Is it censorship or social responsibility?
First things first. I hate to upset the People First Language crowd, but no one “has autism,” because to do so would imply that you have a disease. And if you have no disease, then there would obviously be no cure.
So, looking at this logically, which is the only way my autistic brain knows how, Amazon was completely in the right for pulling books suggesting cures for a disease that doesn’t exist.
I find it strange that in the autistic community there are some who celebrate being the way we are and others who are upset by it. I get that… I guess.
People want to be normal, but what’s normal?
What people, including some that claim to be autism experts, don’t understand is that there’s nothing “wrong” with us. Are we different? Yeah. Is that a bad thing? Nope.
Some are calling it censorship while others refer to it as social responsibility. As a writer I can see the argument for the censorship argument, but as a person on the spectrum and as an autism advocate, I completely see this as social responsibility.
Look at it this way: would you want to see book after book selling snake oil? Telling you how to cure something that doesn’t exist? Or at the very least telling you that it’s possible to cure a disease that doesn’t exist?
Am I telling you that autism doesn’t exist? No.
I’m saying that autism is not a disease and thus has no cure.
I’m proudly autistic and nothing will ever change that.
Let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a moment and pretend that it’s not autism but rather being LBGTQ. Would you want books telling you that there’s a cure for being gay?
Absolutely not! While these books, “cures,” and “treatment facilities” do also exist, they serve only to harm people in the LBGTQ+ community, just like they do with anyone who has autism. Being part of the LBGTQ community – or the autism community – isn’t a disease or affliction, and therefore doesn’t need a cure. This is simply something you are – right from birth.
People rally against that sort of behavior now – being different doesn’t make you diseased.
The bottom line is this: you can’t cure people of being who they are. I was born autistic and I’m going to die autistic and that’s the way it is.
You can’t cure something that’s not an illness or a disease and anyone who says they can is straight up lying to you.
If you’re on the spectrum, I hope that you don’t fall for the cure conspiracy because there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are who you are, just as I am who I am.
I do feel bad for the writers that took the time to write and publish their books only to see them pulled from the world’s largest bookstore, but when those books promise something that they can’t deliver, they need to be pulled.
The bottom line? I’m not sick. I’m on the spectrum.
This post was previously published on Good Men Project and has been reprinted with permission of the author.
I completely agree that no one “has Autism” because it’s not a disease. Person with Autism though, that reminds people that they are people first and not defined by anything other adjective and that’s a fine first step for people who are uncomfortable with anything outside of their comfort zone. I’m glad Amazon took the step to remove those books, I can’t imagine the scope of the damage they do!
Like Stacey, I’m glad that Amazon is pulling books that can do so much harm. We’re all so different and it’s good that we’re starting to understand that differences are a good thing.
I have two autistic kids. Changing the narrative from “having autism” to being autistic has been necessary. It’s not something we need to fix, it’s something that just is.It makes them unique and awesome.