Posted in Advocacy

STAY IN YOUR LANE: #BoycottToSiri

Yesterday, I wrote about how real advocates correct their negative behaviors when they are corrected by others.  How, when you are an advocate (or want to believe yourself to be an advocate), you apologize and try to learn from what’s going on.  What mistake did you make?  How can you make it better?

What you don’t do is get into a fight with the advocate who is trying to help educate you on the harm you’re doing.

If you’re not on Autistic Twitter, you might not know that Autistic advocate Amethyst Shaber, a fantastic advocate, found out that they were referenced in a book called To Siri With Love.  It’s published by HarperCollins, a major publisher, and written by Judith Newman, mother to an Autistic and standard variety “my life sucks because my kid has autism” variety.

The author called Amethyst (who prefers they/them pronouns, and tells you so outright) a girl, and misconstrued Amethyst’s identity, using what the author believed would be a flattering description, but was actually quite condescending.  At no point does the author reach out to Amethyst, but she (the author) uses Amethyst’s work in the book and twists it so it’s not quite right.  In this way, the author apparently thinks that she herself is being helpful, but in reality, when the author presented Amethyst’s work in that way, Newman was not.  Amethyst looks into it and is concerned about the use of Autism Speaks as a reference in the book as well.

Amethyst objected, the author said “sorry” and she’d update it “in the next edition.”

The author was condescending.

Amethyst and other advocates actually start looking into the book and find passages that are eugenicist in nature including the author’s desire to have power of attorney over her son so she can get him sterilized when he comes of age.

Autistic Twitter explodes.

The standard trolls come out of the woodwork to defend this book and the author, not understanding what she’s actually did and why it’s so morally repugnant.

The author keeps saying snarky things, condescending things.

SHE WILL NOT GET INTO HER LANE NOR WILL SHE APOLOGIZE, SINCERELY, AND WORK TO MAKE AMENDS.

Check out #BoycottToSiri for the details.

Oh, and this goes without saying, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK.  The author and publisher ought not to profit when they were given a chance to do the right thing, and chose, instead, to show what kinds of negative people are involved with this book.

 

 

9 thoughts on “STAY IN YOUR LANE: #BoycottToSiri

  1. Nicole,

    No, we don’t get into fights with people who try to help us and/or correct us. When we do, we focus on the ideas or the issues involved – not on anything personal, like “gamine” or “manic pixie dream girl”. Amethyst is not a girl of any sort.

    And if we read NeuroWonderful and looked at the videos [I read but I don’t look at the videos].

    In journals Autism Speaks are mentioned all the time, especially in that Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

    And it was the sterilisation/power of attorney which provoked me.

    Thank you for the “Stay in your lane ” series.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. This thing really did get out of hand; if the author had really listened as she made it sound like she did (identity first language, etc.), she could easily have put out a statement talking about how much she has to learn, still, and genuinely apologizing (or whatever it was Amethyst wanted; Amethyst is SO reasonable and gave the author a huge chance to make this better so many times). We didn’t see the author go there because she’s so deeply in “mama drama” that she has no idea how much harm she caused with that and to all of us by her sterilization comments.

      In the end, it’s probably not surprising. So many people still think we own our children, that they are not autonomous individuals, and when you add Disability in there, so many people think that maybe if you can’t own children anymore (or pets; people are changing their views about children and animals), you still can “own” Disabled people. It’s horrifying that people will argue for animal “personhood” and we’re still sitting here fighting for our rights as Disabled people. It’s SO frustrating to think about how much there is to this “little mistake” (in the author’s eyes) and to watch that person continue to spew hate and bring MORE people in to try to silence us? Just repugnant.

  2. “The author called Amethyst (who prefers they/them pronouns, and tells you so outright) a girl, and misconstrued her identity, using what the author believed would be a flattering description, but was actually quite condescending. At no point does the author reach out to Amethyst, but she uses her work in the book and twists it so it’s not quite right.”

    If I’m not mistaken, you referred to Amethyst as “her” twice. (Long-standing patterns of behavior are hard to break.)

    1. I feel so badly. I keep going back to fix it and catching another. Thanks for catching that one (oops, two…you’re right!) I still managed to botch. The others are all Judith…so I made that clearer (I hope). I was struggling with the sentences to make which were Judith clearer (using her/she since that’s Judith’s preference) and then ended up with a spare that wasn’t “her,” but Amethyst. Thanks for the catch again! Thanks also for the reminder about multiple eyes catching things and working together…something that could have helped Judith Newman out a whole bunch in this situation. I’m still working on it and will get there, so to speak, so it’s more automatic. Thanks for being there to help me do better!

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