Monday, May 26, 2014

#NotAllAutistics

The #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter is positive, important, and true. Yes, ALL women experience harassment, assumptions of inferiority, belittlement by society.

The #NotAllMen response misses the point. Saying that all women - yes, ALL women - have negative experiences with men does not imply that ALL men are to blame. A man saying "your problem is not MY fault" diminishes the true experience of the women making the complaints; and then he does, indeed, BECOME part of the problem.

In thinking about this weekend's drive-by shooting spree in Santa Barbara, committed by a disturbed young man with tremendous psychological problems and an inflated sense of entitlement, I fear that when people read that he was on the autism spectrum, some might jump to the conclusion that ALL autistics are ticking time bombs, ready to explode in violence.

There's a big difference between a man saying "not ALL of us are like that" and a non-autistic person saying "ALL autistic people are like that;" the former is self-identification, the latter is bigotry.

While the nation has this important conversation about women's right to be human, I pray that this psycho's autism not make life harder for anyone else on the spectrum to be taken seriously or treated with dignity and respect.

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Keep it civil, people.