We Are Not So Easily Dismissed Anymore

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Super quick disclaimer: If you can pause your opinions on climate change to consider an important topic about autism – read on! If you can’t, check out my other posts instead. Thanks.

I’m going to assume you’re up to speed about Greta Thunberg: a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, the world’s most recognizable climate change activist at the moment, and William Hill’s odds-on favorite to win the next Nobel Peace Prize.

Greta has autism.

As someone on a similar spectrum, I can’t fathom how she’s managing this surge of popularity, constant public speaking, and sparring for her cause, which triggers people here in America. It’s incredible.

But it’s reared an irksome thing that we still have to deal with, an attribute that comes up when people can’t just disagree and choose to dismiss with things like this:

“Greta has autism.”

Have you ever felt invalidated based on who you are? 

It is disheartening to advocate for anything with passion, or react strongly, or try to argue something, only for people to try to shut you down with your own autism.

Are you the type of person who hears someone out and thinks “I don’t even have to engage here – she’s autistic, so I don’t even have to try showing her how she’s wrong.”? If you’re here, probably not.

Yet those people are out there. En masse. Prominent, even!

But I’m encouraged. Why?

Because people are closer to “getting it” about autism. When a pundit claimed (and yep, dismissed) Greta’s arguments weren’t really worth tackling due to her being “mental ill,” FOX NEWS apologized for his comments on their network and rescinded any future airtime for him — that’s a good start.

I’m nowhere near close to what Greta’s doing, or what she’s facing, as an autistic young woman — but I can empathize with the struggle of being someone with a special attribute that people misunderstand, one that people use against you to try shutting you down.

 

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