I’ve been having an emotional and trying couple of days. Before April even began, many autistics felt the heavy weight of responsibility on their shoulders. And while we often enjoy pressure(in the physical sense), this one came with a sense of foreboding. The calm before the storm. The quiet before all hell breaks loose. The end of March.
The end of March brings about three types of people: Autism Parents, autistics who are sick of “awareness,” and trolls. Autism Parents regularly dig down with autistics who are trying to get them to see that acceptance is the path to go, not awareness. However, while we don’t see them(usually) as lost causes(which is why we engage them in the first place) sometimes we fail to see trolls for what they are.
A famous line, for basically anyone trying to silence a marginalized group who is venting, is the phrase “Hate breeds hate.” The sentiment that comes along with that is “If you hate your oppressors, we will hate you more.”
Now, since when did “hate breeds hate” mean that? Ever since humans discovered that there aren’t many responses to it, because it’s true. If you engage in hateful behavior, you will cause others to dislike you.
“Hate breeds hate” came from Martin Luther King Jr. in a sermon he published in his book “Strength to Love,” a final book of sermons before his assassination. Here is the entirety of that sermon.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction….
The chain reaction of evil —
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars —
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Though King’s sermons focused primarily on racial segregation and peaceful protest, this message is universal across any struggle. Hate does breed hate, but not in the way people tell us. If you treat someone like they are not a person, they will hate you. If you punch down, you are an oppressor. Full stop.
Do not attempt to tear us down. If you don’t care about us, then leave us alone. Suicidal thoughts among autistic adults are ten times more likely than allistic adults. 7 out of 10 disabled people have been or are being abused. 83% of women with developmental disabilities are raped, and only 3% of cases are reported for the 30% of men.
We have ENOUGH to deal with. We do NOT need your convoluted rhetoric staining our movement. This is what awareness looks like. We need acceptance.