Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pity Never Serves Justice

I am encouraged that the autism awareness campaign has only designated one month out of the year as "Autism Awareness Month". I am happy that there are still 11 months that are not considered "Autism Awareness Month."

Until there are campaigns that promote who autistics really are, all other campaigns are to likely to spread the misinformation that has caused so much problems for autistic people in the past.

Not only is spreading misinformation not helpful, but calling attention to misinformation described as helpful can be very harmful.

When I looked at the mainstream media yesterday on how this campaign was being described, the word that came to mind was "pitiful".

When I thought of all the problems that were associated with pitiful attitudes I felt like vomiting. I didn't need any heavy metals chelated from my body nor were there any typical behaviors that I was in need of learning. The dis ease I was feeling was a societal attitude that I have too often digested and the best chance that I have at being healthy is learning to reject this toxicity.

There is nothing I haven't seen that I need to in order to feel more compassion. Pity is a convenient way to ignore the effort, diligence, and patience that it takes to be compassionate. Justice requires compassion. Pitiful justice is unjust.

I heard Senator Obama say recently in a speech that pain trickles up. It reminded me of a boil that has become ripe enough to lance.... or a volcano that couldn't stay quiet any longer.... or a landfill that continued to stink. What we waste will not continue to stay hidden. It seems we fight wars on soil where we dig deep into the earth to extract fossil fuel and yet we find more and more ways to ignore and waste what is REALLY our greatest resource which is human lives and human potential.

Asking the question of whether or not autism is a disability or not can prevent us from looking at the poor and convenient attitudes that disable us all. The main thing I've heard the disability community in the US ask for from the larger or more accommodated public for many years is respect and empowerment. Instead this population is told that this is not what they REALLY want.

Christopher Reeves never seemed motivating at all to me. I in no way mean to minimize what his pain and struggles were. However, he neglected to learn about the struggles of others in the disability community along with what they were working toward and what had already been learned about in the best ways to achieve that. This alienated many people and prevented rather than helped anyone's cause.

If the money that is spent on research to cure autism or eradicate us by trying to isolate the gene that makes us autistic for one year was used instead to empower autistics, they may find this to be a much better investment.

When people pity other people, the pity pot just gets deeper, wider, and more difficult to escape. True compassion can truly enable and empower people when everyone can see the attitudes that are disempowering and how to move beyond them.


At 10:17 AM , Blogger Sharon said...

Pity is poisonous. I do not want it for my son, you don't want it, we don't need it. Like you wrote, compassion and real understanding is what will help.

I agree also on the misuse of funds, and think the money would go so much further and make such a benefit in people's lives, if it was used to really help them.

At 8:33 AM , Blogger Ed said...

I appreciate your comments Sharon. This comment made be think a lot.

"Pity is Poisonous" would have been a better title for this post.

It seems that the word pity is often used to describe too much compassion. Instead I think of pity as being the expression of a different emotion with a different agenda.

In a similar way I hear use the word sympathy in ways that seem to be describe too much empathy. I don't think that this is a matter of degrees at all but instead I see these as two different expressions with two different agendas all together.

Pity too often also encourages individuals and governments to waste money on temporary solutions and ignore the patience and diligence that is required for real and sustaining change.

What too many people are claiming are actually solutions to creating opportunities for autistic people aren't solutions. Convenience has again prevented people from looking at what is real and practical and the lack of compassion and empathy promotes such thinking.

If autistics are continued to be seen as commodities and our worth is seen as being nothing more than what marketable skills we can acquire and how fast that can happen.... and as long as markets don't adjust to what we have the offer or educate us in the ways that we can acquire the skills for the already existing markets, what other decisions will be made other than convenient and temporary solutions that don't work. Society can't continue to afford to be so frivolous.

At 2:28 AM , Blogger ChainingMagic said...

Hello, as serendipity would have it I have discovered your blog. I am a mom of 3 spectrum kids and possibly Asperger's myself, although that isn't as important as my kids' needs.
You are write beautifully and I look forward to more posts.

At 1:16 PM , Blogger Ed said...

Hi Chainingmagic,

Thanks and welcome. :)


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