If someone doesn’t know it is discrimination, is it?

I have to ask a question: If someone doesn’t realize they are discriminating against someone, are they discriminating? The courts have said that there is no excuse for protected “classes” of people and the EEOC enforces this. They protect race, colour, class, sex, genetic information, and reprisal. They are supposed to protect those who are disabled, but this is difficult for them to do – what is disabled? It isn’t clear cut what is and isn’t. This is a ‘not so protected’ class. There are other reasons, too.

People in not so protected classes get discriminated against all the time, every day. Why? They are different for what every reason a person can find in their mind. Often, they are harassed, too. You can have a text book case where someone is being discriminated against, including manipulation of records, harassment (documented), and intentional malice. It doesn’t matter.

What can be done? Absolutely nothing. In some cases, people do react. Layla’s Law is being petitioned to create awareness of what discrimination is and some of the forms it takes. This isn’t to be confused with the guide dog awareness and protection law created. This is a case where a young child was discriminated against for clumsiness and wouldn’t recognize that someone was disabled. In this situation, there was ignorance and a lack of understanding. I also applaud that both parties are doing something to improve what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

In real, everyday life, this doesn’t happen. People live with the problems and go through life constantly fighting to just stay on a level playing field. Get in a group that thinks they are above everyone else, and anyone who is different is not tolerated. I don’t think laws will help. We have laws in place. Even the enforcers don’t want to enforce them. This begs the following question:

Is it discrimination if people don’t know they are discrimination?

Autism Awarness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. I have seen a few people who have posted to let others know about it, but very little has been seen or heard outside of the autism boards I participate in. I am not sure why this is. Autism Awareness month has been celebrated since 1970 something (don’t remember the exact year). Amazingly, one in eighty-eight is affected by autism.

As someone who lives with an autism spectrum disorder (not sure why they call it this – it isn’t a disorder), please take the time and try to connect to some of the events going on around your community to bring awareness of autism around you. Learn a little bit about what it is like, and some of the issues that many of us face. At the same time, you will learn and meet some wonderful people.

 

 

Cure for Autism

A cure has been found for autism… no, not really, but from the headlines in the heath sites, you would think that they have. All it takes is a little rewiring of neurons in the brain. This scares me. Being someone diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a supposed mild form of autism, I have to wonder when they will force this “cure” on me. The communities I am part of are up in arms and it is just time before this happens. There isn’t even a cure right now.

You may be saying, “Wait a minute, this isn’t what they are saying.” But, there is already a separation between those who have autism (aspies and auties) and those who don’t (NT’s or neurotypicals). There are only 2-3 per 1000 people who have autism. From our perspective, we are normal people but are different. From the people who describe us, we are the ones who aren’t functional, and are the ones with something wrong. We are the ones who need behavior modification, special education, and therapies. We are often put on medications to sedate us. Just because you are different doesn’t make it bad or wrong. Many of the people who also have Asperger’s syndrome are some of the most intelligent people you will meet. We are people who live our lives just like you.

The next time you run into one of us, try to make allowances and be flexible. Things that you would find normal and fun may be infuriating. Words often are taken out of context because our experiences are different. We don’t see the world as you do. Some of the things to keep in mind are mentioned here.

Probably the biggest difference is that some of us have noticeable problems dealing with people in social situations. This is noticeable in children more than adults. They have difficulty initiating conversations, and even maintaining them. We often say things honestly and truthful, but don’t belong in the conversations. We are sensitive to lies, and tend to be honest to a fault (although some of us have learned we must lie in your world to survive). There may be things that are just not right – like not looking at who they talk or making eye contact or the reverse where they are locked on a person’s eyes who is talking. We often can’t read facial expressions or a person’s body language. This leads into another situation – repetitive behaviors.

Another thing that we have or do is repetitive behaviors that are often eclectic. For instance, we may eat our food in a specific order, put our clothes on, or do certain activities. Some of these may seem unusual for others, but to us, this is something normal. With this, as children, we may seem uncoordinated (although some adults have this problem, too). It is one of the reasons we see patterns around us before others notice them. Again, to us, this is normal. For us, it isn’t unusual to say the exact same thing to the same person when we are locked into a thought pattern.

You will also see that we tend to focus on a very narrow set of interests. There aren’t many things we do – we enjoy only a few things. When we do things, we are usually very focused on one thing. It encompasses our lives – we eat, live, and breath what we do. This leads us to being experts in that specific area. Outside these areas, we are like fish out of water.

Finally, we are often sensitive to loud noises and yelling. Don’t ever yell at us, or anyone else, for that matter. It just isn’t something that isn’t polite.

I hope this post makes you understand that there are two classes of people already, and that many of us are just people like you. We may be different, but it isn’t any different than race, colour, creed, sex, or any other way that people separate one another. With this cure, many of us who like who we are, and don’t want to be forced to change. We don’t think there is anything wrong with ourselves and we don’t pose a threat to anyone by not being “cured”. Keep this in mind when you run into one of us.