Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Skepticism's Ableism Problem

I have a new drinking game for reading the comments on Freethought Blogs. All of them. Bet you can figure out what it is.

You bet your ass that if a post is about asinine behavior, someone in the comments will internet-diagnose the person in question with Aspergers/an ASD. Because, of course, all autistics & Aspies et cetera behave so out-of-the-norm asshattedly as to come to the attention of fairly widely read bloggers. And obviously, autism is the only thing that could possibly make someone such an asshat.

Except no.

I mostly see this, actually, in the context of misogynist deed being committed, someone says "well duh, Aspie dude" or something to that effect. The dude in question has never in any of these threads been listed as autistic. Ever. Except by NT onlookers who are looking for a reason to feel superior-"I'm not a misogynist" isn't enough, they've got to exert their NT privilege too!

Fun fact, y'all. We're skeptics too. And as an autistic woman, I cannot tell in which way I feel less welcome in the community. The sexism is awful, and the way you try to blame it on people with my fucking neurology is not acceptable.

Now excuse me, I need to go do a shot for each instance of "dumbass" and "stupid" and a whole bottle for the "asshole=autism" thing.

Aren't you an enlightened bunch?

Apparently not.


Anonymous said...

ah not that please, the asshole=ASD again, don't people get tired of that?
Not that I'm actually surprised.

Because of my Autism I am called insensitive and lack empathy, because of my BPD I am called abusive and manipulative, who cares if that the people I actually interact with think I am compassionate and that I never abused anyone?
Except mental health professionals that judge me always.
People don't see that most nondisabled people rarely show empathy for disabled people, including autistics. Let's ignore that most (not all) people who are borderline are abuse victims and suffer stigma and victim blaming.
It's easy to just judge a group of people based on any bias they have and make fun of it.
Apparently non-aspies are those perfect being who care about everyone so if someone is a jerk it must be one of us. I see this used against men that are sexist, because apparently all NT men are feminists, share feelings and are considerate.
Not the worst thing I read on comments but it's annoying, that's why I avoid that part and just read the post.

Wow, this comment is kind of long and sometimes offtopic for no reason, this is what happens when I am on a shitty phase of my life and decide to comment on bad news.

Andy teh Nerd said...

Ugh, sometimes I feel like tearing my hair out when I say "yo, check out this ableism run rampant on FTB" and people are like "i don't see a problem" and i'm like "wha...???"

Neurodivergent K said...

Of course they don't see their ableism. It's not like we're PEOPLE.

(uh yeah. I wanna do a bingo card for FTB on asshatted bigoted things people say and rarely get called on. Cuz the commenters at Blag Hag kind of hit my last nerve last night).

lisa26hd said...
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Andy teh Nerd said...

It's pretty much everywhere, that I've seen. But if you wanted to find specific instances, you can do a Google search of their site for the words "autism" or "retarded" or "idiot" or any other word used as an ableist slur.

Andy teh Nerd said...

I'm not going to say it...
I'm not going to say it...
Aww, hell, I'm saying it:

Neurodivergent K said...

Every single FTB i've seen those used.

A couple of the bloggers/commenters seem to frown on r*t*rd*d, but idiot/dumbfuck/etc run rampant. And of course "this guy is a douchenozzle, therefore autistic".

It'd be nice if people who weren't me (or the other few autistics) said something about it for once. It's our movement too, and in trying to reduce misogyny I see a lot of ableism being used to keep the bigotry level fairly constant.

Neurodivergent K said...


Bonus points for trying the tired old 'undiagnosing' thing. Just because I can write well doesn't mean I'm not autistic. I've been diagnosed since the DSM III era (not like it's your business) and have hung out with some of the 'experts', none of whom question in the slightest whether or not my diagnosis is accurate (again, none of your damn business). It's rude to do so, more so over the internet, where you don't know what the person on the other side of the keyboard is like.

It's rude and unacceptable. Don't fucking do it.

The mind blind hypothesis is pretty discredited, and the lack of empathy one extraordinarily discredited; the researchers do not have empathy for the autistics they are 'testing', and in recent studies, assigned motivation to triangles. How the hell does a triangle motivate? The intense world theory is actually far more accurate.

Nice derail, btw. Except not. It was pretty standard "you're not autistic enough therefore STFU" fare.

Neurodivergent K said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

Um...you're wrong.

The Intense World hypothesis comes from professionals. So do all the varieties of "sensory integration dysfunction" and the ones about praxis.

SBC is the only one married to lack of empathy. I suggest reading journeyswithautism.com if you are actually interested in the subject, rather than derailing and giving the impression you're trying to defend the "all assholes have ASD, that's why they're assholes" intellectual laziness.

(edited for they're)

Neurodivergent K said...

2004 is ages ago in autism. In 2004 people thought vaccines were a legit hypothesis, to put it in perspective.

Given that you came to my blog and started allistic-splainin', I don't think you're aware of what "without provocation" means. And yes, you were allistic-splainin'. Maybe mansplainin' too, but my autistic ladybrain can't process both at once. Weak central coherence, you see.

Neurodivergent K said...

Nice derail.

No, really.

I almost looked that shit up, then I remembered:


Skepticism's ableism is the point.

Andy teh Nerd said...

"Skepticism's ableism is the point."

"What exactly is wrong with discriminating against horrible personalities?"

IT BURNS!!!!1!

Neurodivergent K said...


Good nonexistant gods.

Autism isn't a personality type. It's a neurological configuration.

And it's just rude to tell someone else how to run their blog. Surely you and all your empathetic wisdom know that.

Neurodivergent K said...


If you don't like what I write here, you're more than welcome to get your own blog.

Heldenautie said...

All right, Corporal Slaughterhouse. This is Brigadeer General STFU bringin' mah logic nuker fun to the party.

First of all, you keep talking about empathy and theory of mind in a manner that is completely divorced from what those words mean in a clinical sense. Clinically speaking, I do not empathize. I do not *feel* the emotions that other people feel by virtue of being in their proximity. If I do, it is certainly not to the extent that allistic people do. I do, however, have analytic empathy, by which I mean I can analyze how a person is acting and intellectually figure out how they are feeling and respond in ways that I know intellectually are accurate. I still struggle with social skills, but most people find me very personable in common situations because I've learned how to act in social situations academically, in the same say that I've learned US History or Music Theory. So yes, many people on the spectrum do not "empathize", but that does not diminish our ability to feel compassion. I am, in fact, very tactful (as my work has often required me to do so) and very compassionate (as I find the thought of another person suffering abhorrent). Yet I am autistic.

Damn, that must really suck. I mean, we're supposed to be bunch of meanies who are nothing but socially impeded assholes who can't tell that telling you to fuck off for being a worthless scumfuck might be perceived as an insult. It must really suck know that there is someone with a nigh unchallengeable autism diagnosis be such an iconoclast.

Secondly, diagnosis challenging makes you lower on the metaphorical food chain than phytoplankton. Seriously, sea sponges are higher than you are. Damn, even argot ranks above you. As someone who knows the esteemed writer of this blog IRL, spoke with her on the telephone not four hours ago, and knows her personal and medical history (which are, I might add, not one bit of your damn business), let me assure you that her diagnosis is less questionable than mine. What people try to do when diagnosis challenging is discredit someone who speaking out as part of their community; it's a bigoted silencing tactic carried about by someone (like you) who has allistic privilege. What they actually do is say, "I'm an awful human being. Please feed a lactose intolerant dog raw beans covered in milk gravy and cup of hot sauce and put me behind its anus. I deserve to be covered in foul smelling liquid shit, which is marginally more acceptable to have in one's house than I am." Most people decline to do this for sanitation concerns and worries about the welfare of the dog, but DON'T YOU WORRY, CORPORAL; ONE IF THESE DAYS SOMEONE WILL GIVE YOU THE RESPECT YOU SO RICHLY DESERVE.

(comment split for length)

Heldenautie said...

Lastly, I find it hilarious that you are being so absurdly picky about the sources regarding the nature of autism, in doing so completely writing off the experiences of a person who is definitely autistic and who has probably forgotten more about neurology than you know, WHILE failing to take into account the fact that the research regarding autism is highly qualitative, i.e. not based in concrete measurements they way that, say, physics is. Moreover, it's even more hilarious that you used the "MUST BE SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL" derail while you said that you accepted that your psychiatrist's opinion that autism is Le Diagnostic du Jour despite the fact that an authoritative study (http://autismsciencefoundation.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/prevalence-of-autism-spectrum-disorders-in-a-total-population-sample/) indicates that Autism Spectrum Disorders are underdiagnosed. MOREmoreover, clinicians agree that ASD is especially under-diagnosed in more oppressed populations, specifically women and People of Color. This speaks to your utter sexism and ableism in the following statement:

"[I]f you were a man, whinging so much about your social inability as you do here would make you an utter laughingstock, full stop.

So be glad you're a woman."

I'm glad to hear that you have such a firm grasp of what the world must be like for an autistic woman, since you clearly are one. Are you going to tell me what it's like to be an autistic, Black, poor, conventionally considered unattractive, fat, young, poorly educated, gay, atheist, intersex-assaigned-male-at-birth transgender woman with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues who lives outside of the "West" and who does not speak English as her first language? I mean, because you so clearly know about the plight of all oppressed people, I figured that you should be able to tell me the experience of some hypothetical person who is oppressed on absolutely every axis I can think of and carries no privilege.

Essay test. Due Friday.

No, but seriously, go to hell.

P.S. I do not mean to imply that you are privileged on every axis as there likely exists no person who is nor were my statements meant to exclude you from any oppressed group of which you might be a member, but rather to illustrate that you are an ass-hat straight from the ass-haberdashery. Good day sir. Or bad. I don't rightly care.

Heldenautie said...
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Heldenautie said...
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Anonymous said...

Uh, slaughterhouse, maybe you've been laid but, pity sex from your sister doesn't count.

Heldenautie said...

M. le Corporal,

I love how you assume that the neither the author of this blog nor I have ever gotten laid or that I struggle with erectile dysfunction, which certainly speaks to both your lack of knowledge of our lives or medical history and your abject bigotry. Why bigotry?

This just in: some people are asexual. Yep, you read that right. Some people (myself not included) just don't like/want sex. The whole "not getting laid" thing just means two things to my mind: (a) that you have decided that person's value is based on the prevalence of their sexual activity, meaning that you must whole asexual people or people with who are medically unable to enjoy sex in lower esteem, making you an anti-asexual bigot and an ableist (are we seeing a theme here?) and (b) that a male's worth as a human being is based on his ability to sexually dominate women, making you a sexist.

Also, I believe that my sesquipedalian loquaciousness would corroborate my literacy, which I present to you in an effort to sublate your nonreputable assertion that my ability to comprehend or communicate in the standard English lexicon is some how compromised. I am, in fact, aware that this study was carried out in South Korea, but the fact that this study found evidence that 1 in 38 of the sample was believed to be autistic by the study in contrast with the US statistics that claim 1 in 116 (Source: Autism Weeps... er... Speaks), would indicate that ASD is *gasp* underdiagnosed.

I hope that I cleared a few things up. Now, while I delectate in discommoding you, I will tarry here no longer. As always, you have been supernumerarily asinine.

Le Général de Brigade de STFU

Neurodivergent K said...

Slaughterhouse, you have far crossed the boundaries of ableism and ad hominem. And hypocrisy (given that you were all OMG AD HOMINEM).

If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were trying to be a prime example of exactly what I'm talking about in this post.

Kindly go back to under your bridge.

Heldenautie said...


Yeah, except no. Nothing in an ASD diagnosis implies virginity. This would be a trend based on your observations, thus making it a synthetic truth were it true at all, which it isn't.

Also, Mr. Skeptic, you are aware that Kant's philosophy prescribes belief in a god, right? I mean, yeah, I know, it's not in his epistemological works, but his ethics do. I think using Kant against me makes you fail skepticism against me forever.

Also, I love how you assume that I lack eloquence in real life. You see, I do IRL activism, an activity which occasionally requires public speaking. Which I am distinctly *good* at. Also, I work in telephone fundraising, meaning that my oral communication skills have to be dead on. So tell me, if I fumble over my words IRL, how would I have been able to raise $60,000 for my university last year AND be promoted to a Center Manager to work for another university that is presently over $10k ahead of where it was last year? Oh, I know, it was pity.

And yeah, I poked you with a stick (metaphorically speaking), but it's only because you are a bigoted asshole who probably thinks you're so rebellious listening to National Socialist Black Metal and being all "dark" and "atheist" and shit while you just reinforce the power structure that currently exists because you *like* bigotry.

Again, fuck off.

Neurodivergent K said...

Don't lie. You were a jerk long before anyone said anything to you.

Don't bother posting back. Google now thinks you're a spammer =)

Anonymous said...

Getting back on topic, yes, it's something I've noticed about FTB as well. I smack it down when I see it, and there are some good people who help, but because I have a life offline, I can't catch the offenders as often as I'd like.

One of the (many) things which infuriated me about elevator guy was how many people tried to excuse him by saying he had Asperger's, as if following someone into an enclosed space and dropping some pick up line was diagnostic for ASD.

Heldenautie said...

"You people sure are butthurt about being virgins, damn."

Not really. Nice of you to assume though. For all you know, I might be an escort.

Heldenautie said...

*And* FYI, I do have a friend who is ostensibly on the spectrum who is a professional dom and an escort. MORE ICONOCLASTS!

Neurodivergent K said...


I almost wrote this post in wake of THAT, but I didn't for a variety of reasons. The one that pushed me over the edge this time was the Penn Gillette= ASD comments on BlagHag. No, no he is not.

(and if the comments look swiss cheesy, that's what happens when you mark someone's comments as spam. They go buhbye.)