The Importance of Being Emily
On Friday, I wrote about my disappointment with Robert Rummel-Hudson's final piece in The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism dialogue series between him and autistic adults Ari Ne'eman and Zoe. Most of that disappointment had to do with the fact that it read as though he hadn't even bothered to read what the other people wrote. Part of it had to do with the fact that the dismissive attitude he took was encouraged by TPGA editor Emily Willingham.
Emily has written a defense of her actions here. I encourage you to read it.
A. She writes as though Rob were a delicate flower, rather than someone who brags about being impolite and had already shown a remarkable capacity for NOT listening to people with autism.
B. Emily displays the same attitude in the Twitter conversation with Rob that she displayed in the comments to the blog post I mentioned in the last article. I also you encourage you to read them.
As I mentioned my previous post, I had a lengthy email exchange with Emily during which I explained how I interpreted those comments, and why they were offensive to me-- these should not have been new ideas to her when I cut-and-pasted them into my discussion of what happened between Rob and her. I didn't just read and misinterpret the Twitter stream, as Emily suggests.
C. This response is disappointing to me because Emily does not allow for possibility that there might have been anything wrong about what she did. As I wrote initially, I never thought she had anything but good intentions. But I don't have anything but good intentions, either. And sometimes I still mess up. Emily messed up here. I would respect her more if she were able to see that and admit it.
And that's quite enough about that.
What's more interesting are the substantive disagreements between Emily and I, which revolve around two things:
1. What is the role of parents in the autism community?
2. How should adults on the autism spectrum relate to autism as an identity?
More on those soon.
And what's most important is that Emily is smart and a good parent and a great writer. I encourage all of you who don't know her work to read this, and see just how awesome she can be. And if you were already a fan, please don't change your opinion of her because of this incident. You should all listen to Emily. She's important.