Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skirting the Feminist Grievance Lexicon, While Ending Up Thinking Autism Advocacy

Let me begin this story by telling everyone that I am not a feminist. I am a women's rights supporter. To me there is a huge difference, here's why:

Modern Feminism and the Death of Female Empowerment
What Strong Women Look Like
The Sanctimonious Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Homemakers Insulted Yet Again, on so Many Levels
It's Not About Contraception Its About Self-Respect
Sorry You Can't Have It All: Stop Your Bitchin'
Dissing the SAHM

(and on a more pointed note-not written by me- this is why I have no need of today's feminists and HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE)

Meanwhile the other day I was having a rather interesting discussion on line about a legal issue. The gentleman on the other side of the internet then gets all condescending and starts to explain a part of the Constitution (he was wrong) and what certain legal words mean (while he was right as to their meaning, he wrong wrong in the application of the discussion.) He was also very wrong about the purpose of the law in question and its use and breath. He complained vociferously about the underhanded political issues of the case. Railing against the criminal enterprise (known as a Washington DC politician) that was taking advantage of the situation, etc etc etc. He then said that we were going around in circles in our discussion and basically implied that I should stop. He has done that on other occasions as well during a discussion. I tended to stop before simply because its useless to argue with someone who only wants to preach and not to listen. Honestly this last time though, I felt like he told me to go make him a sammich....

Well I got my hackles up and interestingly enough was so annoyed that the next thing I did was to write him back (without sending it) deriding him for mansplaining. Yeah I guess I was so mad that I reached into my grabbag of memories and pulled out one of the most obnoxious words I had ever heard. Mansplaining, that feminist grievance lexicon where you decide that a male is condescending to you because you are female. Quickly recouping myself, I never sent the comment, happily I realized what I had done.

Instead of meeting his attack head on with facts, figures and stubbornly reliable information I simply had decided to accuse him of being a bully because I was female. Now I knew better than that. This man was not picking on me because I was female and quite frankly he wasn't really bullying me either, he was disagreeing with me and not listening to what I had to say. Was he condescending? Yeah I thought so, but then again I doubt he did. What was the outcome? I wrote something more along the lines of (paraphrased): Remember I am a lawyer schooled in Constitutional and civil rights law. I am quite aware of what legal precedent happens to be and how it is used. Judges do legislate from the bench especially the Supreme Court (I gave him an example). Also I mentioned that we are not going around in circles, he was trying to invalidate what I was saying and I was not letting him. 

(HERE is a blog post I wrote on the subject were discussing. Yep wrote a whole blogpost about the topic. Honestly, if I ever let anything go, would my children get the support and help that they needed, when they needed it, in a timely manner that it could do some good? Of course not. It's my suckerfish attitude towards issues that gets them where they are supposed to go. Listen obsessiveness like this doesn't just go away when its not an autism issue. Personalities don't work that way. Heck I embrace this part of me as much as I tell the boys to embrace the entire of themselves. Just one caveat: make sure to use your powers for good and not evil. Well at least only a little evil, as long as the desired outcome is for some that too Sithy for everyone?)

Now my comment ended up being much better than going in all feminist whiner. Yes I am certain that he had an answer for me too. Hubby said that I should leave it alone and not comment on what he writes anymore. The man simply isn't interested in my disagreements and won't ever admit that he was wrong. He did mention that we should agree to disagree. I took hubby's advice, did not look back and won't. (FYI- I do consider this man an on-line acquaintance. He is a well-written, well-read political author.)

But for me, the truly disturbing thing about this episode was just how quickly I was able to jump into grievance mode. It came really, really easy. I shocked myself. I never thought of myself as a complainer or as someone who looked beyond the topic that was in front of me. I tend to not blame "identity issues" when people don't agree with me or give me a hard time. I don't walk around with a chip on my shoulder towards men about being female. I definitely am shown more disrespect from other women about being a SAHM than from males. Real family men tend to appreciate what we SAHM do, my comment partner included. So what was it? Still working it out actually.

Figuring out the grievance-trigger is important. I always tell the boys to NEVER blame anything that happens to them on their autism. (CM2 actually did try to get out of detention one day in highschool by claiming the school didn't understand aspergers. Well I put a stop to that one right away.) Yes autism is a part of who they are, as much as they are male. And yes, their aspergers will lead them in many different directions in life and there will be people who won't get them and will make their lives more difficult. (Many of those situations already faced have been recounted on this blog.) I teach them the trick to staying within any particular setting is to figure out if the situation is tenable, something worthwhile to fight for or should you save your strength for another day and tell the asshats to take a flying leap? (You pick and chose your battles in life no matter the issue.) I explain to them that what ever happens to them it is also vitally important not to get caught up in the woe-is-me crowd. It will only drag you down and prevent you from fulfilling your destiny.

The Trick is to Not be the Asshole....

Furthermore, using aspergers or autism as an excuse can be dangerous for our children. If you don't teach your children that their autism is NOT an excuse for poor /illegal/inappropriate behavior then you remove a major boundary for them and could put them on a collision course for real trouble in life. A slippery slope that society will have no part of, by the way.

Autism Used This Time as an Excuse for Criminality
Autism as an Excuse for More Criminal Behavior-You're Not Going to Believe This One
Destructiveness of Entitlement

So what is the moral of this tale? Apparently, it is easy for anyone to fall into bad habits no matter how old we are, no matter how hard we have worked to prevent ourselves from being caught up in something we consider nonsensical. I suppose we need to be on guard about our own human foibles. Eternally vigilant to say the least. The question becomes what are those pointers, which I can pass on to those youngmen of mine, so that they are on guard for the same mistake I almost made. I suppose I can only impress upon them the need for accountability on all levels in life. That is definitely a good place to start.


Meanwhile I don't want to let society off the hook either when it comes to autism awareness. They too have a job to do and that is to learn to be accepting, generous, kind and compassionate. From a post I wrote April 2010:

Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.

                                                            Obi-Won Kenobi, Return of the Jedi, LucasFilm,Ltd

I think perspective, as with the truths we hold dear, depends greatly upon our day to day lives. But more than even that, we want the world to see us, our families but most importantly, our children, as people.  We want the world’s perception of our children to be one of respect and care and kindness. We don’t want them to be pre-judged because they have a disability, but we also don’t want them to be ignored because they have a disability either. We want the perception of society to be one of openness and an out stretched hand. One that says here we are, you are welcome in our world, you are welcome in our society. Come with us and together we will brave the future.

But the question for us is how to we get people to change their perspectives so that our children are seen as the people they are but with an acknowledgement of their issues? How do we get society to think outside of their own perceptions and acknowledge that not everyone’s life is like the one they lead? I don’t really know. Hubby once said that if the boys had not had autism, he might have been one of those parents upset that children with these disabilities were going to be included in school instead of in special classrooms. He was never angry at the parents in town who tried to stop the inclusion program. Of course, he also fought tooth and nail to make sure it happened for his sons, but he was able to understand the other side as well. It was a matter of education that is all. Truthfully after a few years of inclusion, there is no more hullaballoo. It is the way things are done here. Special education alongside regular education all together in one big societal mishmash. Well as much as this suburban county can be called a societal mishmash.

I think hubby has an amazing unique voice in this world. He has an uncanny ability to see the other side (except when he is arguing with me of course) I always wonder if that is from his daily legal experience. Life for him is being able to see every perspective before you fight for your client. Or perhaps, because he has this uncanny ability to see the world through other people’s eyes is what makes law a perfect profession for him. Don’t know, but what I do know is that he can keep you grounded and allow you to take stock of reality. Everything is never one side or the other, OK unless you are picking on a four year old child and thinking it’s funny. The reality is, is that gray covers more of life than what we would like to admit.  Is it easy? Not really. Is it worth the effort to make society see our children? We have no choice if we are to secure for them a future. They also have the right to a future like anyone else in this world. Just how do we do that is the question? How do we make society see our perspective? How do we get society to perceive life the way we do? How do we get society to see us and not see through us?


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Myths About Autism

From the Autistic Self-Advocacy Organization
Nothing About Us Without Us

1. Autism is contagious.
Nope! You can't catch autism.
Autism is something some people are born with, like blue eyes or red hair or a brain that is very good at some things and has more trouble with others. 

2. Autism is caused by vaccines.
Vaccines do not cause autism. Please make sure your kids get their shots.

3. Autism is a disease.
Nope! Autism is a developmental disability some people are born with, like dyslexia or Down Syndrome. It is not a disease. It is a difference, and a disability. 

4. Autism is a tragedy.
Nope! With the right support, autistic people can go to school, communicate, work, live in the community, have friends, get married, start families, vote, pursue their interests, and anything else they might want to do. 

5. Autistic people are eternal children.
Nope! Autistic people grow up. An autistic 20 year old is not a toddler in a 20 year old's body--they are an autistic 20 year old. 

6. You can grow out of autism.
Nope! Autism is a life-long developmental disability. Autistic children grow up into autistic adults. The same percentage of adults and children are autistic. 

7. Autism means not being able to speak.
Communication disability is a part of diagnostic criteria for autism, but most autistic people do develop the ability to talk. About 15-20% of autistic people do not develop oral speech. They can use Augmentative & Alternative Communication to speak for themselves. 
8. Autism means intellectual disability.
About 15-25% of autistic people also have an intellectual disability. Most autistic people are not intellectually disabled. Intellectual disability is not a part of autism, but some people have both. 

9. Autistic people lack empathy.
Nope! Autistic people feel empathy for other people. Autistic people are people, not robots. 

10. All autistic people are savants.
About 10% of autistic people have savant skills like perfect pitch, photographic memory, or calendar calculation. Most autistic people are not savants. 

11. Autistic people suffer from autism.
Autistic people suffer from prejudice and discrimination. Autistic people suffer when they do not get the support and accommodation they need, when they receive substandard or segregated education or living environments, when they are kept out of the community or kept unemployed, when their civil and human rights are violated, or when their access to communication and the right to make decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures are denied. Autistic people do not suffer from autism.

12. Only boys are autistic.
An autistic woman wrote this factsheet.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Passover-Next Year in a Forever Unified Jerusalem, Israel

Chag Pesach Sameach.....


Monday night marks the first night of Passover. This is the yearly recounting of the Exodus from Egypt. This is the holiday where the Jewish people remember their passage from slavery into freedom. Where they reclaimed the land that God had promised Abraham through Isaac for his children.

The last line of the Haggadah, the ritual book read to celebrate the Passover, is "Next Year in Jerusalem." Over 2500 years ago, Kind David purchased from the Jebusite King the mountain and surrounding land that would become the capital of the State of Israel. Today that capital is revitalized and rebuilt. It is unified. It is whole. It is a holy city open to all who wish to worship peacefully no matter what their religion, their ethnicity, their creed.

In the end, however,  Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish heart and the capital of the Jewish soul. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Only those bent on another holocaust, only those who delegitimize, disenfranchise and dehumanize the Jewish people, would never acknowledge nor respect the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem or even the land of Israel in general.

 This hate also has no boundaries, and no borders. It is celebrated in capitals around the globe. It is celebrated on college campuses worldwide. It is taught with abandon and with pride. Murdering Jewish children once again has become the worlds' favorite celebrated and honored past-time. Sadly 70 years after the Holocaust this most evil of hatreds is arisen once again and once again it has no shame. In fact, during the recent peace negotiations, the President of the United States and his Secretary of State, have refused to condemn Israel's negotiating partner for supporting and promoting violence and antisemitism against Jewish civilians.


I Support Ayaan Hirsi Ali and a Woman's Right to their Own Life and Bodily Integrity

As I have done before, at times I talk about other topics besides autism. One topic is the fight against fgm, gender apartheid and honor violence. I believe in the bodily integrity of every woman (especially in her right to sexual pleasure and sexual choice) and her right to live the life she chooses.

You may have heard that Brandeis University withdrew an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, champion of women's rights in the Moslem world, claiming she is "Islamophobic." (We can also have a discussion about the history of that word, who created it and why at  a later date.) Below is a video discussion about the issue from the Wall Street Journal and Hirsi Ali's interview with Megan Kelly on Fox.

HERE is a link to her Foundation and some informational pages: 

Here are some relevant articles on the Brandeis controversy:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her own words

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's response to Brandeis

What I would have said at Brandeis: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Here is one of the speeches Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave that has her opponents up in arms:

Raised on Hatred.

Would someone tell me why being against female genital mutilation, gender apartheid, honor violence and fighting for the belief that women are entitled to equality with men is somehow racist simply because the religion being opposed is Islam? This is political correctness and cultural relativism run amok. Shame on Brandeis University. Moreover they denigrate the US Constitution and the right of freedom of speech so enshrined in our nation.  They embarrass their namesake.

Whining About Mansplaining Instead of Fighting Female Genital Mutilation

NOTE: Remember CAIR, that opposes Hirsi Ali, is an unindicted co-conspirator in a case that sent people to prison for funding terror, and is a political arm of the Islamist Moslem Brotherhood in the USA. The Moslem Brotherhood gave birth to organizations like Al-Qaeda. CAIR also supports the denigration of the US First Amendment by promoting anti-blasphemy laws that would curtail freedom of speech by penalizing you if you criticize Islam. This law is promoted by the UN and the OIC, and our presumed Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential race.

 I am infuriated and ashamed of my fellow Jews. Glad that I withdrew my application to Brandeis when I applied to college.