Autism Speaks is probably the most well-known charity out there when it comes to autism. Just because they have the most media coverage and celebrity support does not mean they are a good organization.
- Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.
- Autism Speaks only spends 4% of their budget on “family services”.
- The majority of Autism Speaks’ money goes toward research, and the majority of that research is to find a way to rid the world of autism, and thus, autistics.
- Autism Speaks produces advertisments, small films, etc. about what a burden autistic people are to society.
- Autism Speaks was responsible for “Autism Every Day”, which featured a member of their board talking about contemplating murder-suicide of her daughter in front of her daughter. This has now be removed from Autism Speaks’ Youtube channel but can still be found elsewhere.
- Autism Speaks is responsible for the atrocity known as “I am Autism”, a short film comparing autism to cancer, AIDS, and blaming autism as the reason why marriages break up.
In short, Autism Speaks makes it much harder for those of us who have autism to be taken seriously. Autism is considered to be a child’s disease (not that it’s even actually a disease at all), and you will often hear people say “where are all the adult autistics?” Well, we’re right here in front of you. We may have been misdiagnosed with learning disorders, mental retardation and other mental illnesses when the diagnoses of autism, PDD-NOS and Asperger’s weren’t as precise (or even existent) as they are now. We vary in where we fall on the spectrum. Don’t make assumptions about us because we can use a computer.
For further reading, here are a few resources about Autism Speaks:
The true identity of Ludwig van Beethoven, long considered Europe’s greatest classical music composer. Said directly, Beethoven was a black man. Specifically, his mother was a Moor, that group of Muslim Northern Africans who conquered parts of Europe—making Spain their capital—for some 800 years.
In order to make such a substantial statement, presentation of verifiable evidence is compulsory. Let’s start with what some of Beethoven’s contemporaries and biographers say about his brown complexion.:
” Frederick Hertz, German anthropologist, used these terms to describe him: “Negroid traits, dark skin, flat, thick nose.”
Emil Ludwig, in his book “Beethoven,” says: “His face reveals no trace of the German. He was so dark that people dubbed him Spagnol [dark-skinned].”
Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, in her book “An Unrequited Love: An Episode in the Life of Beethoven,” wrote “His somewhat flat broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto.”
C. Czerny stated, “His beard—he had not shaved for several days—made the lower part of his already brown face still darker.”
Following are one word descriptions of Beethoven from various writers: Grillparzer, “dark”; Bettina von Armin, “brown”; Schindler, “red and brown”; Rellstab, “brownish”; Gelinek, “short, dark.”
Newsweek, in its Sept. 23, 1991 issue stated, “Afrocentrism ranges over the whole panorama of human history, coloring in the faces: from Australopithecus to the inventors of mathematics to the great Negro composer Beethoven.”
And yet Western “scholars” want you to believe that Beethoven looked like:
This is definitely something that I didn’t know.
“His somewhat flat broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto.”
THIS MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY. In capslock.
As much as I oppose SOPA and hope it doesn’t pass, I have some real issues with the rhetoric being used to argue against it, particularly the use of certain other countries—mostly China, but I’ve also seen Iran mentioned—as a comparison for all the bad things that will happen in the United States if SOPA is enacted. While these countries are certainly relevant to a discussion of Internet censorship, the way they are being positioned in a dichotomy of good!U.S. versus evil!China and evil!Iran is deeply problematic: “We have a moral imperative to stop our country from becoming communist China! How terrible, no one would want to be compared to them! The horror, the horror!” Um, what? Not only is such a rhetorical gesture coextensive with narratives of Western cultural superiority, it is highly epistemologically flawed. The United States, perhaps more than any other country in the world, owes not only its current prosperity but its entire existence to its history of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, exploitation, murder, and racism. And anyone who wants to say “oh get over it, it was the past, why should we pay for things our ancestors did?”—uh, because you’re still benefitting from it. And other people are still paying for it.
The United States and other Western countries don’t critique China and Iran because they ~care, no matter how much well-meaning individuals may sincerely believe that this is the case—they do it because it reinforces their own positions of power against non-Western countries that might threaten their long-held hegemony (notice how Turkey hasn’t figured in this conversation at all, despite the fact that they too censor their Internet—huh, wonder why that is? /sarcasm). If you think it’s a coincidence that this upsurge in criticism of every aspect of Chinese policy—towards human rights, global economy, the environment, sex selective abortion, censorship, Tibet (funny how all the wanna be activists who are apparently so in love with Tibet have never heard of Xinjiang—guess no one cares when it’s a bunch of filthy Muslim terrorists! Tibet is so much more ~romantic, plus there’s a Brad Pitt movie!)—is taking place at the same time that China is becoming a serious economic rival to the U.S., you are pitiably naïve. Do you really think that all the U.S.’s moral and humanitarian discourses aren’t rooted in the U.S.’s own political and economic self-interest? Do you think the U.S. seriously went to war in the Middle East because out of the goodness of their own hearts they wanted to bring peace and democracy and rainbows to the poor brown people? Yeah, that’s why the vast majority of deaths in the war have been Middle Eastern civilians. And yeah, the U.S. just loves democracy so much—remember when they overthrew and assassinated the democratically elected leader of another country in order to replace him with a dictatorship that would be more favorable to U.S. political and economic interest? Oh wait—that happened more than once!
Although they can both be called “Internet censorship”, the action that SOPA represents is completely different in nature from that of censorship in China. China censors the Internet not to ruin everyone’s fun but to suppress political opposition, something that the U.S. has its own healthy history of—Alien and Sedition Acts, anyone? SOPA is an act driven by corporations (yeah, we know who’s really in charge here) who want to maximize their profits by suppressing online piracy, something that China couldn’t give less of a shit about. There’s tumblr in China. There’s LiveJournal in China. It is incredibly wrong-headed to use China as the ultimate embodiment of how terrible life will be if we lose our precious fandom blogging sites, without any knowledge or consideration of the actual conditions and dynamics of the country that is being positioned as an object of criticism and derision. China is a real country with real people with real problems. Yes, the government is corrupt and should be held responsible for its human rights abuses, no doubt about that. But China doesn’t exist just to be a specter you can use in your horror story narrative about SOPA—“if Little Bunny Foo Foo doesn’t stop bopping field mice on the head, he’ll turn into a goon!”, “if good old red-blooded Americans don’t stop SOPA from passing, we’ll turn into communist China!”. It’s absolutely nauseating that the U.S. can be so righteous about how much more just and enlightened they are than “communist China” (and note how despite the fact that U.S.-ians like to disclaim the McCarthy era as a thing of the past, the label “communist” obtains as a synonym for “evil” when leveled against non-Western countries) when the very flawed and corrupt system that they are so quick to condemn and deride is the very thing that enables the U.S. and other Western countries to shamelessly exploit the global South’s labor and resources, thus enabling the economic prosperity and political dominance that allow for Western “enlightenment” and “democracy” at the expense of “third world” bodies and lives.