In Which I Get Pissed Off: Not Shutting Down, What A Crock.

Many of us are aware of this whole communication shutdown thing that's supposed to happen on November 1. Many bloggers have written eloquently on this. Emily wrote at A Life Less Ordinary? that she wouldn't be shutting down. Corina wrote at No Stereotypes Here about speaking loudly on that day. I put a post on the directory saying I wouldn't be shutting down; I'd be visiting my friends on the spectrum and commenting on their blogs. Many other bloggers have written about this, and Marianne from the shutdown event has been going around to blogs commenting and attempting to clarify. And of course, invoking an appeal to authority and celebrity by invoking Temple Grandin.

I responded to her comment at the directory as follows:

Since there are still many people who do not use twitter or facebook, and since these people who sign off for the day can still talk and go on about their real world social lives, they won't get anywhere close to awareness of what it's like to be autistic. 

Not going on facebook isn't going to give anybody an idea of my son's life or my daughters's lives. And if folks aren't on facebook, twitter, the internet, it doesn't follow that autistic's voices will be all the louder. Who will be listening to them? Really?

No, no, and again no. So, the NTs give some money, get a badge, get to say they're next to Temple Grandin, and feel good about themselves while the autistic individuals who use the social media for their primary communications find themselves further isolated because their NT friends have gone suddenly silent.

I'll pass. And when I choose to give to charities, I'll directly give to those charities where I know how my dollars are spent, and I won't be doing it so I can show a nifty badge and toot my own horn about how aware I am. I'll continue to advocate for awareness, accommodations, and acceptance by running this directory with Kathleen and by communicating directly with autistic individuals.

Oh, and I'll be teaching my three children, who just happen to be on the spectrum, to be wary of gimmicks and promotions that don't actually help the people they purport to.


Cheryl D. said...

I'm not shutting up that day. No way!

Marc Rosen said...

I NEVER shut up, and I'm damn fucking proud of that fact!

"Just because my brain's different/You say I shouldn't speak/You say I shouldn't have friends/You say I shouldn't write this shit on this page/You say I shouldn't even know what the words "fuck", "shit", "cock", and "pussy" mean/It's for the good of society, right?"

Anonymous said...

Me neither!

Well said, Kim. And I don't think it sounded pissed off as much as it did righteous indignation. Which is wholly appropriate in this situation. :-)

K Bjornstad said...

My only contact with Marianne was when she asked if it was okay if she posted links on CS's Facebook and twitter to blogs that will be participating. I don't see a problem with this so I said okay. I don't agree with what they're doing but I think it will get the posts noticed more. I did tell her that there were a lot of mixed feelings about CS among the participants in Autistics Speaking Day, and that I personally don't like the way they're doing things, but I saw it as an opportunity to get the message out to more people. It's not really even my place to give permission; blog posts are a matter of public record and they can post whatever they want on their won walls.

I would still rather donate directly to organizations. And I'm going to encourage people to do just that.

kathleen said...

I left this comment ovr at the blogs directory-and I'll share here as well.
"Iam sorry that I wasn't around today-and only saw this now. I absolutely back what Kim has written 100%.
I respect the work of Temple Grandin she is a well known voice in the autism community..However, her fame does not mean that she speaks or represents every autistic person. Nor does her stamp of approval make the decision to "go silent" right. I find it horrifying that this organization believes it does so. Perhaps if they spoke to other autistic people and asked them what they wanted-they might learn a thing or two."

Elise said...

I immediately felt this was a bad idea and that it would hurt those that it purported to help. Everyone join us for our Speak Out Autism Chat on Monday. Bring your thoughts, ideas and topics of discussion to The Coffee Klatch. Join us through tweetchat http://tweetchat.com/room/tck from 8am Monday to 8am tuesday. 24 hours of straight autism education.

Roger Kulp said...

I've only read a couple of blog posts about this,like the one you linked to at A Life
Less Ordinary
,and frankly I don't understand it,or get the point of it.And,no,I'm not going to register with Facebook just to read one page.Could somebody explain it to me? Is it more of the same stuff like the old "Autism Speaks doesn't speak for me." campaign ?That sort of thing gets old after a while.

KWombles said...

Roger, they have a regular website here: https://communicationshutdown.org/?view=home

Corina Becker said...

Kim, this has to be one of the clearest, directest and no-nonsensical response I've seen, as well as one of the most civil.
Thanks so much for your support :D

Adoption of Jane said...

I think everyone just needs to respect each other's opinion, period. The only thing that pisses me off is the disrespect amongst each other and the ridiculous infighting... My thoughts: http://knottyawetizmmama.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-have-i-learned-about-autism.html

Kathleen and Kim Of ABD said...

I'm sorry, but what Age of Autism is doing right now, for example, on their facebook page, is not ridiculous infighting nor are their opinions worthy of respect, unless you think it's acceptable to write that Elyse Anders should be sodomized by a broken mercury thermometer among the other heinous remarks being made.

I don't care what people think about the cause of their child's autism is if their focus is on community support and helping their children, both directly and through making the world a better place, a safer place, for them through advocacy efforts. I will, however, continue to write about and speak out against the kinds of behavior that far too many of those who follow AoA engage in. There's
nothing ridiculous about that.

Nor is there anything ridiculous about speaking out about outsiders to the autism community trying to co-opt autistic individuals' voices. The actual plan for that day in no way would have given neurotypical outsiders a window on what it's like to be autistic.

And thank you, I read your thoughts when you first posted them. :-)


Kathleen and Kim Of ABD said...

It shouldn't have to be added, but apparently it does, we had no issues with how individuals chose to handle that day. We wrote about what WE were going to do.