Lancer Spirit Online

Filed under OPINION, Showcase

A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

Advertisement

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In response to the editorial posted on Tuesday, April 5.

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the editorial on the Autism Speaks controversy and thank you for asking me to write a response. It’s a really important issue to consider carefully, and I’m glad we’re asking questions and doing our research. After all, any time a member of a minority group (whether racial, LGBT, neurological, or any other) speaks up and says that the organization we’re using to try to help them is doing harm, I think it’s important that we listen. When we’re making them feel devalued or misunderstood, we need to reconsider what we’re doing. That’s what’s happened with Autism Speaks. Countless Autistic people have spoken up about their concerns with the organization. (All it takes is a quick Google search for “Autistic people against Autism Speaks” or “Autism Speaks controversy” and you can find plenty of examples.) Both those wearing red and those in blue had good intentions of supporting the Autistic community.

Autism Speaks, itself, is a divisive organization. That begins with simple details like the color choice. They chose blue to represent the fact that more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism. Where does that leave the girls? A minority in a minority population? For an advocacy organization, I think that’s a surprising choice. Additionally, are they really advocating for Autistic people? Up until very recently, zero members of their board were Autistic. They spend a large portion of their money on research, but that research has included suggesting that there might a link between vaccines and Autism. Their statement finally refuting this link only came out in March of 2015, years too late. The money raised “for Autistic people” has also been used to make a series of advertisements that relied on fear-mongering techniques, making Autistic people look like a burden and even featuring a member of their board talking – in front of the child – about how she contemplated killing her Autistic daughter. She expresses that the only reason she did not drive off the road (killing her Autistic daughter and herself) was because her neurotypical (non-Autistic) daughter was also in the car. I cannot accept the idea that this organization could possibly be wholly representing the views of Autistic people, and I know from listening to their wide variety of opinions that a large portion of the Autistic community agrees with me. There is so much more I could say about the harmful therapies they’ve used, the generalizations they’ve made, the Autistic voices they’ve ignored, and even the places they’ve supported that are honestly quite harmful (lookup electric shocks at the Judge Rotenberg Center), but you don’t need to hear it from me. All the information is out there and you can hear it from the people it’s affecting. Here’s a good place to start.

Finally, please remember this movement was never about one team winning over another. The Red Instead movement was started by Autistic people to support Autistic people; participating offers another tangible way of being an ally. I’m grateful to everyone who showed their support, regardless of the color choice. I’m also grateful to everyone who came into school that day and learned something about Autism Acceptance, another point of view, and alternative organizations like the Autism Self-Advocacy Network. Your open minds created so many productive discussions. I think we can all agree that we now need to use this opportunity to shift the discussion from what color to wear on one day of the year and into how we can support our Autistic friends and family the other 364.

With sincere gratitude,

Erin McKenney

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

The Lancer Spirit welcome your comments—supportive, critical or otherwise. We reserve the right to delete/edit comments that contain the following: Off-topic statements or links, abusive content, vulgarity, poor grammar, personal attacks or spam.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    Message from freshmen: We’re not as bad as you think we are

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    Red Sox odds look good heading into the post season

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    How the legalization of sports gambling affects the world of sports

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    Days away from graduating and surprisingly, I’m a mess.

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    If you believe ‘enough is enough,’ vote

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    LGBTQ+ students seek understanding, not harassment

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    The senior “Bill of Rights”

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    Dear parents, let’s talk about grades…

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    The Protest Trend

  • A word from a member of the Red Instead movement

    OPINION

    A + B should equal no midterm for seniors

The student news site of Londonderry High School
A word from a member of the Red Instead movement