Thursday, July 16, 2015

The War on Autism is now a Crusade: Autism Speaks Doubles Down on Combative Language

 The idea of combative language is nothing new; I myself wrote a blog post three years ago decrying its use by most in the Autism Community (But not the Autistic Community. Big difference there.) In summary, I demonstrated that the use of those combative terms suggested that the people using thought that the autism was some external invader rather than a descriptor of what kind of person the autist actually is. But the war metaphor goes deeper than that.

When a person takes into account the major “combatant” in this war, Autism Speaks, and looks at their fund distribution, it really is apparent that they truly do seek to wage war on us. Most of their funds go to advertising. Propaganda at its finest.

They use divide et impera techniques by perpetrating the idea of functioning labels, trying to divide autists into two camps that they might fight each other rather than their true enemy. Using the innate desire for acceptance all humans have, they label the ones who can appear to not be autistic (regardless of what actual issues they face) as “high functioning” and place them on a pedestal, showing how these pillars of autism are almost human in their eyes. They may even employ a few in token positions to make it appear as if they want to help. They could never be a general or commander, though, that would be too much! They should just be happy to be a foot soldier fighting against their fellow autists, and that the gracious Autism Speaks even gave them a gun!

If anyone seeks to call them out on their war, however, they remove the pedestal from below us and use it as a cudgel instead, claiming that they're not really talking about that kind of autist, just the “low functioning” ones that “can't speak for themselves” (Though a great many autists incapable of vocalized speech do quite well using the written word.) However, this division is only made when an autist calls them out. Otherwise, their propaganda is quite happy to include us among the numbers of the growing autistic menace.

Their pieces are “calls to action,” reminding people of the burden we autistic people are to the world, and how much happier the place would be if only we were gone. “I am Autism” painted our neurotype as an enemy, in no uncertain terms declaring war on the way we are. Make no mistake, they want us gone. They just can't say it outright.

Even the fundraising walks themselves are oddly reminiscent of military marches; watching people walk along the streets, to both gain recruits and monetary funds for an organization that uses combative language against us scares me quite deeply.

Then there are the executive salaries. After all, you have to make sure your generals and commanders are well-fed, right? To them, funding the war effort is more important than helping autistic people, and it shows in their fund distributions. Only 4% of their funds go to actual autism services. This is a token effort, done only to create the facade of helping.

Then there is the research they fund, most if not all of which is funding ways for prenatal screening and early detection. They want to find us before we are born or at the very least when we're too young to be a viable threat to their rhetoric. Less soldiers that can join the opposition. And if they can brainwash a few of us to join their side, so much the better. And what better ways to brainwash than conversion therapies such as ABA and outright torture at the Judge Rotenberg Center, both of which the organization happily endorses.

But now, they have once again shown their battle fatigues in a recent “Heroes Among us” article from People Magazine featuring the founding members, Susanne and Bob Wright as the titular heroes. The cover title is “Crusading against Autism.” They're outright using combative language again. They've upgraded it from a simple war to a crusade, even! Now not only are they fighting us, they are showing that they believe their fight is righteous and holy and heroic! They have not backed down from combative language now, but have doubled down. Their actions and fund distribution are warlike. It's time to Boycott Autism Speaks.

I have drafted a petition to People Magazine asking them to publicly apologize for and retract the article. I hope you will sign it.

No comments:

Post a Comment