Autism and the Internet

#1
Hi! I’m a much newer user in the forums. I mostly play UU and well I’m a part of the autism spectrum, Asperger’s Syndrome to be precise. I like to view smallet details of a much larger picture, I also am a little more sensitive to textures. I am pretty terrible at being social so I use Pokémon Showdown as kind of an outlet since I’m not great at talking outside of the site. To most people in real life, I just look like an average person walking down the street. Today, I would like to discuss an issue that I’ve seen on the internet and it really bugs me:

Why do people use autism as an insult?

People seem to use autistic or autist as a buzzword for retarded but how exactly did that start? There are many factors that were possibly in play for this to occur:

1. People got bored with using retarded and decided to use a word that they would assume would be quite similar to it (but it’s not at all).

2. Autism Speaks twisting people’s views on autism. For those who don’t know: Autism Speaks is a charity that are supposedly helping people with this disorder but they treat it like it’s a disease or an epidemic that must be eradicated immediately. They have gotten better, but they already revealed their true intentions so I cannot trust them at all.
This video is a perfect example of how awful their propaganda used to be.

3. The hate crime that has occurred. There has been all sorts of news about parents killing or attempting to murder their own children who were autistic. People are scared of us because they don’t understand us and that’s why they throw jokes like that as such.

4. How the media portrays us as a whole. They only seem to show the lower functioning kids. Yes I’m aware that these people are unfortunately the burdens of society, but the media puts these ones more in the spotlight and it makes the high functioning kids that fit much more in society look stupid.

5. This is probably the biggest factor: 4chan put the internet into this mentality because of the endless amount of 4chan trolls that bombarded ChrisChan (or Christine Chandler idk why he’s a woman currently). I’m not going to link anything about ChrisChan because he’s literally the most documented human on the face of this Earth because 4chan decided to go even more hardcore than they normally do with their pranks on ChrisChan. ChrisChan also made all the other high functioning autistic people look like morons.


So yeah just put that in a box there so that you don’t have to scroll down. So anyway if you did click on it and read my factors, I’d like you to put your input in on this. What happened with the internet or was it always like this? I hope that this can be a nice discussion post in the forums:psyglad:
 
#2
I'm not sure if it's really due to the Internet, I was obviously not born before it existed so can't tell, but I've definitely heard kids in primary school call others names like retard/autistic, and while it may or may not be due to an older brother/sister having taught them such "insults", they still have had absolutely no contact with the Internet.
I just think people tend to use what's not "normal" as an insult. Think of how a large amount of people on the Internet, let alone on Smogon, use "gay" as a synonym of "bad" and call each other "(BAN ME PLEASE)" 100 times a day. Aka if you're different from the majority, you should obviously see your difference as an insult according to these people. And that can only join the surprising amount of racial insults, which are, just like the sexual orientation-related and mental disease-related insults, just a way to try to be offensive towards a minority even if it's got absolutely nothing to do with the whole debate.
 
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#3
Why do people use autism as an insult?
Because some people are painfully unimaginative. Some people will blindly follow whatever trend precedes themselves. Ultimately though, it is in your power to control how you react to this sort of ignorance. Some people might not even mean it offensively, just might think the word is funny. You cannot control what they say or how they say it; but you have full control on how you will or won't react.
 

jrp

I cannot dance!
is a Live Chat Contributor Alumnus
#5
people use autistic as an insult the same way people throw gay/racial slurs as insults

it's 100% due to the internet, people will say shit for shock value, and it's shit they would never say to another human's face, but it's easier to type stuff

if you're getting offended by things you read on the internet, you're doing it wrong.
 

Cresselia~~

Junichi Masuda likes this!!
#7
I guess it's because some people think that autistic people tend to act cringey/ socially awkward.
Like, some people stereotype autistic people as cringey, even though some autistic people can act very normal after therapies and training.
 
#9
Trigger warning here, I used to be in the same school with many autistic dudes, and for the most part, they were cool guys who would play dnd. However, it’s important to know that autism is a spectrum, and there was one person who basically couldn’t speak. For all intents and purposes, he was a toddler. People who use autism as an insult mean the latter example, in other words, a synonym to retard.
 
#11
Trigger warning here, I used to be in the same school with many autistic dudes, and for the most part, they were cool guys who would play dnd. However, it’s important to know that autism is a spectrum, and there was one person who basically couldn’t speak. For all intents and purposes, he was a toddler. People who use autism as an insult mean the latter example, in other words, a synonym to retard.
yeah. it isn't one size fits all. it varies.
 
#14
Im not entirely sure how the insult came to be so popular but I think calling people autistic who behave as such but dont actually have any disorder shouldnt be offensive to autistic people. Making fun of an actually disabled person, however, is obviously just tasteless.
 

Pilo

i stepped on a fucking lego today
is a Live Chat Contributor Alumnus
#15
Im not entirely sure how the insult came to be so popular but I think calling people autistic who behave as such but dont actually have any disorder shouldnt be offensive to autistic people. Making fun of an actually disabled person, however, is obviously just tasteless.
using "autistic" as an insult is offensive to autistic people regardless of whether it's targeted at them. don't tell me you also think it's ok to use the n-word as long as the person you're saying it to isn't black.
 

Myzozoa

If I c u & I dont speak that means I dont fuck w u
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
#16
honestly autism and the internet go together: the anxieties that the internet produces in people also make 'autism' a tempting description to insult people or play on their worries with. After all, the anonymity of the internet is just like the stereotypes of autism, as on the internet you can't see facial expressions or hear tone of voice, nor see users' faces when interacting, this corresponds to steretypical social deficits of autistic people (facial blindness, inattention to social cues).

so 'autistic' emerged on the internet as an insult because it plays on these elements, allowing it to be an effective way of playing on internet users' insecurities for some time, because so it worked particularly well as an insult in that anonymous space. it can be thought of as a projection of the qualities of the internet onto the users of the internet one encounters
 

internet

social forums is a real tier
is a Forum Moderator
Moderator
#17
I really don't think people that just fling out autistic put that much thought into their insults - I really just think autistic is just the FotM mental health problem and as such an easy zinger.
 

Myzozoa

If I c u & I dont speak that means I dont fuck w u
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
#18
it's like an unconscious projection though, they say 'youre an autist' because that is the maximally deflective insult that resists the fact that they are just 2 lonely people using a space, the internet, that is unlikely to enable them to be any closer together. the projection of autism allows one party to believe they aren't actually lonely, that they are not desiring of comfort and company from the other, after all, the other is autistic, and thus supposedly incapable of that type of interaction anyway, etc, etc.

im not saying people using autism as an insult are being pre-meditated or thinking it out, im saying it is projection that masks personal insecurities that are brought out when ppl are specifically on the internet. why is it that autism is the fotm mental health diagnosis at the same time as the internet is becoming a more central way ppl have relationships and interactions? i think that there are features of each that contribute to this occurring.
 
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Myzozoa

If I c u & I dont speak that means I dont fuck w u
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
#19
im gonna be so rich when i write my essay-book: 'The Promise of Teaching Others, On the Fear of Autism'
 
#20
using "autistic" as an insult is offensive to autistic people regardless of whether it's targeted at them. don't tell me you also think it's ok to use the n-word as long as the person you're saying it to isn't black.
I see the n-word used as a placeholder for good friend by younger people nowadays, even when referring to non-black people. In that context I do in fact not think that its offensive whatsoever.

EDIT: If you're specifically talking about using the word in a degrading way, I dont think its ok and thats because that would assume that being black is a negative thing which I disagree with. On the flip-side being autistic (as far as I know, I am simply speaking as the Internet user and am by no means an expert in autism) does alter your view on reality so using that in a degrading way makes logical sense if you want to disprove the points of your target.
 
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Pilo

i stepped on a fucking lego today
is a Live Chat Contributor Alumnus
#21
honestly autism and the internet go together: the anxieties that the internet produces in people also make 'autism' a tempting description to insult people or play on their worries with. After all, the anonymity of the internet is just like the stereotypes of autism, as on the internet you can't see facial expressions or hear tone of voice, nor see users' faces when interacting, this corresponds to steretypical social deficits of autistic people (facial blindness, inattention to social cues).

so 'autistic' emerged on the internet as an insult because it plays on these elements, allowing it to be an effective way of playing on internet users' insecurities for some time, because so it worked particularly well as an insult in that anonymous space. it can be thought of as a projection of the qualities of the internet onto the users of the internet one encounters
i think another aspect of this is the fact that the way the internet is "set up" makes it very appealing to people with autism. speaking from experience i enjoy the reduced stress of not being made to interact with people face to face as well as the abundance of hobby websites where i can interact with like-minded obsessives who share my interests.

being autistic (as far as I know, I am simply speaking as the Internet user and am by no means an expert in autism) does alter your view on reality so using that in a degrading way makes logical sense if you want to disprove the points of your target.
regardless of whether or not autism is a beneficial condition (there can be some discussion pertaining to this) it is not ok to use it as an insult. i'm not sure what part of that you don't understand.
 
#23
I see the n-word used as a placeholder for good friend by younger people nowadays, even when referring to non-black people. In that context I do in fact not think that its offensive whatsoever.

EDIT: If you're specifically talking about using the word in a degrading way, I dont think its ok and thats because that would assume that being black is a negative thing which I disagree with. On the flip-side being autistic (as far as I know, I am simply speaking as the Internet user and am by no means an expert in autism) does alter your view on reality so using that in a degrading way makes logical sense if you want to disprove the points of your target.
Yes frind i too knwo much of the young people and their phrases
 

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