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Featured Invalidating autistic freedom of speech

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by RosaViolet, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    Just saw This on Twitter.

    This made me think how easily autistic people could be dismissed and invalidated.

    This is the point I wanted to discussed. This thread is not about climate or campaigning, or whether anyone agrees with the campaign. It is about attacks on the messenger based entirely on autism. What do you think?

    Lettre de Human Rights Watch à l’Express en réponse à la tribune de Laurent Alexandre sur Greta Thunberg
    Below is google translate

    Letter from Human Rights Watch to the Express in response to Laurent Alexandre's tribute on Greta Thunberg

    Madam Director of Writing,

    Human Rights Watch wishes to respond to the podium Laurent Alexander entitled "Greta Thunberg, or decade Marketing Success", published in the edition of the Express of 3 April 2019. Kindly bring the following reply to knowledge of your readers.

    As a human rights organization, we consider that Laurent Alexandre's comments on Greta Thunberg's disability are discriminatory and risk legitimizing prejudices that are extremely damaging to the rights of people with disabilities. By denigrating the young Swede's commitment because of her autism, the author attacks people with disabilities and their recognition as full-fledged citizens with an important role to play in societal issues. .

    Laurent Alexandre defends a conception of Asperger's Syndrome dating back to the 1940s to discredit Greta Thunberg as a "manipulated victim" with "egocentric commitment" and "naive discourse", and demonstrates an outdated view of disability. This is all the more regrettable on the part of a doctor. As reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with disabilities are today considered to be subjects with the same rights as others and members of society in their own right, not passive objects of care entirely defined by a medical diagnosis.

    Focusing on autism Greta Thunberg also reveals a simplistic and reductive vision of the identity of people with disabilities, yet as complex as everyone else. The Asperger's syndrome of the young Swede is only one of the many facets of her personality. People with disabilities are women and men, parents, friends, employees, entrepreneurs, consumers, community members. And sometimes, no offense to Laurent Alexandre, advocates of the environment mobilizing huge crowds by the force of their words and their convictions.

    It is estimated that people with disabilities represent about fifteen percent of the world's population. It is as much energy, courage and ideas that a debate as important as climate change can not afford to do without.

    Especially since the message of Greta Thunberg is far from being unfounded: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the reference authority for climate science, also supports that lack of urgent action, a human and ecological disaster awaits us. According to its recent report , a global warming of more than 1.5 ° C would lead to a dramatic increase in heat waves and rising water levels, affecting millions of people. The stakes are high for young people, who will be most affected by these changes. They have every legitimacy to demonstrate and make their voices heard.

    By deciding to target Greta Thunberg's autism to try to disqualify her speech, Laurent Alexandre harms all people with disabilities. Incidentally, it is his own credibility as a doctor who takes a hit.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  2. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    That letter from Human Right Watch as a response to the following article
    Greta Thunberg, le coup marketing de la décennie

    Greta Thunberg of course is the autistic school girl shortlisted for Nobel prize for her leading the climate campaign.

    Amongst other disgusting cliche used by autism hate organisations there is an attack on the young girls face, because it looks autistic and the assertion that she is 'absent', i.e. not there in spite of her very evident active presence.

    'However, the muse of the climate warriors Greta Thunberg only rolls for herself: her commitment is egocentric. Her psychic fragility is visible on her face: it shows no empathy and her neurological structure imprisons her in a disturbing absence. Hans Asperger, describing the syndrome in 1941, had already noted that patients have little friendship, lack of empathy and a sense of humor, which explains why they do not look at their interlocutors in the eyes, have a gesture poor and have an expressionless face. They sink into what Hans Asperger called "egocentric preoccupations". '
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member

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    Being interested in the environment, I was aware of Greta, but did not know she was on the spectrum till reading this. Very proud of her.

    4889.jpg

    Laurent Alexander on the other hand sounds like he just walked out of one of the darker corners of the 1940's.
     
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  4. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Greta is an example to us all, autistic and allistic alike.
     
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  5. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    Ick. That's pretty much the only thing I can muster about that dude's inane BS. He's so wildly misinformed, arrogant, ableist, ignorant, and seemingly threatened by such an intelligent and influential young girl.
     
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  6. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    Yes. But this is the case when autism was weaponised in the political campaign against climate action activists to invalidate their voices.

    I am not sure this is a case of being misinformed, the doctor was speaking on behalf of the right wing ('liberal' in French parlance) climate denial lobby.

    But this astonishingly regressive view was published in one of leading European magazines in a progressive country generally committed to human rights, because in spite of seeming advances in awareness, the acceptance of autism is wafer thin.

    The visceral prejudices and stereotypes in society about unfitness and inferiority of people with 'neuropsychiatric' conditions are used by interest groups (climate change denial lobby in this case) to weaponize autism against the actions and rights of autistic people.

    The fact it was published shows the gap between rhetoric about autism equality and actions. No publication would dare invalidate campaigners based on race, religion or sexual orientation in the similar way. The publishing house and the public failed to recognise the attack on universal human rights of disabled people, their authonony, the recognition that their views are valid and their own.

    It also shows that charlatans are believed and given platform under guise of 'expertise' to effectively strip autistic people of their human rights and no platform them.

    The very awareness of autism is used to channel known stereotypes about lack of empathy and 'fragility' to assert that autistic people's perspectives and contributions are invalid and irrelevant because they are defective and not their own.

    That's why all the discourse suggesting or accepting that
    • autistic people lack human qualities like emotions, empathy, judgement, understanding
    • that autistic perspectives are warped or defective
    • that autistic people are selfish and self absorbed
    • that autistic people are immature objects of caregiving by the 'responsible' NT family members,
    • that NT people are better entitled to form opinions and speak
    is a potential argument for taking away the agency and autonomy of autistic people.
     
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Incredibly disheartening to read, and l feel another female is being duct-taped and figuratively speaking, raped of her rights to speak freely without judgement.
     
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  8. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    OK I went back to the article and saw that it was actually written by the guy! I missed that the first time. I googled him and apparently he has a weekly column in the magazine.

    That is just atrocious, and really troubling.
     
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  9. oregano

    oregano Jefferson Republic, future resident

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    Greta may be somewhat naive, but that is far more likely due to being a teenager than being autistic. The truth is, "activists" never make any meaningful change, they're paraded about and then shoved in a corner and the powerful go about business as usual.

    That does not mean that she is "wrong" or that her opinion has any less merit because of things she has no control over (being autistic, being young, being naive, etc) but that she's heading for an inevitable letdown when she realizes that all of this was for nothing. That's the sad part, she really believes that she is going to change the world, but she won't, and she'll always have to live with that.

    Some kids like her in America wind up with lengthy criminal records from various acts of "civil disobedience" and then realize that they're 30 and not only did they not change the world, but that they destroyed their futures in the pursuit of a mirage. Greta doesn't seem to be headed to that dark place, fortunately, but she will always have to contend with her future prospective employers googling her name. (Unless, of course, climate change winds up destroying civilization first.)

    This particular attacker, however, is focused on trying to discredit her by using stereotypes about autistics. In his view, Greta can be dismissed because she is autistic, not due to any errors in her specific arguments. Americans call this "ad hominem fallacy"-discrediting a person's argument by attacking them as a person.
     
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  10. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The article is not free you have to pay a subscription to le figaro magasine in order to read it.

    The author made another article about a similar topic.

    Laurent Alexandre: «Greta Thunberg est instrumentalisée par des militants extrémistes»

    He says that parents shouldnt have the right to make public an autism diagnostism of their kid , it should be their rights and doing so should be illegal.
    He says that autistic individuals have great potential but also always are in a certain need of protection.

    And then he goes on with his own political point of view, and to be fair I also think that this hype around Greta is absolutly terrible and somehow it shows everything wrong in the west.

    Her parents and then herself made statement about her autism, how it made her even more motivated to fight climate change...
    So they are using this in the first place, in a way that doesnt mean anything ( because it can be true we know it here but at least explain what autism is and how it can do that to the public)
    Instead of spreading awarness it just means "if you dont listen to me you are not inclusive"

    " I have a disability so listen to me pls " ( pls link me an article if she actually tried to spread awarness at some point)

    And this is the real problem of the west you need to have a label to be relevant now.

    It would be better if she advocates for more ressources for the autistic community ( better diagnosis and help etc) but I guess she never felt all these problems due to her priviledged background, unlike most autistic individuals.

    Then , its the usual political argument about climate change.

    A big part of climate change is related to a natural cycle that we cannot undo ( it already happened before) , we should stop polluting our planet and change our industrial process and also changing our way of life long term this is true.
    But climate change will happen, instead on focusing on preventing we should focus on adapting ( especially when we think about agriculture)

    Its the usual priviledged leftist who has it all, and then suddenly decide to be a green warrior(their family), I dont know how many time they used a plane but they sure did for instance.

    The message is adressed to the average citizen of europe, who are just not responsible of climate change anymore.
    Our politicls decided to export all the industries and products that we need as citizen. In countries where they respect nothing.
    They created the problems that makes the subburb and rural population use a car 3h a day in oder to work.
    And in a worldscale our polution represent nothing.

    Sure its a good thing to be more carefull about our waste, use our cars less , but in the end it will change like 2% of the process that contribute to climate change...its more a responsibily we should have to protect our close environnement instead of fighitng against "climate change"

    I have a friend who also told me that he went for a trip in eastern south asia and he saw how the average people there just throw their plastic waste everywhere...

    We are close to disapear and have no effect on history anymore, so when we hear what Greta has to says, in the end its just an annoying message out of touch with reality from a priviledged noname that should be heard, for what reason exactly? because?( you guessed it the answer is because she has autism)

    You want to fight climate change? half of the solutions come from the left I agree, but also half of the solution come from other political backgrounds. And all these solutions arent adress at all by all the people who "fight" against climate change. First one being, make the majority of what we use in our country ( only the far right advocate for that)

    In the end, if we applied the political statements of greta, we would need a green dictatorship in the west that would only allow others countries to pollute even more and it would change nothing.

    They should go to school , especially the geography lessons, in order to know how insignificant we are now, not skipping classes.

    She reminded me off the people that guarded us during a vacation trimp in Italy, they were leftist green who harassed us with the fact that we should sort our waste.
    But anyone with a functionning brain not polluted by any religion would be able to see that where we were, people doesnt sort their waste, so its useless to do it because no system is in place.

    And in the end we only had one big trash can to put everything in it, no sorting by the system.
    It was fun at least to see how pissed they were, but also informative to see that people wants to force their ideas on reality instead of adapting their ideas to reality.
     
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  11. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    What happened in part of Florida I know - and in England was this :

    We are being told not to recycle certain items. There are some many variable types of plastic that cannot be recycled. All different grades and qualities.
    Walmart water in gallon bottles will 'burst' by itself if you keep it long enough, the plastic is so thin...

    Similar to the glass - this,in florida, is put in with normal refuse.

    So,people who have been recycling, to a degree, have been wasting their time.

    Standards of allowable glass and plastic would go a long way to reducing part of the waste problem.
    Perhaps that's one direction all these advocates can move towards - as it provides a political solution that can be argued for.

    A definite way for activists to be productive.
     
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  12. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    Wow. For once I'm rendered clueless as to how to respond to a post because there's too much to unpack; I see SO many things wrong with it that I just won't bother o_O:confused:lol

    Quick disclaimer, I do not know much about Greta Thunberg. I probably know as much as anyone else who has seen a couple of videos of her speaking out about climate change. Anyway. First, climate change is a natural phenomena that happens every several tens of thousands of years. But it most certainly can be exacerbated and sped up because of our actions. There is no denying that at all because it has been proven time and time again by actual scientists who have been studying this for decades. So there is no debating that at all. As a student of science (physics and chemistry) who has occasionally conversed with professors who know much more about this than most of us do, I know this to be absolutely true.

    I believe that so-called autism activists can use autism and people on the spectrum for their own gains. I don't know if that's being done here, as I said I don't know much about Greta and tbh I'm a little too lazy right now to look further into it. But I wouldn't be surprised if some organization is taking advantage of and using her as the face of their organization for some nefarious purposes to gain favor with power hungry politicians and/or power and money hungry capitalists who value profits over lives, etc. etc.

    But the things that really bother me here, that I'd hope would bother anyone reading about this are: This jerk Laurent Alexandre who may or may not be misinformed, is clearly using means via spread of misinformation and harmful stereotypes to not only discredit, but give people the impression that there is something malicious about a girl with autism. A teenage girl at that. She is a child for goodness sake. Also, this guy is a weekly columnist at a magazine called L'Express. The fact that he was able to get that in the magazine, that editors thought it was totally OK to put it in there, is very disturbing. It is a reminder of how very far the world has yet to go in abandoning awful, false ideas about autism and those of us on the spectrum.
     
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  13. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    This is a sad picture. Just think about it.

    This thread is not about the environment, it is NOT about discussing alternative opinions about climate change. This thread is about how political commentators and the press used autism to virtually strip an inspirational high profile autistic girl, a Nobel prize nominee, from her voice, her humanity and her freedoms, for the reason that she is autistic and therefore doesn't count.

    This is an attack on the autonomy, mental capacity and freedom of autistic people.

    In face of such a pernicious attack, autistic people get sidetracked into discussing recycling. (?)
    Some comments effectively endorse the idea that the girl must be manipulated, which implies that an autistic person cannot have a mind of her own, there always has to be someone else who controls her.
    Is that really so?

    Their line of attack is her face. Most other attacks on her on Twitter also focus on her face, they say she looks 'steely', 'has no empathy', 'is absent'. Basically in spite of her very active presence one can use autism to say that she is actually not there, she doesn't count. How can you attack the face of a 16 years old girl? For any other minority it would be met with outrage, yet they insist that it is her face that is the obvious reason why her views are invalid. They are using stereotypes that she has no empathy and therefore has no relevant opinions and shouldn't be heard. This invalidates all autistic people.

    This is not just about Greta, it is about freedoms of all autistic people, and this is why I started this thread. I don't want to comment on climate. It is beside the point.
     
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  14. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    I saw her post on Twitter some time ago, it seemed to me then, and still is now a perfectly purposeful girl with the mind of her own. Her experiences with autism are totally relatable to me. I can see how her campaigning might be her way to deal with her conditions and bullying and all that.
    upload_2019-4-19_20-58-33.png
     
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  15. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes sorry I have missed the point of the topic, but I find it hard to seperate the two things, realy, because this person has no real legitimacy to talk about climate change, she isnt a scientist yet or a refugee from a place that suffered from climate change etc...( find another example) I mean at some point you always ask yourself, why this person is relevant and why do I listen to this person?

    I mean I already had my own point of view on this topic , and I dont think pushing publicly a kid for a political reason is relevant or a good thing overall, and clearly what makes the media talk about it is also because she has a label.

    I mean its very far from the other case of Malala for instance , she actually did something and wanted an education and got shot for this, so she deserved publicity and all the credit she got afterward.

    Here..this is not the same at all, this is just a teenager telling others and governements what to do from the comfort of her home....sure, why should we listen to this person at all?

    I dont deny that she certainly had to face challenges as a person with ASD, but this is what she should talk about at the moment publicly , then when she has a degree or a work related to climate of course she will be legitimate( not to express or opinion but to be covered by all the media)

    The real issue isnt her passion for climate change, that she definitly has the right to have, the problem is the fact that from nowhere, the mass media thought it was necessary to make her name known worldwide, its a non sence to me ( and in this case the fact that she has autism is used in a way to force your attention, in a positive or negative way, but for a bad reason)

    To make it clear everyone has the right to express his opinion, autistic individual aswell, but in the other way around having autism doesnt make your voice more valuable on a topic your at not legitimate by default(because of who you are) or by practice, Information should be meaningfull.

    And it realy feelt weird to see that she got so many attention from mass media, it feels out of place and not earned at all. This is why some people say she is also being used, because actually she doesnt deserve this attention on this topic, so some people want to push a narrative and use her.

    Now about this alexandre guy, who says he is an doctor but doesnt know expressing empathy is different from having empathy and understand other expressions, well.. he is stupid and attacking anyone especially autistic individual for their facial expression is realy messed up...you are right. And the association that denounced him is right.

    Attacking autism on such a superficial and uninformed level is close to be an offense, but it doesnt mean that Greta earned her spotlight in the media neither.
     
  16. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The sad truth is that we know better. There is a lot of insensitivity and ignorance around the globe, so stupid comments don't offend me. I expect them to appear. Anyone in the spotlight gets critiqued, and the jabs are often unkind and unfair. Laurent Alexandre's belief that Autism is some kind of twisted brain function is just another example of ways opponents use "cheap shots" to discredit the individual or a movement. We might all agree that her Autism isn't the engine in her crusade, but more likely the fuel. Some of us can do intensity very well, so with a focus and a goal, we are in 100%. Nobody can argue the pitfalls of pollution.

    It's good to call out perpetrators of ignorance, especially when it has an effect on a cause as big as Autism. Everyone's voice is valid, so you have to accept the unusual or inappropriate comment or suggestion from the "anyone". I don't believe in censorship, so I have to accept alternative views. That doesn't mean I have to agree. I simply dismiss the source as unreliable or useless. "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones". Mr. Alexandre's comment about (engagement égocentrique), which I take to mean an "egotistical endeavor", is not a phrase he should be tossing around loosely, lest it find its way home. His comments clearly demonstrate his own short-sighted lack of "empathy" - another term he should handle delicately.
     
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  17. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    But this is the thing, the conversation keeps on going on about people's displeasure that this girl is speaking and being heard. It keeps on focusing on attacking the messenger. It is a contested cause and one should expect a robust debate. But why does the debate has to focus on the personal attack against the child because of her autism, because of her age, because of her face and how she is dressed?

    This is what I am talking about, not the climate campaign.[please]

    Does it say anything about the deep seated prejudice about disability, especially about people with mental conditions?

    Many people get famous for .. I can't think of a reason, having a big bottom..? Yet they don't seem to attract such dehumanising hate.

    Nobody is asking you to listen to her. The question was why attacks on her autism and what does it mean for all autistic people?

    Actually it is a very similar thing. Malala is inspirational and I wish her all the best. However, the British state and Western media actually built up to her influence. She had very limited impact before her attack. It is great that she was saved and enabled to campaign to the wider audience and became a Nobel prize winner. This inspires people. Greta actually mobilised far more people and was more effective without the explicit help of any state. She mobilised tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in different countries. Yes she attracted various campaign groups who supported her. Greta's case shows that the climate cause has appeal with many people [even though you might not be one of them. I am not here advocating for climate either way. I just observe how the autistic girl is treated by the media]. And now that she is attracting all this hate she might become a moral martyr as well. Malala was attacked for being a girl wanting to learn like boys, for being young, for being a woman and was so compelling in the West exactly because of this. So it is not that dissimilar. So why the attacks on autism from the western media?

    They actually sat in the cold wintery Swedish streets, but that is beside the point.
    That happens because very many people agree with her. She got media attention because she got traction on social media with campaigners. She is not talked about because of her autism, but because many followed her climate cause and accepted her as the spokesperson. That's why she is talked about.

    Why personal attacks about autism?

    The idea that she attracts attention because of autism is just the assertion of thoses attacking media. There is no evidence of this. A lot of autistic people try to campaign for various causes including autism and get very little attention, if any at all. Her autism could not have attracted that level of attention, her climate action did.

    So why do they attack her autism and her parents about her autism?

    Many minorities got accepted and normalised through role models. Unfortunately, there are not enough autistic role models. Successful people somehow do not want to come out. This is a problem. And the way Greta is treated explains why. It invalidates their autonomy and contributions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
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  18. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    Actually, it's quite inspirational to have a high profile autistic person in the media spotlight. A lot of autism advocacy centres around helping children at school. So having an effective influential autistic child in the spotlight is a huge progress and a great opportunity for autistic people. Having an autistic person nominated for Nobel Prize is a great opportunity, having an autistic person talking to the European Parliament is a great progress. The stereotype is that autistic people can hardly talk, can hardly do anything, yet this girl just shows that autistic people can do everything, they can be great leaders and Nobel Prize winners.

    I would have thought people here would rejoice at this, not being sidetracked into debates about climate. She shows that autistic people can achieve anything and everything.

    Why are we attacking her as well?

    Can anyone think of autistic role models with similar reach, the ones that came out as autistic?
     
  19. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I regret trying to look up more about him, 'cause now I just have this awful taste in my mouth. I can't find a whole lot about Laurent Alexandre (thank goodness, 'cause what I found is more than enough...), and whatever I can find, it's all in French so I have to translate it. And admittedly I found it easiest to just look on Wikipedia because at least there are other links if anyone is interested to find out more.

    Just a warning though. The following might be disturbing to some of you because it involves mention of dehumanization of autistic people.



    From the few things that I can gather, it seems that he either supports right wing, or the French version of what resembles American Libertarian politics. It seems he was and maybe still is heavily invested in biotech industries and seems to love the idea of the extension of the human lifespan. I saw other words there such as, "transhumanism" and "eugenics" (*gag*)

    So it appears to me that he is attacking her for a couple of reasons, obviously none of which are valid or should be taken seriously at all 'cause he's a joke and a poor excuse for a human being. For one thing, he is against anything that stands in the way of "progress," especially if it hinders the improvement and advancement of certain humans with genes he deems desirable and worthy of keeping in the human gene pool. The biggest threat to progress is, in his words, the "green dictatorship."

    And so it's no surprise then that he targets Greta. He pretends he cares about her well-being by decrying that those behind the green dictatorship are using her for their own agendas. But it appears his words belie his true sentiment, which is this: Autistic people's genes do not belong in the human gene pool. Autistic people could not possibly contribute to the advancement of humans, they are a huge hindrance to progress. He wants anyone who will listen to him to think about autistic people in the same way he does.

    This dude is absolutely abhorrent.
     
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  20. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    Yes, eugenics.

    In his Twitter he asks the question :

    'One day you say autistics are disabled, another day you say they are normal - you have to choose'

    So basically, being disabled disqualifies you from speaking and being heard, this is the preserve of 'normal'.

    As Human Rights Watch says, 'the author attacks people with disabilities and their recognition as full-fledged citizens with an important role to play in societal issues'.

    Of course this needs debunking. There is no need to choose.

    In the social model of disability, the symptoms and conditions are not the problem in themselves. It is the systems and barriers to access in society that make the condition disabling, create the disadvantage.

    It is easier to see in relation to a mobility problem. Having mobility impairment is not the problem, absence of mobility equipment and accessible infrastructure is.

    I don't know about all countries. Here the legal definition of disability has nothing to do with medical conditions. It is defined as doing things differently. The society should accommodate for this different way.
    For example it should provide reasonable adjustments to mitigate the disadvantage of disability.
    Reasonable adjustments are not a favour and not an unfair advantage. They are there to mitigate the disadvantage arising from the disability.

    Autistic people process information and understand the world differently.

    It is a disability because the society doesn't always, in fact rarely provide all the necessary access and adjustments to accommodate the different perception and communication. In absence of inclusion and full acceptance, in absence of the full range of right adjustments, it is disabling for many autistic people. It causes huge difficulties and often suffering. But it is important to remember than in itself it is not a defectiveness, not an inferiority, but a difference that should ideally be mitigated by reasonable adjustments, but sadly in practice is not.

    So autistic people, while disabled have every capacity to do all the contributions on the par with NT people.
    Disability doesn't disqualify from ability and from the rights and freedoms available to 'normal' people.

    As Human Rights Watch highlighted, this equality is embedded in law in most democratic countries.