Friday, October 21, 2016

Guest Post: Negative Stereotypes of Autism

Well folks, today's post is something different.  I am the husband of the lovely lady who usually posts blogs on here.  As you may have heard, I do have a form of autism, which seems to still have quite a negative stigma to this day.  Just recently, a movie came out with a main character on the autism specturm.

Since this character has nothing seriously negative and is, in fact, very calculating like a supercomputer, the reviewer seems just a tad disappointed.  Here are some excerpts from Kansas City Star's review of the movie "The Accountant", which I have screen captured in case it ever gets taken down, and also copied and pasted so our blind readers can hear the excerpts as well.

A killer with autism.

How has it taken Hollywood this long to glom onto such an awesome concept?

Consider: An efficient, ruthless assassin whose singular type of Asperger-ish condition means he won’t empathize with his targets no matter how much they beg. A stoic largely immune to crippling emotions like guilt. A wrecking machine who can pass for civil but at heart cannot create lasting attachments. An obsessive who, once he has started a job, is driven to finish it.

I’d pay to see that movie.

Unfortunately, that movie isn’t “The Accountant.”

Well, isn't this interesting.  According to this lovely review, anyone on the spectrum can't be capable of empathizing with anyone or anything.  I wonder how this person came to this conclusion?  Did he happen to catch an episode of a crime show that had an autistic antagonist who acted exactly as he described?  I mean if one person does it, all people who are in that group must be the same!

This way of thinking about anything be it race, religion, disability, etc., is always wrong.  It would be like me saying the person who reviewed this must hate almost everything, because some reviewers only complain about everything they see.  This still would not be the right thing to say.  I have no idea why people even think this way today, but I'm getting off track.  Back to the autism spectrum issues at hand here.

They go on to say anyone on the spectrum would not be able to get attached very long to anyone.  Well, sorry to disappoint you there.  I've been married to the same woman for almost 10 years now, and I definitely want to be with her as long as humanly possible.  Why?  Because I love everything about her, from the way she smiles to the cheesy running jokes we have together.  Gosh, I'm sorry there, reviewer.  I just can't help myself.

I know, I know, I should be in a cold, dark room, alone at all times, jealous of anyone who is happy, right?  Wrong.  Everyone deserves to be happy as long as they don't hurt anyone.  Calling us cold and machine-like is dehumanizing, which in all instances is just wrong.

Now I'm certainly not perfect.  I have my own stuff that I struggle with on almost a daily basis.  I get through it though, thanks to the support of my wife and not letting myself succumb to anything that tries to dampen my day.  There are of course, variations on how much people might struggle.  Just like any disability/neurodivergence really.

So how do I feel about these assumptions he has made?  Well when I first read it, I cringed pretty bad.  Honestly I don't know how something so insensitive could have even been published to begin with.  In the end, what I'm trying to say is no matter what you're discussing, you shouldn't assume one equals all.  Are there some people like what he has described?  Sadly, yes.  But they are certainly not the majority.

And do you want to know a little secret?  There are people like that who don't have autism, they could just be a horrible person at heart.  In conclusion,  I leave you with this ironic line that was in the middle of said review:
READ MORE: How filmmakers tried to be sensitive to autistic people

Well, at least someone tried to be.  Maybe you could learn something?
Jennifer's Note:  I have tweeted and commented on the review, so have others.  As of this post, nothing has been changed and no one has been addressed.  While I can contribute the comments made to ignorance, being unwilling to listen and educate yourself is when ignorance becomes ableism and bigotry.

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