I have noticed recently, whilst on social networking, that there’s a lot that this grumpy 40-odd-year old Autistic guy doesn’t understand .. and some things that I frankly never will.
The first of these is what I guess is classed as ‘politically correct’ language. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no dinosaur stuck in days gone by when certain words were acceptable, but are now deemed offensive. I understand the evolution of language and that the fast-paced world that we live in is always trying to improve… and I agree with that philosophy wholeheartedly.
However, I’m constantly being told I’ve used the wrong term, pronoun, etc and that I should be ashamed of myself, or that I’ve offended someone or I haven’t put a “trigger warning” on something and I struggle to understand why what I’ve written has offended someone. I would never want to hurt or upset anyone, ever, and I always try to get it right, but I fail sometimes.
It seems that the small minority of people are desperately searching for something to be offended by. I know there are trolls out there who take great pleasure in upsetting people, but I certainly don’t and I don’t think the majority do. I think that most people are like me … not trying to offend at all and having very good intentions behind our posts, memes, etc. I try hard to keep up with these things, but it seems the goalposts keep shifting.
So, please, before you start tearing into me online for something, stop and think to yourself. If you have truly been offended or hurt by something I’ve said, why not just be polite and explain what the issue is? Help me to see where I went wrong, instead of bawling out insults and being rude to me. Just because I’m Autistic, doesn’t meant your words won’t hurt me.
Education achieves so much more than rudeness, and people are more likely to respond to that than someone turning the caps lock on and ranting over a simple mistake. After all, can each of us say we’ve never made a mistake? I make them honestly and regularly.
The second thing I’m noticing online, is the fact that the Autistic Community seems to be very divided and almost in a constant state of civil war. Should we not try to find those things that bind us and try as a neurodiverse tribe to stand together, shoulder to shoulder? Lifting each other up instead of putting them down is so much more productive. It’s just my humble opinion, but I think we could achieve more together with strength in numbers to figure out how best to raise awareness about harmful practises, and damaging concepts like ABA therapy, and organisations like Autism Speaks, etc.
Of course, this is just the wishful thinking of one middle-aged man who has seen his fair share of conflict and just wants an easier life. I can but dream, eh?
Stay Safe X