The Most Upsetting Response to Joe Scarborough's Bigotry
Unquestionably the most upsetting thing I read about autism and the Colorado shooting came from San Francisco autism blogger Laura Shumaker:
My son Matthew was home over the weekend, and I did everything in my power not only to protect him from the 24 hour news coverage of the horrible massacre in Colorado, but to make sure he was closely supervised at all times. Even with all the work I have done to increase autism awareness and acceptance, people still are uncomfortable with his social quirks, and are hyper-anxious around him after events like the one in Aurora. And who could blame them?
Who could blame them?
Who could blame them?
Well, anyone who has not swallowed a lot of ignorant lies about autistic people would blame them.
Laura either does not know or does not care that autistic people like her son Matthew are much more likely to be victims of crime than criminals. She does not understand that the problem with what Joe Scarborough said about James Holmes is that he reinforced a negative and untrue stereotype about autistic people (we are likely to be serial killers). She seems to believe that such a connection is reasonable and understandable, but that Joe just went too far:
I don’t think that Mr. Scarborough meant to imply that all murderers are on the autism, spectrum, but he did, and he shouldn’t have, so he should RETRACT, with a sincere apology.
Laura is right that it is not okay to imply that all murderers are on the autism spectrum. But, probably in part because, like Joe Scarborough, she has gotten a lot of her ideas from Autism Speaks, she does not understand that it is wrong to say that autism makes people more likely to kill.
Why did this bother me so much?
Because Laura is nice and smart and good. She has a big following which she deserves.
And she has internalized (and is spreading) the most negative stereotypes possible about the autistic people, including her son, who she claims to advocate for, at least to the point where she thinks people should not be blamed for scapegoating us for murder.
And that makes me incredibly sad.
Update: Laura has made some changes to clarify her meaning.