How should the term autistic be used? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
My wife has always been a big fan of anime. I watched a few growing up. Pokemon, Digimon, Sailor Moon some, and Cardcaptors. Those are the only ones I can recall at the time. Her favorite series was one called Dragonball and one of the voice actors on there was Christopher Sabat who voiced the character Vegeta.
He has also been a part of a lawsuit against another voice actor named Vic Mignogna, a devout Christian with a large fan base. Vic is alleged to be a sexual predator. For those wanting the reply to this, I recommend the videos at Unreal Network.
Apparently a fan asked Sabat if he was going somewhere a convention. Sabat said he doesn’t want to make any announcements because Vic’s autistic fans are slandering the cast of Dragonball and want to watch the world burn instead of admitting Vic is a jerk. (He said something else allegedly, but I don’t speak that way.) A tweet about this appears to have been deleted, but there doesn’t seem to be denial that this happened.
My wife and I hold to the innocence of Vic, but that is neither here nor there at this point. Vic could be what his opponents think him to be and that would not change this post. I want to write about the idea instead of how the term autistic is used.
Faithful readers know that my wife and I are both on the spectrum. Because of that, I take claims like this seriously. At the same time, I want to stress that I am not offended. I think it’s cheap and despicable, but I don’t get angry about it really. It takes a lot to get me riled up.
To refer to autism as an insult really is a negative way of speaking of a wonderful community of people. There are all degrees of autism. There are people out there who are pretty much non-verbal, except for perhaps with animals. Then, there are people like myself who are public speakers and debaters.
It is true that we are not always aware of what is going on around us socially, but that does not mean we are stupid in any sense of the word. Our condition should not be used as an insult. To use it that way is not just to insult Vic’s fans, but to insult people who have no connection whatsoever to Vic and to paint a stigma on autistic people.
This is also in a day and age where mental illness has a stigma attached to it. Turn on the news and hear about a mass shooting. What’s one of the first targets immediately? Mental illness. It never can be that people are just evil and do evil things. No. The only way someone does such great evil is they have to be mentally ill.
For my own wife and I, if you came into our home, you might never know you’re in the home of two people on the spectrum. She would say I am further along on the spectrum than she is in that I have more characteristics. That’s probably true. I also don’t mind it. I like being on the spectrum. I enjoy the way my mind works. I think it gives me advantages.
So if Chris Sabat wants to continue his little crusade against Vic, well it’s a free country. He can do that. I can freely respond as I see fit. If he wants to insult people on the spectrum, he can also do that, but I would encourage him to keep in mind that there are several of us out here leading happy lives and are thankful to be alive. Maybe he should go out and meet some of us and see what we’re like before using our condition as a term of slander against other people.