You should have. I have been harassing you about it for over a day. Here is information:
Here is the petition again:
If you have not signed it, please do so now. His hearing is in fifteen hours and twenty minutes. If you can, contact the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles at this number:
Or this email address:
Thank you for your time.
The Twitter hashtag for this debacle is #HelpWarren. Sign this petition for the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
So… I’ve had tumblr for a while now and I’ve come to realize that there is a large community of people with disabilities. Many of these people are just normal, everyday people who write about their lives and experiences. However, I’ve also noticed that a significant number of disabled bloggers (I don’t know if that’s what you call yourselves. Frankly, I don’t really care.) are trying to be disabled rights activists or something. These people write about the so called injustices disabled people face on a daily basis, and I’d just like to say that this confuses the hell out of me.
I’ve been in a wheelchair for as long as I can remember. Obviously I’ve been treated somewhat differently; not everyone is immediately comfortable around me, but that’s understandable. What I’ve never experienced, though, is being treated unfairly, or as less than equal. So forgive me, but I don’t really understand where this whole anti-ableism movement is coming from.
Any of these previously mentioned “disabled rights activists” are probably immediately criticizing this post. You all probably think I’m just young and naive, and that I haven’t faced the harsh realities of the real world. Now, while you may be right, I’d like to offer an alternate suggestion. Perhaps the reason you’re all criticizing the able-bodied population is because you’re just angry and you want someone to blame for your troubles. I look forward to your furious replies.
Now, I know this post will probably be controversial and it might offend a lot of people, but that wasn’t my intention at all. It just frustrates me when I read posts about disabled people being complete assholes to the abled. They’re ignorant to our struggles, but that’s not necessarily their fault. I am in favor of spreading awareness of us to better educate the abled population about what we go through. I would just like to do this in a respectful way. We don’t need to create the stereotype that disabled people are jealous assholes.
I don’t mean to belittle what any of you are trying to do for our cause and I am truly sorry if I’ve offended you.
Thanks for reading.
First, drop the air quotes. If your goal is to teach respect, be respectful. Though there is something of ad hominem in this, people will write off wise words unless you practice what you preach. You do not know your audience well enough to be sure air quotes are deserved. I am something of an activist. My elected officials hear from me often. I speak up when instructors say or do something ableist at my college. I have spoken to groups, sat on a conference panel, volunteered, had a disability-related internship, heard speakers, read and written on this topic. I am on the board of my state’s Arc. I plan to make disability rights my career. There may be many others here who could say these things. You do not know. It is difficult to take advice on civility from someone who makes sweeping assumptions and treats the intended audience with disrespect.
The same can be said of your statement that we just want someone to blame for our problems. You know nothing about our problems, whether we have them, what they are. We can use my life as an example again. My problems usually have nothing to do with disability. Blaming able people for them would be silly. They are mostly sleep deprivation and a faulty car. People here have normal problems, difficult parents, bad bosses, housemates who eat their food, needing a job, etc. Some of us face ableism on a daily basis. Others are here out of compassion, concern for our fellow people. Some of us can pass. If we chose, we could live normal lives with these issues rarely intruding. We made conscious decisions to help others, instead. That is the story of a segment of the autistic community.
It is wonderful that you have never been treated as less than equal. That must be a great way to live. I have been treated as subhuman. People like me face that every day. I have in the past. Now, I am safe because I am normal-looking and ask for little. This is not true of everyone like me. Until the murder of children stops, the JRC closes, and the public schools educate every child that walks through their doors, I see a need for activism. Until the unemployment rate for disabled adults falls close to that of the general population, I will bother people. You can choose not to participate. It is your life. That does not give you the right to belittle others for caring. Yes, you did.
TW violence, child-murder, ableism, r-
My mother was infuriated this morning when I used the word “lie.” Someone appeared to be doing just that. She said it was worse than the words I try to censor in my half-hearted attempts to make Traveling Show seem professional. She said I was making a terrible accusation and only God can be the judge. I would love to abandon that word, but too many lies threaten or misrepresent people like me.
The most famous example is below:
Wakefield lied. He apparently had financial motivation. He valued what he thought he would get more than public health. People got sick:
If the lie continues to spread, some will die.
Here is another:
Autism Speaks has finally removed it from their Youtube channel. They hid it instead of apologizing. This is their favorite lie to tell: that autism in all its forms is the worst thing that could ever happen, that any autistic person . They are rumored to have asked the mothers and children to look intentionally disheveled and to have kept those children out of their therapies for the preceding week. Unlike some of you, I will not call words violent. We need a specific term for physical aggression. However, that falsehood stuck in the popular imagination has played into violence. Violence is among its consequences. Autism Speaks perpetuates the “child rocking in a corner” stereotype to raise funds for its vision of a world without us. Some of its members no longer share that vision. We may see better from them in the future, but that is what they have done so far. They perpetuate ideas that are false and damaging to autistic people because they think the end justifies the means. A cure for their children is worth damaging as many other lives as necessary.
The consequent popular perceptions of autistic people are best illustrated by something I observe. I keep track of our dead, those that should be alive. No one seems to get life imprisonment for killing an autistic person. The penalty is five or ten years. Being actively violent somehow makes a negligent homicide charge. Life imprisonment is a civilized version of the death penalty. As applied to murder, it is the law’s way of excluding someone from society because that individual excluded someone else. What does it say about the perceived value of our lives that no one is permanently excluded from society for excluding us? It says what we saw yesterday and the day before when we got a reminder that disability plays into medical decisions.
The stigma against the autism community can be boiled down to two false perceptions:
I will stand up to every instance of false advertising, ignorance, and outright lies that uphold those ideas. They are not violent in and of themselves, but they perpetuate violence, poor educational and career prospects, abuse, and the diversion of money that could have helped us to neo-eugenic organizations. I will not give up a word and concept I use to undercut those things for anyone.
What compels people to become seemingly apolitical Celebrity Autistics?
I cannot for the life of me understand this.
Perhaps because it is best for one’s mental health to be apolitical in certain situations, such as being famous.
True, but I’m wondering…
You just nailed it. For better or worse, many people want to be known. As a tuba player, I see nothing wrong with that. Most of us have egos and ambitions, though only some of us acknowledge it. The problem is that people who want to be famous for anything but activism must be uncontroversial. Fame has always looked to me like popularity on a massive scale. Popularity means not arguing, not making a fuss, and espousing values and ideals considered socially acceptable by a wide market. Being an angry, minority actor, musician, etc. is a great way to get typecast in those roles or written off as too radical to help create mainstream culture. I wish more autistic people who have gained prominence would speak out, but I understand how dangerous it could be to their careers.
Would I seem like a jerk?
If you were civil and avoided obscenities and personal insults, no. Activism sometimes means criticizing people. Go for it.
TW Ableist Language, Discussion of Ableism, Discussion of Trolls, Discussion of Recent Autism Tag Events
It disturbs and angers me when people say ableist things. We have that problem on a daily basis. We would all like to see it diminish. The obvious solution when we run into well-meaning people who say bad things is to correct them gently. Sometimes they get angry, but we occasionally change minds. I saw it happen last week. When we run into real trolls, we need a different approach.
They strike me as people who need more attention than they get in daily life. They seek it by misbehaving. Trolls are amused by outrage. Cursing at them only feeds them. It encourages them to come back. It is natural to be angry when confronted with one, but any emotional reaction increases your chance of seeing them again. There are two effective ways to deal with them:
If you are too angry to engage rationally, ignore the troll. If you need to rant, do it offline. Shouting feels good but encourages the behavior. If someone trolls consistently and it bothers you, block them.
If you feel up to engaging, take a deep breath. Use no obscenities. As autistic people, we are already considered irrational. Our opinions are invalidated by our labels in many prejudiced minds. Anyone who wants to troll you will reblog and declare that you are squalling or raving. Look at what the troll said. Read every word. Stop and take deep breaths as needed. Break it down. See your opponent’s arguments. With what do you disagree? Find specific statements. Can you provide counterexamples or point out a fallacy? If so, do. Use spellcheck. Do the best you can grammatically. Read it over twice before you post. Watch for awkward phrasing. Remove unnecessary words.
The rules of writing have a problematic history on many levels. They also have a history of creating meritocratic environments where achievement matters more than the circumstances of one’s birth. People will take you more seriously if you can demonstrate knowledge of them, right or wrong. This is a good book about it:
Used copies are cheap. Since it is geared toward college students, you might find it at a local thrift store as term ends. Here are other useful resources:
Engaging trolls is sometimes preferable to ignoring them if you can. What if what appears to be a troll is a well-meaning person speaking in ignorance who happens to be abrasive? Besides, engaging occasionally changes someone’s mind. Shouting never does. If you come across as competent, informed, cool headed, and reasonable, some people will respect that. You are under no obligation to be “nice,” especially when someone invades your space. However, civility is the productive choice. “Civil” and “nice” are different things anyway. There are ways to make someone out to be lower than slime mold without cursing or calling names. These are so much more elegant. Here are resources:
I agree with Blinkpink that Manning is an asshat. However, if we speak to him at all, it is more productive to treat him as reasonable in hopes that he becomes so. It is more fun to call him the kind of person who crafts fine sentences about nothing worth reading and is up to date on the latest 19th century ideology.
So I originally created a Tumblr to express feelings and experiences that I could not share with those around me. Things that only someone very close to me or with my condition could understand. Unfortunately a few people with whom I am friends but not close enough to tell these stories or express…
The use of “insane” is problematic. Also, it is “effect,” not “affect.” Otherwise, I love this.
OP: I hope you can take your mask off someday. Being out has been hard but liberating.
Dear Mr. Magro,
This is not an attack or even necessarily a criticism. I have an honest question for you: why do you work with Autism Speaks? I understand what they can give you. I would love the backing of someone with a real website and a budget. It would help me as an activist to have someone’s stamp of approval instead of being a student, a nobody, alone. I gave them a try over the summer on their forums. They were harsher and more prejudiced than I feared. Their stated goal is a world without people like us. Do you want that? Do you think you will do more good with a large organization behind you than you could without help? Do you think you can change them?
Feel free to respond privately. My most-checked email address is already public knowledge in Atlanta. You and your readers had might as well have it, too:
I am logged in on Twitter and Facebook, so you can find me there or on Tumblr at
I will not shout or argue, but I would like an answer,
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker