On the advice of my husband, yes, the John of HollylovesJohn, I’m reposting my recent facebook rant here for perpetuity.
It came about because a very cool person that I follow put up a petition to stop Target from selling blue pumpkin bins for Halloween.
It’s a recent thing that originally derived from the Allergy Free Teal pumpkins, someone wanted to use Blue pumpkins to signify Autistic children. (Who also have dietary restrictions, but that’s a whole other thing.) They thought it might help when someone insists that it’s good manners to say, “Trick or Treat.” When in fact, the trick-or-treater may be non-verbal. It’s a non-verbal cue to Non-autistics to be cool, essentially.
SLP’s and behaviorists will often give out Picture Exchange Commincation cards (PEC) at this time to help with this issue as well. They are about the size of a business card and will have “Trick or Treat” with a pictograph representing the action of trick or treating. In case you get any of those in future Halloweens.
It’s just another thing to help, PEC or blue pumpkin. But for some in the community the blue reminds them too much of “light it up Blue” which speaks to the gender issues in diagnosis, and Autism Speaks itself. A corporate charity which has a lot of problems… That’s a whole other article. I swear, one day I will get to Austism Speaks. Hopefully, when they have done something spectacularly good for the community. So, it might be a while.
Anyway, here’s the rant in all its glory:
“I have a “no flame wars” policy when it comes to the internet. So I deleted a comment that I thought could be inflammatory on someone else’s petition to stop Target from selling Blue pumpkins because of the gendered implications and the connection to Autism Speaks.
I do not like Autism Speaks. And as a late diagnosed adult autistic woman, you can bet it annoys me that being a woman is one of the main reasons I deal with skepticism all the time. That being said. I am super sick of the devisive litmus test that we keep putting on each other.
“Are you wearing blue, do you like the puzzle piece symbol? You must also like eugenics, then. It’s such an OBVIOUS correlation, right?” No.
I can respect that people have trauma with many of these things. Whether that comes from being emotionally [or physically] wounded by well meaning parents [and therapies,] or being inhibited and ostrasicized by the world. This is such a common experience for our community that I have not met one austistic adult that didn’t have some form of trauma. But this litmust test prejudice has gone so far out of just our community and is tearing the world apart.
I don’t think it is a new concept. I think tribalism has always been apart of us. But with the application of politics and capitalism, it is literally leading to deaths in the street. Deaths.
Like I said, this is not new. It’s a pattern that appears over and over again. In Germany, they had Romanticism that led to free love and harmony for generations, acceptance of transgendered people, sexual revolution, abolition and every liberal idea that you have ever thought of as progessive and modern. The backlash of divisive facism and corruption led to both World Wars. I don’t need to cite anything on this because the information is readily available. Go look it up.
(And I am not saying that the Romanticism didn’t have it’s biases and flaws. It did. It just didn’t kill millions of people because they felt inferior. Again, look it up.)
I love my communities: the gay community, the autistic community, the midwest, and even the United States of America, despite its problems. Not to mention, the nerd community– I wish we were a utopia but we aren’t. We are the home of the in-cels… digression.
Look, I’m just “facebook official” disgusted by man’s inability to deal with its own fears and biases. And that comes from someone with a lot of fears, biases, and sensory issues. The light literally causes me to recoil due to my visual hyperacuity. I can hear electricty ALL THE TIME. [I technically also have a really big problem with smells. They will ruin my life if I don’t do something about it asap.] These things have caused me to be angry and afraid, literally my whole life. Because of this I have had to become incredibly self aware. To know why I feel what I feel at all times.
What is the rest of the world’s excuse? Why must you cling to an idea of what’s right because it “feels good” to you? “Knowing what is right becuase you feel it.” That is literally bias. That is literally tribalism. You are choosing acceptance, and the coddling of your own fears and doubts over your fellow man. Literally, everone is doing this. Republican, Democrat, Gay, straight, religious, secular. We’re all doing it.
We’re so concerned with finding our own people that we are literally dismissing and killing our brother to do it. We are stepping on the necks of other people just to feel comfortable in our righteousness. It’s disgusting.
If you made it this far. It’s probably becuase you too feel like you are shouting in the wind. This is not an “agree to disagree and let’s all be friends” request posting. That’s ridiculous. This is “we’re all wrong, and none of us are right. Not until we accept facts over feelings and identity.”
It’s hard to do what I am suggesting. We are biologically hardwired to find our own, for protection and love. Our communities and our tribes are our empathetic herds that understand us. And all of that is fine until you decide to preemptivetly destroy the rights and lives of another tribe because they make you uncomfortable.
I know. All of this over a blue plastic pumpkin. I just can’t stand back and watch us all be manipulated by our own pyschology, not anymore. Be better. Be more self aware. And finally, Nazis are always bad. We should all be able to agree on this.
Has Indiana Jones taught you nothing, people?”
Then in the comments, an old friend bravely admitted that she had no idea what I was talking about when it came to the blue pumpkin controversy. I say “brave” in all sincerety, because people will jump on you for not knowing something they consider to be important. Despite the fact that you live completely different lives, with different prioroties. To me, asking a genuine question is always preffered to a dismisal. So seriously, good on her. And everyone else should follow suit.
Here’s how I explained it to her:
“Teal pumpkins are for the allergy friendly candy. Someone saw that and decided to use blue pumpkins so their adult autistic son could go trick or treating without people treating him like a deviant or a threat of some kind. I’m totally cool with it. I bought three for anyone else in the autistic community that needs one and can’t find it. My son and I use one year round. Because it doesn’t matter to us. It’s just a blue pumpkin. If it helps anyone to be less of a douche to my son, I’m happy about it. There should be less douchebags in general.
The problem that part of the community has is actually with the catch phrase, “Light it up Blue.” Autism speaks has been using this for a long time. It is in reference to the fact that it was thought only boys could get autism. [Boys, not men. Still insinuating that this is a childhood disease that you can grow out of.]
Then there is the issue that Autism Speaks has supported seriously questionable statements and ironically refuses to listen to Autistic people. [The one Autistic board member that they hired to appease the community had to quit because no one would listen to him.] The best example I can give, is when Trump supporters say “MAGA” at liberals. It’s just a dog whistle for some folks.
[Sidenote: I don’t know what bothers me more about this. The fact that the president’s catchphrase has been reduced to an acronym, or the implication that America was better when everyone “abormal” or “brown” was oppressed. It’s a toss up but I’m probably still gonna have to stick with the latter.]
There is a long and sordid history of abuse in the autistic and mental health community, this [also] isn’t new. But as the perameters for diagnosis are becoming more sophisticated, communication should be better between activists and parents but it just isn’t. Because of greed, prejudice, and righteous indignation. Again, nothing new.
I’m just super sick of it […] sick of cancel culture and the bloodthirsty want for conflict where there shouldn’t be conflict. It’s annoying the crap out of me.
Legit. As an autistic person, I cannot handle it. So, the irony is palpable on this one.”
She was very cool about my answer, if you are curious. And many others were super supportive. And I by no means want to rag on anyone that is offended by the blue pumpkins.
I once went on a rage bender about the song “Jesus Take the Wheel”. I found it irresponsible and offensive as a midwesterner. Everyone knows that you turn into the skid. You don’t let Jesus take care of your baby in the back seat. You take the hit yourself if you have to. Sheesh, Carrie Underwood. The buck stops with you. Not Jesus. Especially when you’re highway driving.
… That was weird… I know…
Ok. Maybe I am not not over that one yet, either. And I would like to publicly apologize to my Border’s bookstore co-workers who had to listen to me bitch about that song everytime it got played over the PA. Turn into the skid, Carrie. Turn into the skid.
Oh, and John was right. This did make a good post. Also, I’m pretty sure I get wife points by publicly declaring it. He’s not always right though. Just so I don’t loose my brat “you’re not the boss of me” card in the same paragraph.
I’m getting silly. I need to sign off and go clean my house. Put up some drywall. All that good stuff.
Be kind to each other. Be self aware. Know yourself and your biases. And turn into the skid.