Monday, July 22, 2013

When People Hurt With Carelessness

I have said many times in previous incarnations that I view autism primarily through the lens of a different aspect of humanity (for lack of better word, a culture) rather than a malady to be removed entirely. In that aspect, I view autistic rights as a facet of human rights. The goal of my advocacy is to promote autism as a valuable asset to the whole of humanity, and that if the collective gives accommodations to the autistic, the autistic will provide benefits to humanity in return.

It is for this reason that when I hear autism and its descriptors being thrown about as pejoratives I am offended; the idea that we are still the “other”, that we are to be shunned at best and eliminated at worst. This is why I was offended when Curtis posted his tweet regarding a fan looking autistic last year, and why I was offended by the lyrics of Jodeci Freestyle this year. However, I could not in good conscience hate the men themselves; they were ignorant of the hurt they were causing.

It is easy to demonize those who inflict harm, to automatically assume the slices from a sword are inflicted deliberately by a cruel oppressor, when the more likely scenario is that of a small child picking up the sword and swinging it carelessly. It is harder to step away from the child, calm down, and observe the situation objectively; harder still to then walk back to the child, grab the sword calmly and tell this person that they are harming people with it.

But that is what we in the human rights community must do if we are to move forward with our goals, and the autism community in particular. We advocates must be strong enough to take the slices without retaliating, explain that it hurts, why it hurts and calmly ask that they stop swinging. Very few people hurt deliberately; the majority hurt carelessly. And from my experience, J. Cole and Curtis Jackson hurt carelessly, not deliberately, and deserve the forgiveness asked by them.

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