I Am #Autistic, Not Your Bogeyman

I Am #Autistic, Not Your Bogeyman

huge pile of manureSo we have conservative pundit George Will in Newsweek calling Trump “Socially Autistic” to describe his total lack of empathy or compassion. No. Just no.

After my first response (“Fuck you!” for anybody who wanted to know) I remembered to breathe and put a little bit more thought into a statement about this latest example of autism being used as an insult, a slur. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever with Trump being insulted (or impeached, locked up, dumped in the middle of the ocean, fired into space, etc.). But you don’t throw my identity around as a slur.

Bottom-feeding pond life like George Will don’t care about what autism is, only that it isn’t them and it can be used to imply their target is a failed, broken person. It’s the same when those who commit evil abhorrent acts like mass shootings are referred to as mentally ill. It’s all used to distance those people, to say they’re not like “us normal folks”. It’s called “othering”: there’s us, and there’s them, the “others”.

So that they don’t have to confront the idea that people just like them can be awful human beings, they stick labels on them. Doesn’t matter what the label is, whether it’s appropriate or accurate. Only that it refers to some other group of people who they see as inferior.

Autism and mental illness are not your go-to bogeymen, tales to frighten children. Not monsters, not sub-human. We are not “less than” anybody else. This is not acceptable. So take your false stereotypes about empathy and everything else and stick them up your ass.

You can see I’ve thought deeply about it. So now I’ve got a more considered, rational response to George Will, Newsweek and any other shitstain who throws people like me under the bus:



9 thoughts on “I Am #Autistic, Not Your Bogeyman

  1. I’ve never much liked George Will and this makes me like him even less. Sounds like he’s trying to make being autistic into a political statement. I know right after the election, there were numerous people who were proclaiming that President Trump’s son was autistic. Regardless of whether Barron is or isn’t, it’s nobody else’s business but his parents.

    Oddly enough, for someone who is being labelled “socially autistic” and “lacking in compassion”, President Trump manages to cover an awful lot of ground, such as visiting with the victims of Hurricane Harvey (Houston area), Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico); the survivors of the Las Vegas massacre; deal with people in large groups (Black college presidents’ meeting in his office shortly after inauguration) and a whole host of other things. I suspect that people in Washington aren’t used to having someone around that freely speaks his mind — and they don’t like it much, so this is a way to get back at the President.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The phrase “socially autistic” is meaningless – it’s never been a diagnosis. It only makes any sense if the “autistic” part is meant as an insult implying “defective”.

      Now I personally can’t stand Trump as a person or as a president, but this isn’t about defending him. It’s about defending autistic people like me. Any use of “autistic” (or “mentally ill”) as a slur is directly harmful to me and people like me, and is unacceptable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I pretty much figured that the phrase was meaningless and the word was being used as a slur. I’m wondering if Will came up with it because of the comments about Barron last year. There are many adjectives that I could use to describe President Trump, some of them flattering, and others not, but autistic was never on the radar. And oddly enough, Alex, I don’t think of you, or my good friend in Canada or my son as “autistic”. You all are just Alex, Anne and Ian. I spent four years working in the medical records department of a psychiatric hospital, so trust me on this — I know “mental ill” when I see it. I guess my point was that I don’t think George Will actually knows what autistic means and is just tossing so much BS to see what sticks.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can believe that Alex is autistic, and I KNOW I am, but also know that neither (or all those you mentioned), are “mentally ill”.

          Short story (I hope):

          I was Dxed as Aspergers in 1999, at the age of 53. A few years later, I signed up with the Veteran’s Administration for my health care. I foolishly (and naively) gave them a copy of my diagnosis. It has been used against me ever since. First time, I asked for something to help with insomnia, as I was still working and needed regular sleep. As my primary care, I had a Physician’s Assistant, and he felt that, not being a Doctor, he couldn’t prescribe anything like that, and demanded that I see a Psychiatrist to get the Rx. I asked why that was necessary, and he replied, “Because you have a mental disorder.” (The concern was that I might misuse the drug, possibly to commit suicide, you see.) The psychiatrist prescribed amitriptylin, which, it turns out, is a highly addictive benzodiazepine. NO, I did not become addicted, because I soon found that while it helped me get to sleep, it made it hard to get up in the morning, and made me very sleepy mid-afternoon, before my workday was over. So I started cutting them in half, and even quarters, to find something more helpful. At a later appt., I told the psych that I found them too strong and was cutting them, and he just said that he didn’t know anyone who had such a problem with them.

          No, he WANTED me to get hooked on them. I know this because when I finally accessed the medical records years later, I found that he LIED, saying that “patient is highly satisfied with the drug.” I Never said anything like that. A different doctor later prescribed hydrocodone for *arthritis in my big toe*! I really did have a pain in a toe, but it certainly didn’t require an opioid like hydrocodone to ease it! But no, I didn’t get hooked on that either, in SPITE of their efforts.

          This is getting too long, I suppose, so suffice it to say that the VA has been treating me as if I were a developmentally disabled child, and in a patronizing, condescending way, and the only “fact” they’re going on is that copy of my Dx, of which they have NO understanding. For years now, I’ve only used melatonin to help me sleep, and ibuprofen for the toe pain (when necessary). I can take care of myself!

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I’m assuming you mean well in saying you don’t think of me as autistic, but I’m a little uncomfortable with such an intrinsic part of who I am being erased. Autism shapes how I experience the world around me, and how that world sees me. Of course, I’m in my 40s now and I’ve become fairly adept at working around those aspects that cause me difficulty.

          It’s not that I see autism as some great boon in my life: like most things it brings both good and bad. What I object to in the way the word is misused is that it is assumed to be something wholly negative, something to fear, an affliction. It causes folks to look at autistic people like me and assume we’re not competent to make decisions for ourselves, to ignore our words and feelings because they believe they know us better than we know ourselves. We get ignored, dismissed, left out of the discussions and decisions that affect our very lives: that is how it causes us real harm.

          As for mental illness, like many autistic people I have frequent problems with depression and anxiety and have been treated (not particularly successfully) with both medication and therapy. I find myself unable to work at times because of it: it does have a very real impact on my life. I write about it sometimes but few people ever actually see that side of me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Alex, I wonder why I got no response from you for my last comment. It wan’t easy writing all that out, and I left out many other instances of them patronizing me for what they perceive as “my problem” because of being autistic. I haven’t gone to the VA clinic for nearly 2 years now, because I’m tired of being condescended to like they do.

            Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.