Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ignorance is Fear

“Fear always springs from ignorance.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Okay, I'm trying to be rational about this, but I don't know how successful I will be. I envision this blog to be about love and tolerance and understanding. However, when I read THIS LITTLE NUGGET, I feel the spirit of David Banner building inside and I am struggling not to let out all of its rage because, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry..."

So, this Dave Bry comments on the recent discussions by the American Psychiatric Association on revising the

DSM-IV (aka: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 4) to DSM-V, which may put Asperger's Syndrome under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders. That means that everyone who had received a diagnosis of Asperger's or PDD-NOS, or autism may have this blanket diagnosis, regardless of how high or low they are functioning. But that is not what has me all riled up.

First, the title of his post: "Asperger's Syndrome to become obsolete. Finally!"

Second: "And two, more obviously, because Asperger's is about the worst name anyone could ever have come up with for a group of people defined primarily by a wide spectrum of social awkwardness."

And then, his readers and their comments:
Bucko comments:
2:59 PM Reply

Bucko [#1599]

Re: the wider issue, this is just prelude to having every single person taking drugs for autism since we’re all going to be diagnosed as having it at some level or another

Withelectrolytes comments:
withelectrolytes [#218]

The explosion in autism has got to be a result of increasing probability that two parents with a genetic type that disposes them to both middle-class status and autism–by equipping them to succeed at knowledge/tech jobs–will reproduce. This must be in part the result of increased economic pressures that require both parents to be employed full-time. It would also be fed by the fact that women now attain college and graduate training on par with men, which in turn increases the likelihood that parents with superior cognitive abilities will meet and reproduce. This latter phenomenon is economic oppression masquerading as a triumph of feminism. Add autism to the list of pathologies that follows from late capitalism. The only solution is to go gay or to reproduce with the stupid."

Alright, I know Dave is full of witty repartee, but I think his snarkiness blinds him to the fact that he's making fun of disabled people, and it's NOT funny. It's never funny. And this I love, "(autism is) defined primarily by a wide spectrum of social awkwardness." So is puberty. So is walking into a bar and trying to chat up people. You don't have to be autistic to be socially awkward. That comes with the territory. And I would LOVE to leave you with some of my autistic kids for ONE day and we'll see how socially awkward you are.

Bucko says that all autistic people will be taking drugs at some point and we'll all be diagnosed with it eventually.
Not all autistic people take drugs. Not all non autistic people take drugs. You just can't get your doctor or psychatrist to write you a script. There are lots of steps involved in that process. And you, dear Bucko, will not be diagnosed because you are ignorant. Ignorant to the facts, ignorant to how it is diagnosed. You don't deserve to have it because you don't have the stones to be autistic.

Withelectrolytes blames autism on successful and intelligent parents who reproduce. If that was the case then over 60% of American families could have autistic children. If all parents went over all the genetic ramifications of co-mingling their DNA, we would never have children. And if you "procreate with the stupid", then look who's talking, pal.

Parents don't ever want to be told their children have something wrong, no matter how slight. We all want our children who do everything according to the range of development they are in. We never asked for this. No parent does. And to insinuate that we did because we are intelligent or some other inane reason?  You are an ignorant tool.

I try not to rant too much and I don't want to be one who is bitter or angry. But, I have learned that there are still bullies in this world, and bullies are created out of fear. And that fear is what they do not know or do not understand, which scares them and therefore, they lash out. I, too, lash out with my trying to understand their ignorance. After over 6 million years of human evolution, we continue to throw rocks and attack that which which is unfamiliar and strange; when we should be trying to open up, be tolerant and understand what makes us who we are. For the adage goes, "Once you've met an Aspie, you've only met one Aspie...."


  1. The more I work with people with "disabilities," the more I understand that, in some ways, it's a useless categorization. EVERYONE has things they do very well. EVERYONE has things they don't do so well. One gal here has spastic quadraplegia and it takes some work to understand her speech. But it's worth the effort, because she's one of the wittiest, sweetest, most life-loving people I've ever met. I wish people didn't have that knee-jerk fear reaction to the unfamiliar, but I worry that it's hard-wired into our systems.

  2. Do I hear the chant? Why yes I think I do... " d-bag, d-bag...." Ridiculous. I hope you send a letter or a phone call and set him straight!

  3. @stephmdsc: I agree that the instinct to react with anger over something you fear is very hardwired into us. The fight/flight instinct is still a very primative and on the surface system that we need to deal with as individuals.

    @ meredith: I adore you because you speak the truth. Word up and Donkey up! :)