Very recently, concerns have been raised about John Elder Robison endorsing or supporting Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes on the sly. That is, his whole “I quit” declaration was basically smoke and mirrors. Robison has issued a statement that I will quote after the “jump” because it bears meaning in this case.
Robison had this to say about videos of him appearing on Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes’ site:
Here’s the rest of the story…
The video on the Autism Speaks website is something the Autism Speaks media people made of my comments at the IMFAR stakeholder lunch. I wasn’t speaking for or about Autism Speaks, nor was I speaking on their behalf though the video makes it look that way and that bothers me a lot.
The IMFAR lunch had nothing to do with Autism Speaks, except that they were there in the room because they and ASF buy the food for attendees. I was not invited by them or speaking for them; in fact I am INSAR’s co-chair of the Community Committee and the video was sprung on me by the brain bank people as a surprise. My comments followed the showing of what turned out to be a very offensive fundraising video (cure and sickness). I did not endorse their brain video one bit, and I urged them after to scrap or re-edit it.
What I did at the lunch was speak up for the value of the science, and I urged people at the lunch to put aside their disgust because the science is important. I never intended my comments to become a freestanding commentary as they are totally out of context now.
If AS or Brain Bank choose to cast the offensive fundraising video far and wide I am sure it will sink the brain bank initiative (which is itself a good idea, and independent of AS) I hope they have more sense and sensitivity, but maybe they don’t
Here’s the backstory. The Brain Bank people (who are sponsored by Simons, ASF, AS, and others) came to the lunch with a video. I didn’t know what it would be, but lots of groups show videos. This one was a shocker. It was a mom talking about her kid, how messed up he is, and how she prays his brain will help find a cure. The tone was just horrible. It left many in the room speechless and I felt I had to speak up because the goal of the science – understanding the brain – is still important.
My comments were recorded, and Autism Speaks turned them into a video that make it look like I made a standalone endorsement on their behalf, which I most assuredly did not. I feel like my name has been taken advantage of and it troubles me greatly.
I have a few things I feel a need to say to Robison about the matter.
Robison, your name and reputation are open to this sort of thing. The mainstream media and society see you first and foremost as a curebie. They see you as that guy who worked for Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes, and kept doing so until it dawned on you that they were never going to pay attention to what you told them.
Autistic people, especially autistic adult activists, see you very differently to how you apparently see yourself.
Mister Robison, are you familiar with the expression “house nigger”? It is a curious expression used by black activists often to describe people who are black but have succeeded in sucking up to the man to such an extent that they are allowed in the clubhouse. On condition, of course, that they stay in the designated “house nigger” part of the clubhouse. Examples of black individuals who are seen in this way include O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby.
Mister Robison, in my eyes and doubtless the eyes of many other autistic adults (especially Powell types), you are the autistic equivalent of a house nigger. Whilst you can be commended for figuring out that Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes were letting you in the clubhouse but did not want you at the table, the truth is that you have damaged our cause. The damage you have done to us by even having your name associated with them is difficult to estimate, but the words “Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes cannot be that bad if an autistic person works for them” were heard frequently during the period in which you were let into the clubhouse.
Think about that for a second. For years, autistic individuals have been trying to alert the world to the fact that autistic individuals do not want to be cured of what makes them different to their enemies. Then you come along and effectively tell the world that Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes is letting an autistic adult onto their “board”. We even had to go to the effort of saying “yeah, one autistic person out of many positions” and the like.
I do not know enough about you to know whether to believe something is wrong with you. But that is exactly the conclusion I have to draw about an individual who goes to work for a group whose entire stated mission is to eradicate his kind of people.
Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes is all about legitimacy, or rather the perception of legitimacy. At some point where the concept of mass video distribution on the Internet was still new, Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes founder Suzanne Wright was recorded making a speech to one government body. In it, she says that she is unaware of any opposition to her group.
Clearly, Suzanne has never used the Internet. Because even in 2004, the Internet was literally on fire with the cries of opposition to Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes. Telling curebies to go and chelate themselves was a common refrain among autistic adults on LiveJournal. And for every “I thought about murdering my autistic child but my normie child stopped me” video that was popping up on YouChoob, at least twenty more calling that woman an asshole and needing to answer to Child Protective Services appeared.
Seen against this kind of background, John, you are delusional if you think that Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes will play nicely, fairly, or even within the bounds of legality. If the rights of autistic individuals mattered to the legal system as much as the rights of normies apparently do, Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes use of video of you in this manner would be actionable.
But it would be a difficult case to prosecute. For one thing, your reputation is that of a curebie. It is going to remain such for the forseeable future. About the only quick-fix I can think of is to stitch together my idea for a video featuring Hillary Clinton’s “thank you, Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes” speeches stitched together with the Anal Cunt song I Went Back In Time And Voted For Hitler. Yes, being on friendly terms with Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes and having Presidential ambitions makes you equivalent to Adolf Hitler.
(Okay, Godwin-invoking assholes out there, cop an eyeful of this Tumblr and go back to your ignorance thanks very much.)
John, in past times, autistic individuals wailed and gnashed their teeth as we witnessed celebrities sitting on their hands and doing nothing to help us. Then we started to wail and gnash our teeth as pictures of celebrities attending Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes events popped up in places that we use a lot, like the Internet Movie Database. My complaints, amongst those of others, got that photo event yanked from the front page. People called Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes a “controversial” organisation. But that is missing the mark. Controversy implies that there are two sides to a story at minimum, and all of them deserve consideration.
Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes do not deserve consideration. Contrary to what Oprah Winfrey The Ignorant might think, they are in fact my (and your) equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan.
John, whether you like it or not, your name is very tightly linked with Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes and is still part of their marketing arsenal. Whilst I have explained here how we “real” autistic adults feel about Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes, you have to understand something. Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes do not want people who are not autistic to be aware of what we think of them. If that surprises you, then your silence would be more helpful to us. But as long as people are not thinking “John Elder Robison = guy who used to work for Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes but now wants them banned, in accordance with every other autistic adult”, Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes will continue using you in attempts to further their cause.
What to do about this?
Well, my suggestion of making a video equating Hillary Clinton’s support of Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes making a vote for her tantamount to going back in time and voting for Hitler is one extreme way to make Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes wish to distance themselves from you. Another would be to make videos of your own ideas, telling Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes in no uncertain terms that you consider any use of your work by them to be tantamount to slander.
- Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes will not allow you to be disassociated from them without you making an extreme statement to the effect that you do not wish to be associated with them.
- Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes is a Fight Fire With Fire proposition. You have to make your statements against them as strong and vociferous as you possibly can.
John, until you do things like this, until you talk back to them as loudly as you can, you will not escape the autistic equivalency of house nigger in minds like mine. Because if you think that autistic does not equal nigger in the mind of Suzanne Wright, then you clearly need to talk to more autistic people about her.