So for some reason I was torturing myself by reading the blogs of a bunch of curebies (I know that curebies is kind of a rude word and I try to be more civil, but I don't know what else to call them). They were talking about how they think Ari Ne'eman doesn't care about individuals with severe ASD.
I disagree, and have said so in previous posts, but that's not really the point. Nothing very exciting was happening. Then, one of the people who was listing Ari's supposed views linked to another website. I clicked on the link, expecting it to be some sort of statement he'd made that had offended them.
However, it was actually this: http://www.asperger-advice.com/asperger-syndrome-behavior.html
Get it? Ari is inherently incapable of understanding other people's feelings! That's why he has the wrong opinions. Because he simply doesn't understand that other people feel bad, and if he could just understand feelings like normal people do, he would have the right opinions.
This is sort of a refreshing break from people who claim that he's not really autistic. Except, it's actually not, because it's a fucking giant piece of hateful bullshit! I should mention that this isn't really about Ari or anyone in particular. It's just a fucking terribly stupid thing to say.
I mean, first, the obvious: this isn't what the ASD "lack of empathy" is about. I don't pretend to know exactly what it is, but here are some ways of thinking about it. (I don't agree with all of these, but I'm trying to be exhaustive.)
1. people with ASD can't read other people's body language instinctively so we don't notice other people's emotions as much
2. people with ASD think about things differently from normal people so we don't have as good a sense of what to expect as they do with each other
3. people with ASD are really overwhelmed by a bunch of stuff and don't have as much energy/processing ability to spare figuring out other people's feelings and reacting to them
4. people with ASD notice things about other people, but we don't always notice the "relevant" thing (remember the Square 8 post where Bev realized that someone was upset because the person's clothes were messy, but no one else noticed because her body language seemed normal?)
5. people with ASD don't understand that other people don't all know the same things we know
6. some combination of the above
So, absolutely none of these characterizations of ASD empathy impairment have anything to do with not caring about people, or not understanding/caring that someone else is upset if you are explicitly told that they are upset. So, what the fuck is this person talking about?
Basically nothing. Basically trying to figure out another way to say that Ari (or insert name here) doesn't have a right to speak.
I'm just going to say something: I don't care about your fucking feelings. Don't you think that I, for example, also have feelings? Lots of people have feelings but only privileged people get to spend four hundred million hours talking about them. If you have a kid who fucking has seizures and bites himself, you know who everyone is supposed to feel sorry for? That's right. You. Not the person who is in actual physical pain and probably feeling terribly overloaded all the time.
People with disabilities are never expected to feel as bad as the people around us. This is why people get away with saying really fucked-up things about their disabled relatives, and even abusing or killing us. Because their feelings are such a huge deal that they totally trump the actual real things that happened to the disabled person.
The funny thing is, I actually have plenty of doom-and-gloom views about ASD and disability in general. I don't think ASD makes me special. I'd rather not have it. I think lots of other ASD people would rather not have it too. But since I'm an actual person with ASD, if I just sat around thinking about how it isn't all that great, I'd become really depressed and useless because it's my entire life and it will never not be there. (By "my entire life" I don't mean that ASD is my only notable quality--I mean that I've never lived without ASD, and I never will, unlike family members of people with ASD who claim to "have autism" or "live with autism").
So, instead of just being like "feelings feelings feelings feelings feelings," I try to look at all the interesting and meaningful aspects of having a disability, and I try to learn about and help other disabled people, and teach and be helped by them. I feel like when I do this it becomes one of the coolest parts of being alive and then I maybe understand why God made me disabled in the first place.
I sort of went off on a tangent and I apologize because I was trying to talk about the really screwed-up "you just think that because you don't have empathy" tack. But this just makes me so upset because it seems to tap into the whole thing about how important feelings (usually non-disabled people's feelings) supposedly are. I'm sure Ari has feelings too, but he doesn't feel the need to spew them all over the place like you do, and he has the grace to say "I disagree with you" instead of "People who don't have autism are incapable of understanding logic," or whatever.