im beginning to think the whole “calling people out on their bigotry” mentality is the most trivial and least meaningful way of effecting change. tumblrs like yourfaveisproblematic and callingoutbigotry are the epitome of these misguided efforts to end bigotry/problematic behavior/etc. They put far too much emphasis on blaming and shaming and reeducated individuals when the problem is the source of these patterns of problematic/bigoted behaviors. these efforts only disillusion well intentioned people by pointing out trivial instances rather than the overarching patterns. our culture itself is flawed and by existing in this culture, we are all going to be flawed. these tumblrs create the notion that we need to find some kind of celebrity or individual who has never been told to wear a headdress for a photoshoot or has never uttered a slur or internalized any harmful ideas, etc. yeah we should hold our “faves” accountable for their actions and yeah it’s good to recognize bigotry, etc when it happens but i really dont think reeducating individuals is our top priority - and yet it is the issue that gets the most attention because it’s easy.
I agree so hard! Focusing on specific people and screaming at them and treating them like terrible people, while sometimes satisfying, often perpetuates the myth that only shitty people do shitty things. We ALL do shitty things because we’re all influenced by our shitty culture. That’s what needs to be changed. I’m not saying we should let people slide when they are racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist, transphobic or anything, but let’s not make that the FOCUS of our fight against racism, homophobia, misogyny, ableism, or transphobia. They are huge societal problems that we have to counteract with a much bigger mindset than that.
“Never do a job that you don’t love,” is some of the most privileged, classist, shitty advice ever.
Is anyone who runs the yourfaveisproblematic blog non-white, over the age of 23, poor/lower class, or of any of the cultures they are protecting from appropriation and discrimination? I’m totally all for social justice, but y’all little white girls have a huge savior complex and it’s the worst.
(TW: Ableism) Autism Speaks is the most well-known autism charity. They have the most media coverage and are endorsed by many celebrities, but this certainly does not make them a good organization.
- Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.
- Autism Speaks only spends 4% of their budget on “family services”.
- Much of Autism Speaks’ money goes toward research, and much of that research centers on finding a way to eliminate autism, and thus, autistics (which will likely be done through a prenatal test, in the same way that the Down’s Syndrome test is conducted).
- Autism Speaks produces advertisments, small films, etc. about what a burden autistic people are to society.
- Autism Speaks was responsible for “Autism Every Day”, which featured a member of their board talking about contemplating murder-suicide of her daughter in front of her daughter. This has now be removed from Autism Speaks’ Youtube channel.
- Autism Speaks is responsible for the atrocity known as “I am Autism”, a short film produced by the same person who directed the 3rd Harry Potter movie (yes, really) and features an ominous voice saying things like “I am autism…I know where you live…I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined…I will make sure your marriage fails.”
In short, Autism Speaks is part of the problem; they create a stigma that makes it far more difficult for actual autistic people like myself to be heard, to have our opinions matter, and to fall anywhere outside of the “autistic angel” and “screaming, violent, rocking in the corner autistic” stereotypes. In addition, for them, as well as many other organizations (and the media), autism is considered to be a child’s disorder/disability, and you will often hear people say “where are all the adult autistics?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that in the past 5 years or so. The answer to that is simple! We’re right here in front of you. We may have been misdiagnosed as children with learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities and the like when the diagnoses of autism, PDD-NOS and Asperger’s weren’t as precise (or even existent) as they are now. We may not have been diagnosed at all and simply treated as though our difficulties are our own doing. We vary in where we fall on the spectrum, though functioning labels are gross and you shouldn’t use them.
For further reading, here are a few resources about Autism Speaks:
ASAN’s flyer regarding Autism Speaks (this is easily printable and is good for distributing information quickly).
Here are a few other terrible things that Autism Speaks has done recently.
- This woman’s job offer was rescinded after she asked Autism Speaks for accommodations in caring for her autistic son. They refused, and she made necessary accommodations for childcare, but they withdrew her offer anyways.
- Autism Speaks shared the news of Google removing hate speech regarding autistics from Google’s autofill feature, completely erasing any mention of autistic people’s flashblogs having anything to do with the change. It was only after a member of the autism community (and not a parent, but an autistic person themselves) spoke with a reporter about the flashblog and a statement was released to the media that Google decided to make this change.
- Autism Speaks highlighted AAC use, while erasing those those who actually use AAC devices to communicate. The focus was on the caretakers, not on the autistic people themselves. (The attached link has a link to a rebuttal by a nonspeaking autistic person, Amy Sequenzia).
There are a number of corporate partners — big businesses (for the most part) who align themselves with Autism Speaks. This can take many different forms, but in general, you should consider that a purchase to any of these companies may benefit Autism Speaks. The list is as follows (thank you, austryzor):
- ATA Martial Arts
- Bachman Pretzels
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Build A Bear
- Capital One
- Casey’s General Stores
- Continental Accessory
- Dollar General
- Dover International Speedway
- Fashion Bug
- Fox Sports
- Joe’s Crab Shack
- Kid Natural Hero
- Landscape Structures
- Lindt and Sprungli
- Mattress Warehouse
- Med Claims Liaison
- Modell’s Sporting Goods
- Panera Bread
- Pump it Up
- Queens Flowers
- Shoprite Supermarkets
- Sprouts Farmers Markets
- Stadium NEST Fragrances
- Stella & Dot
- The Home Depot
- Total Wine and More
- Toys R Us
- White Castle
Some people have contacted me with requests for what organizations actually do help autistic people. There are a few, in fact, that actually focus on autistic people, and not just autistic children. The final two are actually general disability organizations, and not specific to autism.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is pretty much the best choice.
Edited 3/6/13 to add — someone on my Wordpress blog posted a link to this GIGANTIC resource, bigger than mine here (obviously).
This is really, really interesting and important.
If I have a daughter, she’ll know she deserves better than the world we’re giving her. If I have son, he’ll know he isn’t entitled to the power that the world may want to give him. They’ll both know what they owe each other and themselves. And they will know that each human being is in possession of his or her or hir own body, identity, sexuality, and mind and has jurisdiction over no one else’s. “You are yours, and everyone else belongs to themselves,” I will tell each of them every single day. “You are wonderful and important, but so is everyone else.”