Sunday, May 8, 2016

Repentant Heart or Stupid Fool

So, for those who may not know, some rapper I have never listened to and never will received backlash this week for a video he posted on social media of a young man while that young man was working. The rapper? 50 Cent. What kind of nickname is that?  I don't know but I do think his nickname sure matches what his personality is worth. 

What was the issue? The issue is that the young man he chose to defame this time is autistic and hard of hearing. But the rapper claimed he was high on drugs and whatever else. The rapper got up in the young man's personal space video recording him and tearing him down.

Now for those of you do not know, I am also autistic. I am autistic and a Christian. BUT, here's where things get me. While 50 Cent made an "apology" and then a donation to Autism Speaks, his apology could not have been sincere and he could not have been repentant. And I cannot forgive him. 

Why? 

This is not 50 Cent's first act of hostility against the autistics. Back in 2012, he made a comment to a fan on his Twitter feed saying that the fan looked autistic and that he didn't want special Ed kids following him. And back in 2012, he got backlash, apologized, and made a donation to Autism Speaks. 

Yet here we are again. 

I have seen some pretty brutal things in the days following this new situation. Everything from well, how could he know the guy was autistic or why wasn't the guy wearing a sign? 

What? Are we going back to those days? Really? 

Of course, I told one of those people saying the guy should have been wearing a sign that maybe he needed to wear a sign so autistics would know he was an ignorant person. 

I did take some time to process things before I wrote a statement myself to 50 Cent and in that I expressed honestly that I cannot forgive him as this was not his first offense. I also expressed concern for what his kid might be learning. 

Look, I know as a Christian I should be forgiving, but when someone evidences the level of hate toward someone like me repeatedly, it gets harder because there is that thing called a repentant heart. Did 50 Cent learn from the first time? Clearly not. And I wonder how many other times he has done this before that, before social media allowed information to be shared faster than ever before? 

50 Cent is not a good human being. Even if the young man had not been disabled and just doing his job, a good human being does not make accusatory videos like that then post them on social media. A good human being simply does not do that kind of thing.

But here's the thing that makes me angry: that young man might look autistic (neither do I), but odds are that if we don't look autistic (what does autism look like though, really) that a lot of time was spent in therapy and interventions so that we don't look autistic. However, the thing that could hurt the most is that that video could have cost that young man his job, a job which was not easy for him to get in the first place and is not easy to keep. I know all too well the difficulty in getting and keeping a job for as much as I try, I just don't have success getting past the interview stage. 

For the most part, many autistics are unemployed or underemployed because while the autism itself is not necessarily disabling, societal attitudes are. Society thinks that if we do not fit their mold, in their little boxes, that we are broken, less than deserving, less than human.... I know this as I experienced some of those attitudes from a church of all places. And the thing is, I have lived with those attitudes all my life, even before my official diagnosis was made. 

Would it have been different for me had we known before? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. But does it have to remain that way? Absolutely not. 

My life took a weird turn over the course of the last few months or so. I became an advocate. And here's the thing: my advocacy might have more potential than that of those who do not actually have the disabilities they advocate for. Because while they may be advocating, they don't actually live it. 

I have seen a lot of people say that 50 Cent should be required to work with autistics. As an autistic, I say no, he should not be allowed around them unsupervised. He has not evidenced the ability to even be a respectful human being. 

Reflection: I am not sure who is scarier at this point - 50 Cent or Trump. 

Dear God, I pray that as I wrestle through some of these hard-hitting issues that You strengthen me and give me wisdom. May others learn through what I have experienced and through what I write about, which is what I know. And bless the mothers out there today. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Tow Truck and His "Christianity"

The story making the rounds this week, and there is another one I will address in another post because the sensitive nature of it is one I need some more time to process a post about, is about the disabled woman who was abandoned on the side of the road after an accident by a tow truck that was dispatched to her. 

After much information gathering to get the full report that has been published (many sources only chose blurbs), what we know of the woman is that she was driving out of her home state and was involved in a collision when a semi cut into her lane. Her car became non-functional and she called a mechanic who is aware of her multiple disabilities. He dispatched a tow truck to her location informing them of the disabilities. But the tow truck arrived and then denied her service because she is a Sanders supporter. 

What he also know is that the driver claimed God told him to leave her there and that he claims he is not a bigot. Let me remind you what the definition of a bigot is: anyone who is intolerant of another's expression of their opinion. Bigotry can come in many forms. The tow truck driver acted, not out of Christianity, but out of bigotry when he denied that woman service. 

You shall know them by their fruit. You shall indeed! What that man did was not Christlike. It was hatred. And further,ore, it left a disabled woman stranded until another truck could be dispatched to her.

He claimed that other people had not paid him his fee. But in this case, he did not even ask for the fee because as soon as he saw her bumper sticker, he developed some preconceived notion about that woman. 

I have written our own insurance company about it and suggested a blacklist because while my family will not put bumper stickers on the car, not even the ones that explain about autism, for this very reason, I would hate to imagine what he would do if he encountered us. 

The man also is a confessed Trump supporter. 

Here is what I know about Trump. Trump is NOT a Christian. Trump is hateful. Trump spreads fear and hate everywhere he goes. We have children in classes around the country fearing for their lives. We have disabled people fearing for their lives. And all because of Trump. 

Here is why I, too, am also fearful because of Trump: I posted my opinion of the story after I had done elaborate research to make sure I was getting the full story as a few of the media outlets mentioned for full story see this source. I then developed my opinion based upon the information I did gather. While I have had a few that have agreed with me, many of attacked me, some even going so far as to flat out attack and insult me and call me stupid. 

As an autistic woman, any comment calling me stupid is deemed as hate speech. Any comment trying to discredit me just because I am autistic is deemed as hate speech. And none of it is tolerated. Autistics are not stupid. But these are Trump supporters for you apparently. If his supporters are like that, I do not want Trumo anywhere near the White House! 

Many have even tried to say if the woman was too disabled to lift the hood of her car that she should not have been driving. There is nothing in the driver prerequisites saying one needs to be able to lift the hood of the car! 

I will say this though, my job, unpaid as it may be, is advocacy. I advocate for me. I advocate for others like me. And in my advocacy, I educate. Unless someone chooses to remain willfully ignorant. Then I block. Because I cannot allow that kind of toxic into my life. 

As TobyMac says, "Speak Life." And I believe those words actually originated with Jesus. 

What can you do if you are reading this? 

First, do not give that tow truck driver your business. Second, if you see a stranded motorist for whatever the reason, and if it is safe for you to do so, help them. 

To that tow truck driver: Shame on you. You were mean and hateful and being a bigot. You were not Christlike. 

Dear God, some of my posts through the remainder of the year will be highlighting current events that hit me hardest. May people who read about it be open-minded enough to learn something from them. They will be hardcore like me because You have matured me in a way that is uniquely the way You have chosen to shape me at this point. Thank You for the experiences You have chosen to allow me to have so I can speak life to others even when life has not been spoken to me. Thank You, in Jesus' Name, Amen!

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