I have seen many negative representations of autistic people in the media. But lately I have found some that are far worse than those I have seen in the past.
The other day I was wandering around the net when I stumbled across a myspace page with a youtube video of a public service announcement by the group, cure autism now. This PSA was so utterly offensive to me that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. In the begining you have a group of people each saying a portion of the following
"Every 21 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism. Autism is like this. It's like someone sneaks into your house in the middle of the night and takes your baby's mind and personality and leaves their bewildered body behind. If a child was actually being kidnapped every 21 minutes. We'd have a national emergency. We do. it's called autism."
Here is the offending . video
The only word to describe that video is dehumanizing. It makes it seem like Autistic people have no mind or personality. Anyone who has taken the time to get to know someone with Autism knows full well that we have a mind and personality. Livestock handling equipment designed by Dr.Temple Grandin is found in 2/3's of the livestock handling facilities in the US. Thats pretty impressive for someone with "no mind". If you couldn't tell I was being sarcastic.
The kidnapping theme is also present in a new campaign called the "ransom notes" campaign. This is a new campaign by the NYU Child Study Center. The campaign will be a series of ads on billboards, kiosks, magazines and online. The ads show a picture of a ransom note signed by Autism, Asperger syndrome or ADHD.
The Asperger's ad has a note that reads "We have your son. we are destroying his ability for social interaction and driving him into a life of social isolation. It's up to you now. [signed] Asperger Syndrome"
The ads for Autism and ADHD are equally as vile. You can read more about it here
We need to let people know just how offended we are by these sorts of depictions of disabilities. We need to let the people making these ads know just how offended we are. If we see the ad on a kiosk at the mall we need to notify the management of the mall about how offended we are. We should also get a petition going to get the ads removed from such places. If we see the ads in a newspaper or magazine we need to write a letter to the editor expressing or opinions of the ads. We need to educate the general public about disabilities so people can understand why we find such things so offensive.
We must not sit back idly while people without disabilities are promoting dehumanizing messages about us, just to get people to donate money to their organization.
[rant mode on]
I am sick and tired of all the pity and fear mongering used by autism groups to elicit donations. These groups aren't interested in helping us. They want to wipe us off the face of the planet. But people happily give them their money to "help" people with Autism. Supporting eugenics and genocide does NOT help us. If an organization were funding a "cure" for blackness, how many people would donate money to help "those poor people with blackness"? NO there would be a national outrage if such things were to happen. Groups like the NAACP have been fighting for years against stereotypes of african americans in the media. But stereotypes of people with Autism and other disabilities are still fair game. It's time we rise up against our oppressors. We need to make it clear to them that they can no longer exploit us for their gain. No more Jerry Lewis telethons! No more fear mongering autism PSA's! No more pitiful depictions of people with disabilities!
[we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog]
So please send a letter or email or something to the NYU Child Study Center. Their contact info is in the link above.
9 months ago