Tag Archives | hate

The reason most people can’t become activists

When I started my blog over 4  years ago, I was encouraged and even praised for saying the things that people could relate and agree with. It was encouraging and spurred me on to post more.  But it wasn’t long before little dark spots began to seep through the light. More and more people would hate me, for no apparent reason. They’d argue with me about one topic while I was talking about a whole other topic and be totally confused as to how there ever came to be an argument.

Over the last year especially, I feel like a boxer in the ring, never getting a timeout in between rounds, having to keep my feet moving the whole time all the time keeping my defenses up at the same time.

The more people that become aware of my activism and more so, of me, the more people there is on the opposite side of the boxing ring that are taking swings at me.

There are people that are just looking for fights. They aren’t bad people, they’re just angry. It will not matter at all what you try to discuss, they will pick a fight with you. As I said, sometimes it leads to them arguing about your topic by introducing a whole other topic that has no business being involved in the discussion at all except to serve the purpose of being a reason to fight.

Worst of all though are the bullies. The people that are jealous of what you do, what you’ve become and who you are. If you find yourself on the television news because you are making such a positive difference in people’s lives, you can be sure that you will inherit a whole new group of low life bullies that seek out your Facebook page, your email address, phone number and more. And why? Because you are doing something nice? Because you’re helping people?

I kind of look at activism in much the same way as gambling. You take a big risk putting yourself out there and in the beginning, you get a few small wins. Those wins make you think that you really have a shot at doing well. So you start putting in more time and taking bigger risks. Eventually though, you start wondering if all those wins are really worth it when you start to realize that the deeper you get, the better the chances are that you’ll lose it all.

You can see this happen with celebrities. No matter how well loved or celebrated they may be, by the entire world it seems, they will still always have a very vocal group of people that want nothing more than to cut that celebrity down and make them feel terrible. There’s no reason for it, or at least I should say, no logical reason that I would ever see. I am sure those people have their reasons but I make no effort to understand nor share in those reasons.

When I started my Minecraft server to help children with autism and their families, I became a huge target of this. The more people that knew my name, the more I would receive emails, phone calls, friend requests and more… and not to be my friend neither. It was to send me threats or terrible messages.

I don’t often speak or write about it but the truth is, the more that I get recognized, the more I get targeted by bad people.

Over the last year I’ve heard from many children with autism saying that they wish to do the same as I have done, or even more. And while I admire that in them and I applaud them for wanting to do good in this world, a part of me fears for them. I know what is awaiting them if they were to try do something grand, something wonderful. What’s waiting for them isn’t so wonderful.

I sit and watch as someone shares on Facebook how they do something wonderful in their community to make sure that people that are going hungry will get food donations… I watch as praise comes in for a while until eventually the conversation spirals out of control and turns into arguments and turmoil and eventually this person doing this great thing is left wondering what they just got themselves into.

It’s important to remind yourself, if you blog, run a program, do charity work or any other sort of activism, it’s worth it.

The people you help are a very real tangible thing. That’s progress, that’s a change in the world. That’s something.

People that try to upset you, anger you, fight with you or just be a terrible human being in general, that’s nothing. That’s not real. That’s a tiny little thing in the world coming from a tiny little person.

Over time, with enough of them doing it long enough, it can become overwhelming and we question what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and if we can do it any longer but the truth is… we really can.

That one terrible person may shout louder than the 100 great people that are supporting you but it’s still just one person out of a hundred. You must never lose sight of the big picture and that big picture is bigger than you, it’s bigger than the terrible people in the world… it is the world.

Keep your head up, keep walking passed the haters.

And if you can’t, help someone that can. Stay behind the scenes, there’s no shame in that.

So long as progress is made, so long as a difference is being made.

Never let one terrible person stop you from all the good you can do.

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Your brand of acceptance is hurting us

hurting_usIf you’ve ever lashed out at someone in anger, if you’ve ever expressed your opinion as if it were fact in opposition of someone else’s opinion, if you’ve ever labelled a complete stranger as something terrible when you couldn’t possibly know, if you’ve ever accused a stranger of something without possibly being able to know if it’s true or false, if you’ve ever attacked someone because they think differently than you… you are a part of the problem.

If you fight for acceptance for yourself, a loved one or on behalf of an entire community but you use hate, anger, bullying, accusations or any other form of verbal (or physical) attack as a method of gaining that acceptance… you are hurting us, not helping.

I have watched for years as the media tries to portray autistics as potential time bombs of aggressively violent energy. They try to pin autism on mass shootings or tell stories of padded cells in classrooms that are designed solely for autistic children. I hate seeing these stories but I do like the aftermath in which the entire community often joins together in an effort to show the media and the world just how wrong these portrayals are.

But then I visit a Facebook fan page, read a Twitter update or scroll through the comments on an autism blog and what I find is so discouraging. I see good people fighting a good fight but instead of sharing or expressing opinions, they’re lashing out. They’re hating each other. They’re… aggressively violent.

When I see a self advocate lash out repeatedly at parents or even other autistics, accusing them of being potential murderers or I see a parent telling all other parents that they must hate their children because they don’t word things in a certain way or I see a parent accusing another parent of supporting domestic violence because they don’t report their autistic child for having a meltdown… I see our collective efforts falling backwards. Not progress.

All this negativity, all this lashing out, the accusations, don’t you see where the media is getting it from? Don’t you see where the misconceptions are coming from? It’s not from something they make up. It’s not from fantasy. It’s from you.

How can I ever hope to prove to anyone that autistics are good people, because I’m a good person and my son is a good person and other autistics that I know are good people, when I see so many other autistics that are so full of hate everywhere they go? How can I ever prove that parents want a more peaceful, tolerant and accepting world for their children when I see so many other parents focusing so much of their time and energy on judging and hating other parents that they don’t even know?

If acceptance is what you want but all you ever seem to do is hate… you are hurting us. And by us, I mean you and me and everyone. You are a part of the problem. Like a car crash during a Formula One race, you are what the people will see and they’ll think that’s all there is. They’ll quickly forget all the good things done and all the great things said and they’ll report on your hate. And that’s how we will all be painted.

What I fear most is that you won’t even realize that you are the one that hurt us. You won’t even realize that you hate the media even more after and be even more hateful then before. And you won’t even realize that the hate you spread will only hurt us more from there.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but it’s what I see. It’s what my opinion is.

You might not like me for saying it but if you are trying to hurt someone else, then you are the problem. You are hurting us.

And honestly, if you don’t like that I’m saying this then perhaps you should ask yourself why that is. Perhaps it has more to do with you than it does me.

 

This is part 3 of what I want to say on bullying, hate and the autism community.
Parts 1 and 2 can be found here:
Hate me, for I am but a lowly autism parent!
Adults are bullied too. Don’t let it happen to you.

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How to go beyond prejudice and hate

There are times when my faith in humanity is restored, as rare as they are, when someone might go out of their way to help someone they don’t know or when someone goes above and beyond to help charities or groups. Those are nice moments and I celebrate them. But it also saddens me because it also means two things: 1) my faith in humanity is lost most of the time and 2) I am celebrating what should be considered the average thing for people to do.

In this last week, I’ve had no reason to celebrate and my faith in humanity lowered even more, which I did not think possible.

First was a Cheerios commercial with a child pranking her father by putting cereal all over him while he was sleeping. Innocent enough and made for a funny cereal commercial. However, it sparked an uproar as many many haters came out from their shadows (often times very public political and journalistic shadows) to have their say in how evil this commercial was for the simple reason that the family in the commercial was of mixed race. Which I personally do not understand as ever person in it was clearly of the human race, but I digress.

Here is the commercial:

Cute right? If you hate it, feel free to not comment. No one wants to hear from you.

Next, we have an 11 year old child with more talent than most of us will ever dream of having, singing the national anthem at a basketball game. Now this kid, he didn’t just do well for an 11 year old, he did better than most adults I see attempting to do the same thing. And I say “attempting to do the same thing” because after this kid’s performance, I am reluctant to call what those other people did as singing the national anthem. He’s just that good.

His name is Sebastien De La Cruz and if his name doesn’t give enough reason to figure out where the hate originated with this one, perhaps the video will. Before you watch though, understand this… this child is American. And he’s awesome.

His crime, according to the haters? Not being white enough I guess. They say it’s because he’s from a family of immigrants but that can’t be it since all the people hating are also descended from immigrants. Also, I’d argue that if he was from any country at all anywhere, they wouldn’t have said anything if only he had been a white kid. But hey, let’s call it like it is. This kid is far more talented than they are, he was the one out there, asked to perform and receiving the standing ovation. I am jealous too! It’s just that I don’t use that as an excuse to hate him for anything I and everything I can no matter how petty.

Again, if you disagree with me and think it’s ok to hate this kid, feel free to comment… somewhere else. No one wants to read what you have to say.

Finally, we have the ultimate in hate, murder. Alex Spourdalakis, a teen aged boy with severe autism was bound to his bed in a hospital and eventually murdered by his mother and godmother as they claimed that caring for him was just too difficult. The truth there is that they simply hated him. They hated that he made them work. They hated that he tested them. They resented him.

The story here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=9136005

Now, some people try to say that it’s not the mother’s fault, that parenting is stressful and that having a child like Alex can push you to the extreme… fine. I can agree with that. It can be hard and it can push you. But murder is still murder. Hating someone for making your life difficult is still hate.

Because this child was not the child they had dreamed of, because this child needed more care and a more devoted and caring mother than what she was capable of, they felt it was ok to kill him. I suppose they felt they were doing him a favour, which is clearly a ridiculous notion.

Then, it happened. A knock at my door by a Jehova’s Witness. Who’s lesson he was attempting to share was that hate and prejudice are everywhere but that God is not that way nor did he intend it to be that way. Then, he asked me:

“Do you think people will ever move beyond prejudice and hate? Do you think God is prejudiced?”

I stood there, debating in my mind, whether to slam the door in his face or to let him know what I really think about hate, people and God.

I must have debated longer than I should have because he repeated the question.

I took a big breath and said this:

“No, people will not move beyond prejudice and hate so long as one person is different from another. Should we all eventually develop the same skin colour, we’ll simply find some other reason to hate them. like those with special needs, as an example. We can’t stop the prejudice as it’s something that is a part of us. We see each other for the first time and we instinctively put the pieces together in our minds no matter how hard we try not to. You dress nice, you take care of yourself, you talk to people about good things, you’re clearly a good person. I pre-judged you the moment I opened the door. The thing is, it doesn’t always have to be about hate. I judged you but in a good way. I can respect those that clearly are hard workers, good parents and that do good things even before I get a chance to know them because of my prejudice towards them.

The trick isn’t to stop judging each other but to stop thinking that we always have to do so in a negative way. We have to stop hating people for the differences we don’t approve of and start liking people for the differences we do approve of.

Do I think God is prejudiced? A bit of a trick question if prejudice is to mean “pre-judge before knowing” and God is supposed to know all. But otherwise, of course. But not in a negative way. Everyone is better or worse than someone else at something. To know that, even to assume that as a pre-judgement, is prejudice. To look at a couple in a park that is laughing with their child is to pre-judge them as good parents. They might not be. But it’s a positive prejudice that I might have.

Will we ever move beyond prejudice and hate? No. No we won’t. And right now, society has proven to me that it is anything but an open minded and positive force. But maybe someday. Somehow.”

With that, he closed his bible and said “That’s interesting. I never really thought of it like that”, shook my hand and said goodbye.

Man I hated him for showing up when he did and asking that question. Man I hated people in general and his timing just really enraged me so much.

But the answer that I gave him, it wasn’t what I thought I was going to say at all. As I thought about it after I got back to my desk, I kinda realized that maybe my faith in people isn’t completely lost.

At least, not yet.

humanity_ocean

 

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Resenting or even hating a family member with Autism

My wife just started a new part time job selling children’s clothing at a local store, it’s a perfect job for her since she loves children and she loves dressing them up just as much. It’s been a couple of weeks and so her co-workers have adjusted to her being there and as such, found herself in quite the interesting conversation with one of them.

Cameron and Tyler

Brothers

The topic came up about our children, how Cameron has Autism and Tyler does not. At this point her co-worker shared that her brother has Autism and more so than that, she actually resents him… to the point of hating him.

Now, before I tell you what my wife’s response was to this, I’d first like to speculate just how much this might be the truth for other people out there… perhaps even more people than we might be aware of because it’s very likely that most would never confess such a thing, certainly not to anyone that would ever deliver that news back to the family.

It got me to thinking about it and even though I don’t understand, I sort of do understand too.

First of all, a sibling with Autism is likely to not play well with you, perhaps not even involve you at all and would have great difficulty sharing. Meanwhile your parents would likely ride you to no end to be extra nice to them because “it’s not their fault.”

You’d likely have to have them tag along with you or have them at your gatherings and so forth because it’s likely that your sibling wouldn’t have many friends if they have Autism. It’s possible, depending on severity, that they never really even had a normal birthday party and as such, your parents would impose all these extra demands and responsibilities on you, on your special day, to help your sibling feel involved.

I think you see where I’m going, the list can go on and on… even a high functioning sibling with Aspergers could become a burden on your life that you might grow to resent.

I would hope that most rational people would grow out of that resentment and finally understand what it was their parents were trying to do, but there’s no real guarantee of that happening, especially if the parents don’t recognize that and help it along some.

If the sibling is quite low functioning and needing a lot of help, to the point of (in your mind) stealing all of your parent’s time away from you… well, it’s easy to see where the resentment could grow from there.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I can see how my wife’s co-worker could feel that way… how I kind of feel bad for her that she had to feel that for so long. Not because she is a bad person for feeling it, but because she never had the guidance she needed to help her understand how much good she was doing in all the things she was likely asked to do, or sacrifice. That she was a needed part of her sibling’s upbringing and life to this day.

I certainly can’t say that she’s justified in feeling that way, no one should resent or hate anyone for having Autism. They didn’t choose to have Autism. But when I put some thought into it, I can sort of understand how it may have come to be.

I think it’s just important that we remember that it’s a distinct possibility in our own children. To always remember that siblings can resent each other no matter the situation but it’s so very easy to happen when one child is “different.” My little one, Tyler, is a very very kind soul and something tells me I will have nothing to worry about, but I can’t ever let it slip though. If we are not careful, if we miss something, he could hold a resentment just as my wife’s co-worker does. And I would hate for that to happen.

So what did my wife say to her in response to that? I’m paraphrasing a bit here but basically she told her co-worker, and all her co-workers:

“Honestly, if any of you deliberately ignore someone who comes in and has a disability of any kind, not only will I call you out on it and set you straight, I will never, ever talk to you again. It’s just something I will not tolerate.”

Not only am I proud of her, but so were her managers. They agreed, everyone that walks in gets treated the same, disorder, disability or nothing.

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