Well, here we are again...you're back on your bullshit, aren't you?
It's 2018, and I was hoping that in the PC culture of modern America, most terrible things in America would've gone away. Unfortunately, none of this has happened. I am happy to see people openly speaking out against racism and homophobia, and practicing what they preach. Unfortunately, there is one area where society is lacking, and that's with individuals who have disabilities.
I could write an entire thesis on why using the "R-word" to describe an individual with disabilities is as bad as using the "N-word" to describe African Americans, but that's not what I'm focusing on here. I'm focusing on society and our stigmatization of individuals with autism. And I'm here to beg you, PLEASE STOP.
When it comes to individuals with disabilities, many people think of people with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is considered by many as the "cute" disability. Don't get me wrong, it's well known my connection to people with Down Syndrome, and this is in no way trying to delegitimize their feelings or the feelings of their parents. What I am saying is that people who have autism don't get this kind of love, and are often avoided by their peers.
See, the problem is that people don't seem to understand the impact they have on people with disabilities. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is exactly what it sounds like, a spectrum. Many people have different variations of autism, no one case is ever the same. So when you know someone has autism, you cannot categorize them in a monolith (a large and impersonal political, corporate, or social structure regarded as intractably indivisible and uniform).
When people think of autism, they usually think of one of two things. They usually think of Rain Man, someone who is socially awkward and has an amazing memory who can cheat a casino. The second, someone who is violent and throws tantrums in the grocery store. The danger with these stereotypes is that you are placing unique individuals in a stereotypical place. And for all the people who think I'm "overreacting" or that I need to learn "how to take a joke", check out these "lovely" products of the internet.
So yeah, after seeing these, believe me, this is the most rational response I can give. Individuals with autism are bright, friendly, and amazing individuals. They possess so much potential and have so much to offer the world, yet people don't see that, and often exploit their vulnerability. Children with ASD are often isolated and bullied by their peers, and this leads to a lack of social interaction. A student in Florida by the name of Jesse Snodgrass was tricked by undercover police to buy marijuana, and they arrested him as a dealer. Besides this being an obvious case of entrapment, this officer exploited the innocence of a student who was craving social interaction, and more importantly, a friend. Before anyone gets upset, this is in no way implicating that all police officers are bad.
If you take anything away from this article, remember this. Individuals with autism are people too! They have feelings, they are someone's child, sibling, relative, someone's friend! Shows like 'Atypical' on Netflix are an important representation and person-first language is so important! Please, stop going after people who are marginalized just because you think it's funny!