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    Leliel's Avatar

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    Default When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    If you've been paying attention to the Homebrew Design forum, you may notice a tiff I got into when, in response to my calling him out for thread clutter, proceeded to clarify his insult of TV Tropes by calling it an "autism field", and me a "sperglord" for calling him out. Actually having Aspergers, I was, shall we say, a bit peeved.

    That got me thinking, though-since when did mild autism become code for "hurr hurr, otakus. Hurr"?
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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    Blame all the people who self-diagnose with Aspergers on the internet.

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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    Since shortly after a bunch of jagoffs decided to self-diagnose and use it as a "I have a disorder, I can't be held accountable for my actions" shield.

    That, and a little bit of the same reason we'll never have a term for mental retardation that doesn't become an insult in short order.

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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Blame all the people who self-diagnose with Aspergers on the internet.
    I hate those people. I never actually met one, but I am a guy with the real deal, diagnosed by actual doctors. Makes me want to hide it on the internet rather than talk about it.
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    HalflingWizardGirl

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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    I've never heard the term "sperglord" before. I have absolutely no idea what it means.

    None of the people I socialize with use Autism or Aspergers as an insult. We tend to use generic insults like "jerk."

    On some corners of the internet, I've noticed "Aspie" used as a term for social awkwardness--i.e., people who are shy or lack self-confidence who aren't necessarily on the autism spectrum. It's willfully ignorant and insulting.
    Last edited by snoopy13a; 2012-10-02 at 05:30 PM.

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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    It hasn't.
    Not around me if I can help it.
    Speaking as someone whose youngest brother who is usually 'rated' a moderate according to the ASD, and has an autistic cousin and another with ADD or ADHD this is one of my personal berserk buttons, particularly in the phrase "What are you a retard/autistic or something?"
    I have stopped reading books where the term is used flippantly in a modern novel (because I do know the history of the 'r-word' and accept that until very recently it was an official medical diagnosis/wasn't used in a perjorative manner), stopped a conversation dead when people use it IRL or on the forums (in which case I also reported them) and so on. When it's just 'autistic' used I just tell them that it can be seen as offensive.
    But I do see how it's easy to abuse terms like autistic, Asperger's and so on because if you look at the criteria used in the CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale) it's very easy to self-diagnose as autistic and thus excuse any action deemed offensive or inappropriate for a setting.

    While I do acknowledge that sometimes I may come off as abrupt or rude for my reaction to to people using disabilities - especially mental ones - as a slur it's just how I was raised.
    Because Littlest Brother's always been the way he is when I was younger I was never really able to distinguish someone who was mentally or even physically disabled from someone who was 'normal'
    In retrospect, when I list off friends from my whole life a large number of them are disabled in some way, especially when you consider I don't make friends easily - three deaf, two dyspraxic, four 'mildly' autistic, ADD, ADHD, six or seven dyslexic, three or four with Asperger's, one with cystic fibrosis, one or two with speech disabilities, an epileptic . . .
    I didn't realise until a teacher in secondary mentioned I'd be a good teacher at a special school or just working with children with disabilities or disorders. I asked her why and she told me that a fair number of my friends didn't make friends easily because they were disabled etc.
    When I told mum this she said it was because I treated them more or less exactly as I'd treat anyone else while still making allowances for any problem they had. 'pparently, growing up and being partially responsible for siblings or relative who are disabled in some way is good for you.

    Certainly not going to say that makes me a saint. Half the time I want to throttle Littlest Brother, but then again, same goes for the other two. And certainly some of his Habits just annoy me and I can't understand why he has to follow them even though I know why.
    And frankly, being aware of some traits of commonly diagnosed mental disabilities such as OCD, Asperger's and so on, even if you personally don't know anyone with such a disability - most especially if they're in the media, where they often play up certain aspects and not others - does make it easy to look at someone's behaviour and say 'oh, X always has to do this, must be OCD' and so on.
    Just because I have to count the number of stairs, and skip the second to last step if it's an odd one; or when reading something with numbered pages absolutely have to stop reading on an odd page at the last complete paragraph, or have to turn more or less a full circle every time I open or close a door doesn't mean I have something on the (very nebulously defined) ASD or suffer from OCD. It just means I have odd habits.

    Basically, the growing awareness of autism in the media and popular culture, combined with how 'easy' it is to diagnose someone with something like autism means there'll be a backlash because eventually people'll assume "X is just doing it for attention".

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    Moff Chumley's Avatar

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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    Among the sorts of people who spend too much time on 4chan? Two or three years ago, if I recall correctly.
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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    Anyone who uses it as an insult isn't worth talking to in the first place. It's along the same vein as sexism, racism, homophobia, etc...

    For me, Asperger's has been more of an advantage than a disadvantage, so I really don't see how that's insulting at all. (Not self-diagnosed.)
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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    As a person who has Asperger's Syndrome and was diagnosed by a doctor, I can't stand people who self-diagnose themselves as having it in an attempt to excuse jerkish behavior. I also hate it when people use it as a disparaging remark as a reaction to the former groups of people.
    Last edited by Libertad; 2012-10-02 at 08:04 PM.



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    Default Re: When did autism/Aspergers become a flippant insult?

    Sheriff: I locked that thread specifically to head off this particular back and forth. Please don't restart locked threads, regardless of the twist you put on them.
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2012-10-02 at 08:14 PM.
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