Setting The Record Straight On My BIAW Autism Comments

I have recieved an email criticising some comments that I made on the BIAW forum relating to Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. The author of this email interpreted my comments as ‘making jokes’ at the expense of individuals who suffer from these conditions, and vowed to forward her email, or a variation of it, to others on the island in order to expose me as someone who denigrates these conditions. It is as a result of this email that I feel it necessary to clarify my comments and apologise for any misperceptions resulting from them.

I would ask that readers review the thread on BIAW were the comments were made, however I will also copy and paste them here. I have also posted a follow-up comment on that thread similar in effect to this one. I should note that I post on that forum under the pen-name ‘Crimson Dynamo’, which is more an accidental pen-name than anything else, and I have never hid behind it; I am quite open as to my identity.

The offending comments on that thread were:

No offence, but I do sometimes get the impression you may have a form of Aspergers syndrom. I’m not saying that to be mean or anything, it’s purely just an impression I get sometimes, based on my own experiences with people with it.

Followed by:

I just want to be clear that I don’t know this guy from Adam, and I am not belittling Aspergers syndrome. It’s just an impression I have. But then, I tend to think most Randroids have it…

[The second statement was in reaction to a fellow poster there clearly misinterpreting my original statement as intending to be a joke.]

I think it is important to stress here that I am quite familiar with Aspergers Syndrome and High Functioning Autism as a whole, as well as autism in general. Sufferers of these conditions are within my close social network, or closely related to them. Indeed, the reason that I mentioned it in the post itself was because I happen to know a fellow Bermudian who has a mild form of this condition, who also happens to espouse Objectivist ideologies (which the person the comment was directed at also does) and I suspected the two were the same people. It was sort of a friendly sounding out of the individual in question (who posts on BIAW, as well as here infrequently, under the pen-name J. Galt).

I had thought that I had made it clear in my initial statement, and explicitly so in the second one, that I was in no way attempting to denigrate the condition. I apologise unreservedly should people have perceived that I was indeed denigrating them.

I should also say that I only know three Objectivists personally, of these one is the individual mentioned above who I know to have a mild form of this Autism. The other two share characteristics related to the syndrome, although I concede I have never confirmed this with them. It was on this basis that I suggested that ‘I tend to think most Randroids have it’.

I hope that I have cleared up any misunderstandings on this issue, although I am quite happy to further expand on it should readers have any further concerns. I also hope that readers and those who may recieve emails accusing me of ridiculing autism feel confident to hold me to account.

Having said the above, the issue does provide the potential to develop a better understanding of the complex issues relating to autism in our society, and I would be delighted should readers want to discuss these issues here. To that end I would also like to direct readers to the site of BASE – Bermuda Autism Support & Education. BASE does alot of excellent work relating to autism in Bermuda and I encourage readers to contact them for more detailed information.

Advertisements

41 thoughts on “Setting The Record Straight On My BIAW Autism Comments

  1. Typical Marxist….

    Drop the bomb, create damage, then say…I thought the operator left out the detonator.

    Gotta run…….”Jimmy O’Cody” on dee lyne…………………….

    Ps. I hope your studies are going well, or over. Because your spin will not work in Bermuda.

  2. As I said on that thread, Jonny, when I read your post, I didn’t find anything objectionable or offensive in it and, in fact, read it as an honest observation. I’m not sure you were on the right track with it, but, if you were correct, it would explain a whole lot.
    From what little I know about Aspergers, for folks with it, change is difficult and unpleasant. Any kind of change in what they’re used to is a challenge, which would explain the “I want what I want and no one should tell me any different and if they do, I’m not going to listen” way that the gentleman in question argues. Again, I’m not sure there’s an actual correlation, but I do think it’s a valid question.

  3. Frankly, I find it difficult to see why you were criticised.

    Maybe the view was taken that you are not an expert on the subject and, as such, should not have commented upon it. A narrow view, and even then, that relies upon the writer having a knowledge of what you know and don’t know.

    Strange. Maybe in the final analysis, it is simply that some people are obviously sensitive about certain matters?

    I suspect the writer won’t comment on this thread – which is a shame.

  4. I understand the context in which the individual in question reacted to my comments, and in fairness to the individual, they have since acknowledged that they may have misread my position. At the end of the day, this person is closely affected by issues relating to autism, and is, thus, understandably sensitive to the topic. I completely understand how people in such a situation could easily have reacted, as this person did, and I do not begrudge it.

    Autism is a tricky, and often misunderstood, condition, and one that has a huge impact on the families involved. The Bermuda Autism Support & Education group do a lot of good work on this issue, and I am led to understand they are working closely with the Ministry of Education on programs within the school system to assist children who have any form of the autism spectrum.

    There are a lot of issues that affect our people, from alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse, learning difficulties (like various dyslexia), mental health issues (I understand we have an unusually high rate of shizophrenia and depression for example), and more physical health problems like heart disease and diabetes. I am not sure how I can help contribute to raising awareness on all these issues, let alone effecting beneficial social change relating to them, but I hope this thread, on autism, can be at least a start. Any thoughts?

  5. Wel…..why don’t you say who sent you the email. O rare you just looking for posts.

    I can only assume it would be gentleman that has an austistic child.

    Your garden path is nearing it’s end Johnny. Just come out and tell viewers. I know who sent it too you unless you made it up.

    Rummy.

  6. Jonny you are guilty of using the “I have black friend defense”

    “I think it is important to stress here that I am quite familiar with Aspergers Syndrome and High Functioning Autism as a whole, as well as autism in general. Sufferers of these conditions are within my close social network, or closely related to them.”

    When Jonny said he thought I had Aspergers, I can think fair enough based on the repetitive nature of my posts, my interest in trying to boil down most of them to right or wrong, and the fact that I hold my opinion in the face of social presure from the majority of posters I could see it being taken for akward social interaction. I can understand where he was coming from suggesting I might have Aspergers.

    I cann’t understand him saying “I tend to think most Randroids have it” It does seem to be sterotyping, and a way to dismiss Objectivism by suggesting that most of the people who subscribe to objectivist theory have a mental disorder.

    @ Elvis

    “I want what I want and no one should tell me any different and if they do, I’m not going to listen” way that the gentleman in question argues.

    I try to debate, not argue and how can you say that statement applys to me, I am very open for you or anyone to explain the reasoning behind their posts. When I ask many of the questions I do or give examples, I do so becasue I am curious as to how people would apply their ehics to that situation.

  7. @ J Galt – I think I covered your points in the statement above. I made the original comment based on my previous experiences of people suffering from Aspergers Syndrome, as explained above. I also referred to my experiences with three Objectivists, one of whom does indeed have Aspergers, the others I suspect may also. I do wonder if the ideology is particulary attractive to certain character types, or if the ideology recreates individuals in a certain type, and that is about it. Could equally be pure chance, and three individuals are hardly a large enough sample size.

    @ Rummy – I fail to see the point of naming the individual involved. My decision to post in response to the complaint stemmed more from the concern that if one person had perceived it as such so could others. The important thing, which is all too often forgotten in Bermuda, is not the messenger but the message.

  8. Yes your correct. But remember that you took the “Message” and turned into a thread. And now your concience has become another message.

    Have a great day.

  9. Galt, you really, really don’t, and I’ve shown that you don’t. I don’t want to get into it here, but you know you don’t, i’m sure of it. You evade, you redirect and you mislead. You don’t debate. You play word games, you attack, you ignore. You don’t debate.

  10. Jonathan,

    Unfortunately I think the issue is that you made generalistic statements where you happened to unnecessarily stereotype, display prejudice and ultimately follow it up with a derogatory reference.

    While people may be quick to overlook it, take your statements and reframe them on a racial or sexual orientation basis and I believe you’ll see why people were incensed over the remarks.

  11. Sorry, Denis, but I disagree. I found his statements to be just the opposite. The were focused on what was said, how it was said and, based on his observations and experience, he made a statement. I don’t think they were generalized at all. He was speaking to specifics: behavior, reactions, etc.

  12. As Denis pointed out if you take Jonny’s “statements and reframe them on a racial or sexual orientation basis and I believe you’ll see why people were incensed over the remarks.” I believe if Jonny had used sexual orientation some people who are accpetting of it in its current form would be one of those people that would be incensed by it.

    I’m just like to understand, why people think one would be right and the other wrong. How do they decide that one is acceptable and the other is not.

  13. Can someone reframe his statements on a racial or sexual orientation basis, please? So I can see what this looks like. I don’t think it can be done, but I’d love to see the attempt.

  14. The following is to illustrate a point that any form of stereotyping, prejudice and use of derogatory terms should be avoided. My apologies to individuals of varying sexual orientations for needing to use this as an example which is only done as a means to illustrate that such use should be considered wrong no matter who it is waged against.

    —-

    Uncle Elvis,

    I find your way of drawing comics infuriating and I never know if you are deliberately making them effeminate to get a rise or for genuine reasons. I guess its more your style and what can be at times can be ultra-effeminate which may irritate people sometimes. And it doesn’t help that your self-proclaimed love for effeminate comics is to many rather noxious. No offence, but I do sometimes get the impression you may secretly be a homosexual. I’m not saying that to be mean or anything, it’s purely just an impression I get sometimes, based on my own experiences with homosexuals.

    I just want to be clear that I don’t know you from Adam, and I am not belittling homosexuals. It’s just an impression I have. But then, I tend to think most guys who draw like faggots are…

    I think it is important to stress here that I am quite familiar with homosexuality and gays as a whole, as well as sexual orientation in general. Sufferers of these conditions are within my close social network, or closely related to them. Indeed, the reason that I mentioned it in the post itself was because I happen to know a fellow Bermudian who is a homosexual and also like’s to draw effeminate comics (which the Uncle Elvis also does) and I suspected the two were the same people. It was sort of a friendly sounding out of the individual in question (who posts on BIAW, as well as here infrequently, under the pen-name Uncle Elvis).

    I had thought that I had made it clear in my initial statement, and explicitly so in the second one, that I was in no way attempting to denigrate the condition of homosexuality. I apologise unreservedly should people have perceived that I was indeed denigrating them.

    I should also say that I only know three people who draw effeminate comics personally, of these one is the individual mentioned above who I know to be a homosexual. The other two share characteristics of being homosexuals, although I concede I have never confirmed this with them. It was on this basis that I suggested that ‘I tend to think most guys who draw like faggots are’

    I hope that I have cleared up any misunderstandings on this issue, although I am quite happy to further expand on it should readers have any further concerns. I also hope that readers and those who may recieve emails accusing me of ridiculing homosexuality feel confident to hold me to account.

    —-

    Again, this was only to illustrate the point that generalizing, prejudice and use of derogatory terms should be avoided. Much of the issue we face is that we fail to notice when we’re doing so and when we’re not. The best way to do so is put ourselves in the shoes of the other person and reframe things as I have done above and ask yourself if what you’ve said is reasonable in all contexts.

    It is under that approach we can appreciate why people would have been incensed with Jonathan’s remarks and once reframed it should hopefully be obvious. I have little doubt that Jonathan did not intend to be offensive just as in many cases people who make similar remarks about other subjects do not to be offensive either.

    We are all capable of making such remarks unintending to offend others and I have little doubt that we all have at one time or another. Our goal should be to do what we can to learn from our actions and evolve such that we can hopefully be more balanced and accepting to individuals of all types in the future.

  15. I’ll also note that I chose to use homosexuality as a reference to illustrate a point with regards to ‘friendly sounding out’.

    I think it’s commonly accepted that just because someone has confided in you that they are gay does not mean they want the world to know about it, in public or on the internet, primarily because many people do not understand or appreciate homosexuality and thus can treat a person very differently upon knowing.

    The same goes for other private matters like aspergers and autism. Similarly for public psudonyms. People choose to hide behind psudonyms or hide their secrets because we as a society have not evolved to be accepting of others and their opinions regardless of who they are. Unfortunately in today’s world you’re still highly likely to be the target of generalizing, prejudice and derogatory remarks, regardless of what makes you an individual.

  16. Well…
    Ok, understand that I get where you’re coming from in general, but I’m not sure that what you wrote was a rewriting of what Jonny said.

    The derogatory word “faggot” for one. Jonny didn’t use a derogatory.

    Again, Johnny was speaking to specifics and, had you kept your writing to specifics like that, I wouldn’t be offended… if I drew effeminate comics.

    In fact, if I DID draw effeminate comics, there would be a reason for it, possibly even homosexuality, which I would have, hopefully, given some thought to.

    Adding “faggot” to it shows an intention of offence. Jonny didn’t do that.

  17. It was mostly cut and paste with some editing to illustrate the point as requested.

    Actually, I interpreted ‘Randroid’ as derogatory. It was the first time I’d ever seen the word and had to google it to discover:
    The term ‘Randroid’ (a portmanteau of ‘Rand’ and ‘android’) has been used to evoke the image of “the Galt-imitating robots produced by the cult.”[85]

    I saw that as a potential cause for people to take offense, first for being referred to as a cult following robot and second for the similar image evoked regarding the difficulties Aspergers individuals have in displaying and interpreting emotions as well as facial expressions which has been likened as similar to those expected of a robot.

    Similarly suggesting that anyone who believes in Objectivism likely has a mental disorder is likely offensive to those who espouse the view along with those who have the disorder. Subsequently linking aspergers as a precondition for belief in Objectivism could be offensive for what that implies about those with aspergers.

    Again, I’d never heard of objectivism but drawing a line linking aspergers to Urban Dictionary’s explanation could easily be offensive to those with aspergers. “objectivism prizes narcissistic (or “rugged”) individualism, self-centered achievement, commerce, industry, and tall buildings as being of prime value over love, faithfulness, generosity, and humility. Adherents of the Ayn Rand cult, called objectivists, or randroids at the extreme, tend towards patronizing rudeness, and a near-dogmatic infatuation with their pet theories on race and the superiority of western civilization and culture.”

    As for the effeminate comics, it was the best example i could come up with on short notice and was using it to draw lines of similiarity between having suggested that having known one person who drew effeminate comics who was a homosexual while suspecting of two others who draw effeminate comics due to certain traits that there is cause to conclude that all who draw effeminate comics are homosexuals.

  18. Dennis………….There is a God…………………………..Thank you or putting into words that I may have used overly.

    Karma too you.

  19. But surely there are levels, no?

    “Randroid” is a VERY specific term, referring to a VERY specific type of person and, based on what we’ve seen of Mr. Galt’s posts, pretty accurate.

    “Faggot” is FAR more common and FAR more hurtful.

    An analogy would be the difference between “redneck” and the N word, no?

    Jonny is familiar with both Asperger’s and Objectivism, so was speaking to similarities that he has seen.
    The term “Randroid” was speaking to Mr. Galt’s Objectivism. I don’t see ANY way that there can be correlation (well, not any that can be taken seriously, without some weird Chapman-esque twisting of logic and motives) between that term and someone suffering from Asperger’s inability to express facial emotions.

    I’m sorry, Denis. I DO see how something LIKE this could be construed as offensive, but I believe that Jonny was VERY careful and VERY clear in his intent and motivations.

  20. “The derogatory word “faggot” for one. Jonny didn’t use a derogatory.”

    Dennis is correct Elvis that Randroid is derogatory.

    Very good example Dennis.

  21. UE,

    Does it matter? Unless you think less derogatory makes it ok you’re clouding the debate with symantics rather than addressing the arguement made.

    The argument being, generalizing, prejudice and use of derogatory remarks, while admittly something we are all guilty of at one time or another in our lives, is something we should avoid as a whole.

    Just because you may find one word more offensive than another doesn’t mean you can judge whether someone else may find the converse to be true. The desire is to reduce offensive comments and try to focus on worthwhile discussion that helps us become more accepting of what makes each person an individual. (assuming it doesn’t harm others)

  22. Wow

    I’m not sure this conversation is going anywhere, if you think that using the word “Faggot” is in any way comparable…

    Sorry…
    I’m not sure I can continue with this.

  23. UE

    Your inability or unwillingness to understand simple concepts is a barrier to your intellectual development. I know at least 3 people that can’t understand simple concepts and one of them is a retard. This begs the question…..are you a retard?

    No offense intended to yourself or anyone who may be having mental difficulties, but I do sometimes feel that you may be suffering from mental retardation.

  24. You can’t continue UE because your pants and down and others saw you dropping them.

    Your out gunned this time young man and you are wrong. What a feeble exit..

  25. I think Rummy meant to say:

    You are out gunned this time young man and you are wrong. What a feeble exit.

    I don’t agree with the part about you being out gunned, but I do agree that you are wrong, and that your exit from the debate is feeble.

  26. *Ahem* I can’t believe you guys are still going with this. Let it go. I take the point, and, while I think it is a bit of a stretch, and I do not see Randroid as a derogatory term or used anywhere in the sense that ‘faggot’ is (I use it the same as Stalinoids for example), I get the point. But you guys are risking taking this argument – where the point is understood already – to the point of sublime absurdity.

  27. Starling, UE

    The point is that you are accpting prejudice if you can justify it as being “not too bad.” Current fashion tells you that “faggot” and “nigger” are too bad to ever be uttered. At the end of the day, these are just words used to belittle and shut out. Much as what you were doing with the use of “randroid.” There is no need to attach emotion to words. It is the purpose of the utterance that is offensive. It is an attempt to invalidate the arguments of another without addressing them.

  28. Wow

    At least Ernest TRIED to rephrase the question, which is admirable.

    Rummy just did his usual, jump on any thread of anything to attack me to continue his bizarre agenda of denouncing me, based on some weird shit he’s made up in his twisted little brain. Notice the complete lack of any substance. It’s all attack, based on nothing. Based on his own “expert” opinion.
    Vendettas are so cute, aren’t they?

    Galt just gloated. Not surprisingly, extrapolating incorrectly, as that’s what he does. Even less surprisingly, he did it with a taunt and an insult. Way to make the initial point, there, Galt.

    I said my piece on Denis’ rewrite, explaining why I don’t think it’s comparable. There was no real rebuttal to the points and I’ve been asked repeatedly to just ignore it when people do that, so I did.

    Of course, that’s not good enough for you, though, is it?

    Oh, no. You want the “sublime absurdity”, don’t you.

    “your exit from the debate is feeble”?
    Really? There was a debate happening? With YOU involved, Galt? I find that hard to believe. I’ve never seen you debate. Not once.

    My exit from the nonsensical bull may have been feeble, but it was necessary. There was no debate to exit from.

  29. Papa, while I agree with you, there ARE degrees to it.

    Had Denis used “queer” or “homo”, which are still derogatory, but don’t have the history behind them, I wouldn’t have a problem.

    “Randroid” is about as obscure a derogatory as that tempest in a teacup made about “Macaca”.

    You say “There is no need to attach emotion to words.”, yet, isn’t that what this whole thing is about?

    Jonny’s post was an innocent observation, with no malice intended.

    The “offended” party “attach[ed] emotion to words”.

  30. It isn’t up to you to decide what level of emotion a derogatory term produces from another. Your history and mine with different words are likely to be very different. You’re trying to argue that one is better than the other. I’m saying if you put your emotional attachment to words aside and look at it objectively an offensive term is an offensive term and the degree to which you find a certain term offensive is subjective. Lump them together and leave them out of the debate so we can stick to the issues.

  31. UE,

    in all fairness, to say that there was “no real rebuttal to the points” by Denis, is incorrect, he has kept on point and even helped by reminding us what he was debating
    “generalizing, prejudice and use of derogatory remarks, while admittly something we are all guilty of at one time or another in our lives, is something we should avoid as a whole.”

    Your rebuttal I believe should have been something like this.

    “Denis I agree that “”generalizing, prejudice and use of derogatory remarks…..” (I’m assuming you agree with that statement) but in this case Jonny was not generalizing at all. He was speaking to specifics: behavior, reactions, etc.

    Maybe throw in a little something to help explain your point of view further, summarize your points, show where you thought Denis was incorrect, then bow out, that would be more respectful.

    I’m sorry you took offense to my support of Denis’s side of the debate; you should not take it personal, because if it has been you that argued the same points and in the same fashion, I would have been vocal in my support of you as well.

    I did take Rummy’s mention of you being outgunned as an insult to your intelligence, which is why I said I disagreed with it, but I did agree with his other two points. (The saying I think is even a broken clock is correct twice a day)

    Anyway that’s the best I can do and hope you understand if I don’t reply to anymore posts in this thread directed to me that might distract from this debate.

  32. Um. I did do that, Mr. Galt. I wrote almost exactly that.

    And Rummy’s post was just another pathetic dig at me, as always. No content, just another baseless, nonsensical attack. I’m used to his vendetta now. I usually just ignore the pathetic attempts of a pathetic old man.

  33. “I’m saying if you put your emotional attachment to words aside and look at it objectively an offensive term is an offensive term and the degree to which you find a certain term offensive is subjective.”

    Nicely written Ernest.

  34. So, the point about emotional attachments to words in regards to offensiveness being the crux of the matter, gets nothing? Oh KAY then.

  35. Lavernne….I did not bring anything up about homosex………read what I wrote in defence of whats that radicals name……………………..you don’t get it do you……

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s