functioning autistics have so much to say but don’t do anything for your fellow autistics. So please don’t bash .. cause someone needs to speak for the non verbal. Again it was not created for High functioning autistics. you guys do not need help. but the rest do.“)
I get questions about "allies” a lot, how to differentiate the allistic people who really do want to understand us and support us from the allistic people who think or say that they are helping us, but are really doing the opposite. This youtube comment is a good tool to illustrate some common red flags when it comes to false allies.
1. Any non-Autistic person who speaks or writes over the voices of Autistic people are probably not our allies. It’s not that the voices and support of our allistic allies isn’t appreciated– because we do appreciate our allies a lot! It’s that, when it comes to discussions about Autism, the voices of Autistic people should always be given priority and not spoken over, erased, or invalidated. And false allies tend to do just that.
2. When a person has heard the truth about how Autism Speaks hurts the Autistic community, but they then choose to continue to support Autism Speaks, that person is no friend to the Autistic community. They are a friend only to Autism Speaks and to themselves. A good ally will defend and support Autistic people, not Autism Speaks.
3. Be very wary of the use of these 1 in 88, 1 in 68, etc. numbers. They are most often used to generate fear and support for Autism Speaks’ goal of “awareness”. But what the Autistic community needs is understanding and acceptance, not Autism Speaks’ brand of fear mongering and “awareness”. These numbers are often followed by the use of the words epidemic or crisis– one of the biggest red flags.
4. Think of the use of functioning labels as a big bouquet of red flags being presented to you. For every allistic person who has not yet been educated on why functioning labels are harmful and shouldn’t be used, there is a false ally out there intentionally using functioning labels to dismiss the opinions and invalidate the experiences of Autistic people. And there really is no pleasing these false allies. Either you are too low-functioning to have an opinion on Autism, disability, social justice (and even your own life), or you’re too high-functioning and not really Autistic, which means that you don’t get a say in matter of Autism, disability, or social justice.
5. Finally, phrases like “someone needs to speak for the non-verbal” and “the ones who can’t speak for themselves” are the greatest red flag of them all. A true ally will understand that, while some Autistic people will never communicate via spoken language, every Autistic person has their own rich inner world of thoughts, feelings, opinions, and an inner voice. A good ally will know that, even if an Autistic person never speaks with their mouthparts, with the right accommodation and teaching there is a very good chance that their voice can be heard one day. But false allies spread the wrong idea that non-verbal Autistic people can’t and will never speak for themselves, and that they need allistic people to speak for them. This is an insidious and very harmful myth about non-verbal Autistic people.
If any of you have any examples of red flags to watch out for, or examples of false allies (especially those who cause more harm than good), feel free to reblog and add your thoughts. And, for those of you who prefer more positive and uplifting reads, I have a post on what makes a great ally in the works, so look out for that!