7.27.2016

Rolling Stone: Your Dehumanization of Autistic People IS The Problem

Rolling Stone just published a completely dehumanizing mainstream article about autistic people. Even worse, the article was written by a parent of a high-support autistic young man, and was given the title "Luke's Best Chance: One Man's Fight for His Autistic Son" -- as if the author is his son's champion, when in fact the father is exposing Luke's most vulnerable moments, with little to no understanding or accommodation of his disabilities. And, of course, the obligatory quotes from Alison Singer and Jill Escher about how autistic people need to be housed in group settings for their own safety, as if the autistic self-advocates who fight for desegregated housing don't care about safety as well as rights.

I am, as you might guess, furious that this kind of writing is passed off as brave, honest, and necessary. Not only does it strip people like my (also high-support) son Leo of both their rights and dignity, by depicting them as problematic subhumans instead of addressing the real crisis in the supports and services that both autistic people and their families deserve -- but this kind of ableism perpetuates the kind of socially-enabled violence that led the the murders of nearly 20 people with disabilities in Japan just days ago, as Lydia Brown reminds us:
"Ableism is the constant apologetics for family members and caregivers who murder their disabled relatives -- they must have had it so hard, it must have been such a burden, you musn't judge unless you've walked in their shoes. (In the last few decades, more than 400 disabled people were murdered by relatives or caregivers, and those are only the stories we know about.)"
Here are some thoughts from me and other people on Twitter about the harmfulness of the article. If you feel the same way, please let Rolling Stone know.

3 comments:

  1. "And, of course, the obligatory quotes from Alison Singer and Jill Escher about how autistic people need to be housed in group settings for their own safety, as if the autistic self-advocates who fight for desegregated housing don't care about safety as well as rights."

    The grand irony being that congregate settings like institutions and group homes are VASTLY more dangerous to disabled people than supported community living is.

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  2. This makes me sick to read such an article.

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  3. This makes me sick to read such an article.

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Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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