Thursday, 23 March 2017

On Learning That I'm Part Of An Extremist Group Of Fake-Autistic People

I'm part of several online autism groups.  This post is about one of those groups.  It's run by people I respect and I know quite a few of the members, either from conversations online or from meeting them in what some people call "in real life" as if an online conversation and developed friendship can't be real.  It's not just an autism group though, not now.  Now it includes various conditions and differences and disabilities that would come under the category of "neurodivergent" or "neurodiverse."  It's a group which campaigns for acceptance of all people.  Among the members are autistic people, other neurodivergent people, and people who would be classed as "neurotypical."

This week we got trolled.  Someone joined.  Acted badly.  Left.  And then posted a thirty minute rant on Youtube insulting us all and insulting some of the members in particular.  While doing something else I left his video playing.  He made me cross because of the attacks he was making on people I know to be good people, trying their best to build something of value - something which not so long ago very nearly crashed on the rocks and got shattered into a thousand jagged pieces.

So what did I do?  I wrote some words.  They're rubbish poetry but they're heartfelt.  Now, having written them, I can let go of being cross.  I wouldn't post them here except that I'm still not that well and haven't been able to write the things I want to write.  For today, this is all I have.

Two extremists plotting world domination.  Or perhaps not.

I'm numbered among the extremists;
The radicals who in their words
Lie; hurling slander at all others.
My leaders are evil people
And we, their foolish followers
Have been lobotomised.
We hate science, we censor all debate,
We are the arrogant, deluded thousands
Who stand together in unity
And sometimes agree to stand in disunity.
We're not really autistic at all.
Because if we were autistic
We would see through the extremism
And leave. Not only that,
We wouldn't have been accepted to begin with.
Then, outside the dark citadel of that group
We would find the true Aspergians
The ones whose diagnoses are valid.

That's what I heard today.
However, I don't quite trust my source.
My source has a fixed view of his own rightness
And though many groups have given up
And, exasperated by his ways, thrown him out,
He claims it was never, ever, for trolling.
My source has something interesting to say
About feminism too. He says that people are right
To view it as a cancer.
He wants everything to be in context
Except for the video clips of feminists he posts.
Context is irrelevant. If it wouldn't serve him.
In short, he's as hypocritical as anyone
He may accuse of the same shortcoming.
My source claims that we of our group
Are not the real autistic spectrum people.
We're fakes. We're obviously neurotypical.
And we're trying to replace the real people
With our extremist deception and fakery.
My source says we don't know what we're talking about
Just because we didn't respond to his single question
With the answer he wanted us to give.

But, and this is a big but,
I know people from the group.
I know them to be autistic.
I've met them. Worked with some of them.
Some of them are my friends
I've sat in cafes with them, and tents
And waved sparkling lights with them in the dark.
I've smiled with them and cried with them.
I've even spent three days in a yurt with them
At an international autism conference.
It's safe to say this:
The autistic people among them are autistic.
Actually and undoubtedly and beautifully autistic.
We're fallible, we're faulty,
We're known for our social issues and complexities.
We screw up sometimes, and can fail to see the grey.
We argue and debate and sometimes fall out
Only to make up again when peace breaks out.
And sometimes our mistakes can be whoppers.
I know. I've been as guilty as anyone.
But we're trying our best.
We're not the liability he thinks we are.
We're not a bunch of brain dead radicals
Just because we don't want to discuss
Vaccines and bloody Andrew Wakefield for the
Hundredth time this week.

My source is correct though. In part.
Extremism is dangerous.
If it ran riot then autistic acceptance
Would only be a pipe dream.
I agree, and I share his concern.
It's just, he's pointing in the wrong place.
Perhaps there's nowhere much to point to.
Perhaps that Hell serpent is just a fantasy.
And perhaps, consider this,
He should point to himself, just for a day.
Perhaps we all should, just for a day.
I know I should.

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