Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rahm Emanuel uses r word: What will Ari Ne'eman and other ND's do?

I see that president Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel has referred to people who he does not agree with as "fucking retarded" Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the mother of a Down's syndrome child, naturally took umbrage to the comment and demanded that the president fire Mr. Emanuel from the administration.

In general, neurodiversity has claimed to be about human rights and dignity for those on the spectrum. This includes not calling persons with developmental disabilities "retards" or using the term "retarded" in a pejorative or insulting manner as Mr. Emanuel has done. Timothy Shriver, head of the special Olympics, has also called Mr. Emanuel to task and subsequently received an apology from the foul mouthed white house chief of staff.

Interestingly enough, it was Ari Ne'eman and his organization ASAN which crusaded against the movie tropic thunder because it had the word "retard" in it in various places.

I will be interested if anyone of the autism hub bloggers will be taking this up as a subject and whether or not they will criticize Emanuel or join former governor Palin in asking for his ouster. It would seem strangely hypocritical and inconsistent if they did not. Of course, the stakes may be too high for them. After all, with Ari Ne'eman's nomination for a post in the national disability council, the neurodiversity movement has a foot in the door in recommending public policy both to the white house and congress in regards to disabilities.

We have already seen evidence of two-facedness and hypocrisy from club ND. Laurent Mottron has accepted a half million dollar grant from an organization whose goal he states is nonsensical and one he clearly does not agree with or like. His factotum, Michelle Dawson, who has stated in the past that the organization that helps in part to pay for her research ideally wishes a short future for persons with autism and has stated the people who raise funds for this organization, "make her sick" justified her refusal to resign from the Mottron group in protest with the statement, "science isn't politics".

We have seen evidence of Mr. Ne'eman's hypocrisy elsewhere.

We now have to wonder whether Ari will ask that his name be withdrawn from consideration for an appointment to the national disabilities council. Will he be urged by his fellow ASAN members and neurodiversitites to do the honorable thing and ask the Obama administration to withdraw his name from consideration as a member of the national disabilities council? Again I won't hold my breath.


Jake Crosby said...

And Ari's about to join this guy in the administration. How embarrassing.

Socrates said...

Talking Shite as usual:

From the ASAN Private list:

Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO, Special Olympics
Andrew Imparato, President & CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities
Hannah Jacobs, parent and R-word advocate
Julie Petty, self-advocate and former President Self Advocates Becoming Empowered
Ricardo Thornton, self-advocate and Special Olympics athlete

The meeting will be a face-to-face discussion with Rahm Emanuel about the suffering and pain of people with intellectual disabilities that is perpetuated by the use of the terms “retard” and “retarded” as well as the damage that can be done by the casual use of the R-word – even if it is not directed toward people with intellectual disabilities.

The group will invite Emanuel to take the R-word pledge at www.r-word.org and to join in the March 3, 2010 Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, as well as invite him to be a leader of change surrounding the pervasive and damaging use of the R-word.

jonathan said...

Socrates:Why would ASAN confine such a controversial activity to just their private list and not go public with this controversy?

Was there a directive from the white house as a condition of Ne'eman's appointment to keep this private meeting with Emanuel mum?

Stephanie said...

Clay Adams, prominent Neurodiversity advocate, has admitted that for those who can't contribute anything, for those of us who are unable to work, that we will continue to live in poverty, a poor quality of life, poor medical care, etc:

"I don't think a person would get all those expensive benefits you mention above, if there was no chance of them ever contributing toward their own welfare. What would be the point? The gov't would be better off just paying them a small stipend each month, which is pretty much what they do now."

My responses:

"I'm not a bit confused but I think you may be. You just stated that for those who can't contribute anything would not get good care.

That would be most people with ASDs! That would be most disabled people!

So, in essence, most people with ASDs, most disabled people, will continue to live in poverty, be unemployed, have a poor quality of life, etc. since most of them can't contribute anything.

You said it yourself."


"I get that little stipend each month, remember?

And it is NOT a desirable way to live.

And you just stated that for those who are unable to work, for those who can't contribute, that we would remain this way.

You said that."

Anonymous said...

So instead of campaigning to eliminate the word, "retard"...
*ahem*...the r-word (Ooooh my! I'm in trouble already!), it sounds like Neurodiversity wants to make it a crime to use the word.

I mean, really? Shouldn't it be common sense for people not to call developmentally disabled people that just as it's common sense to not refer to African Americans as the n-word unless you're using it in a playful manner that autistics would have trouble picking up since most of us cannot read social signals or can but are slow to?

If anything, most members from Neurodiversity are just offended because they've been picked on or bullied in school, although some autistics would consider what their peers in school did was bullying when they don't realize that part of it was based on the fact that they couldn't accept whatever mistakes they made if they were told patiently to stop tapping their fingers on the school desk or stop rocking when the kid was trying hard to control it; when that sort of criticism happens, it's called lacking patience, and that's something that needs to be taught in society.

If Ari wanted to help autistics and other disabled people have better lives, he should be focusing on teaching the nation about learning how to be patient with disabled people.

Kent Ada said...

Wow, that's pretty damning rhetoric from Clay Adams. Can you give the link?

Stephanie said...

@Kent Adams: Here

Kent Adams said...

Well, that quote from Clay Adams explains a lot about why he constantly attacks me everywhere. I am typically the only one on ASAN's board to interject the issues of the LFA, because my son is one. Whenever I do this, I am attacked by a few, including Clay Adams. Clay doesn't like it when I discuss the LFAs on ASAN's board. Neither do a lot of people. I wouldn't be surprised if I was eventually kicked off that board at some point. I'm the only one that I know of that has ever been put into moderation mode there. The fact is, that Clay Adams has no interest in the LFA and never has.

There are others though that do think LFA needs more representation and advocacy on that board and in the online autism community. However, most don't want to really expose themselves for fear of being attacked like I have. They see what has happened to me and they don't want any of that to happen to themselves. I can't blame them but I have a lot at stake. You should note what Michelle Dawson has said, namely that ASAN only wants autistics that have been approved by ASAN. I'd say that's about right most of the time.

I've advocated for you to be able to join Jon, but I'm the only one so my voice gets shouted down. I've advocated for others as well to be included but to no avail.

History though will be on the side of inclusion, its my only solace.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that anybody using the R world is going to be called out!

Like many other parents, I know that my offspring will get Social Security benefits at 18 for having an intellectual disability.

Would rather my child be associated with the intellectual disability community then the autism community for obvious reasons. The majority of online autistics gives autism a bad name, and I would not want my child to meet any of them or worse be indentified as one of them.

Unknown said...


My son has has an Autistic Disorder diagnosis, assessed with profound developmental delays ... he is LFA.

I thank you for standing up for low functioning autistic persons on the ASAN board. I post periodically on my blog site about LFA and receive hostile commentary from some HFA as a consequence of doing so.

Droopy said...

Clay Adams:

"I don't think a person would get all those expensive benefits you mention above, if there was no chance of them ever contributing toward their own welfare. What would be the point? The gov't would be better off just paying them a small stipend each month, which is pretty much what they do now."

If that's what he's said then "'Clay's" response certainly would explain why Baggs gets the velvet pillow treatment, complete with literal state-funded rings on her fingers for yet another disorder that I actually have but that she does not(Ehlers Danlos)


and yet I have to sit here and go to court to fight over even the most very fundamental and basic supports and services that I actually need in order to stay living independently and surviving in my own home.

I also don't have a grand prognosis of contributing much back to our society (most people who know me or even know of me are amazed I do as well as I do).

Aside from the rather obvious 'contribution' she makes to bullshitting the masses,

(and when she's not saving corporations and governments money by hiding the truth of Autism, she's making other people money)

Dynavox, the makers of my communicator, linked to the "Wired" story on her as an "Adult autism success story"


The reality that Amanda's a hellofalot higher functioning than I am (being as she's every bit as capable as the next Neurodiversitee "Asperger/I'm Autistic" con-artists and is flat out feigning)

maybe 'they' figure when she's thoroughly completed her dirty-work here she can go on to other 'productive' 'gainful' activity for the powers that be (or maybe just give up the game and go get a job the way she always has been able)

Meanwhile the rest of us who don't have such capabilities or promise have to scrounge and fight like hell for our every morsel,

yes I can certainly see that.

Doesn't make it right by any means, but Mr Chav (er I mean Clay) may have unwittingly actually spoken a nugget of brutal truth, a reality,

especially when talking about cold-hearted dollar signs that seem to be all that's in decision-maker's eyes.

Droopy said...

Jonathan, I think you need to let me post this, whether you agree or not or whatever, its important:

As for the very "R word" itself

being one who was mistook, literally, such that it governed where I lived, how I was treated by professionals and authority in such places and what kind of 'education' I got and limitations assumed/placed about my life for most of (3/4ths) of it,

I guess here guess I'm in a position with this that the Neurodiversitee 'geniuses' (and yes that includes Baggs) never knew growing up and never will know (unless they're intentionally going out and seeking the experience so they can write and ruminate on it now, which is quite a different deal)

I guess I'm in a place to have my responses to this word.

When I first learned at the ripe age of 30 that I'm not only not "MR" but actually quite up there in IQ, one of the many things I went through was a renewed fury at being called 'retard' or 'retarded'

I really naively thought somehow people just would not do this any more, they could 'see' I was so smart etc, being then on a university campus and all, but no... as I walked with my personal assistant to classes the students, the 17 - 20ish would make 'rainman' remarks and "since when did they start letting retards go to college?" etc and I went ballistic.. used to scream at people online in those autism chats when they'd hit this same nerve (yes, those early on Neurodiversitees so many years ago in the mid 1990's)

I'm not retarded but it doesn't matter, for all intents and purposes I may as well be, I still get mistook that way by passersby and them's the breaks, and its time to get real about it.

They still do it, "Phil Gluyas" et al and these elitists think they know what severe autism is and they think IQ is the end all be all, as one who's experienced a full on "Flowers for Algernon" experience I could tell them otherwise, but who's listening, they won't get it.

anyway, I've evolved to where I truly laugh it off, just like when people call me "brain damaged" (well, I am, I have sustained brain injuries, what are you supposed to call people who have had brain injuries? are we supposed to deny people with this experience too?)

and I think again, as with being autistic, people who've honestly never dealt with this, never have never will in a million years really should stfu about it.

Yes, it is like "the n word' -- if you don't know, and you don't Neurodiversity and Ari and maybe 99.99% of people reading this, then stay out

May as well scream at me "you.. shorty, your so short, short short short!" (I am just five feet tall)
since it only has about that much impact or power (or lack thereof and is just as ridiculous to me now) .. but it wasn't always

Now my response is truly nothing, almost bemused, bored "and your point..?"

(Its taken me a while to get there but this is where I am)

and this, I'm also here:

I'm completely with Ponceman on this


The R word is also MY word too, and I'm taking it back.

(Watch the whole video please, its about the NDSS and the tropic thunder movie, but the point it makes also carries over to our situation and the 'players' in the autism community very well)

Droopy said...

I don't want people who've made it abundantly clear they too think of me as 'retard' piping up to bitch about it when somebody else goes out and does the exact same thing.

The remarks referenced in the original post aren't nice, to be sure, but at least they're far more honest than anything to come from Neurodiversity on this or any other subject.

The only time anymore that I get pissed off about somebody thinking I'm retarded is when somebody's trying to take advantage of me based on their belief

Yes, it (being considered and living as) "mentally retarded' for the majority of my life as I have has made me pay prices I never owed (nobody does)

all of you thinking your alleged online claims of "genius' mean something, make you so much more innately 'better' or so much more deserved, worthy or whole people in some way you think we're not.

because when you're doing it to me you're not doing it to some little kid out there, and I can take it, I can take it alot beter than they can and I can let it bounce off my chest, so you just go right ahead and pack it to me, boy (and that goes for all of you) wear yourself out on me and when you see next to no response, maybe you won't be so tempted to start in on the next 'retard' you see, online or off.

one last thing about intellect and all these claims you all make

I have a genius IQ (yep, I'm a member of Mensa, on the roster, chew on that a while)

but I'm not using it, not able to make any use of my little splinter 'off the charts' abilities that rank up enough to counter my deficits and give me this hugely misleading global IQ

so what good is it?
(and it doesn't mean that much to me.)

and what good is yours that your also not using?
(but it means so much to you)

while you're all banging on me and people like me for being LFA and I am at least one who like it or not, is LFA AND 'in your genius club' (and for real not just spouting shit online like most of you do)

I've just got a question for all you "misunderstood geniuses"

(One I'm sure you've all seen and half of you touting on your 'in yer face I have to tell you I'm Autistic t-shirts)

I'm autistic. What's your excuse?

and because Jonathan probably won't post half of this but I'm determined to be heard:

being one who's had a full on "Flowers for Algernon" real life experience, in a fortnight gone from both been underestimated to then overestimated (I've had to sit in court twice now, as my known IQ got waived about on papers "but she's so smart' and tell people, the last time the judge, right in the eye "I can't McGyver my way out of Autism")

This is MY take on "the R word"


I'm with Ponce
Its now MY word, *I* own that word and I'm taking it back.

Listen to ponce and his brother.

Don't give the word 'power' and don't back away from it, and ffs don't be hypocrits about it.

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging there are developmentally disabled people (thats what Autistic people are, regardless of our ability or lack there of to take a test and that's all IQ tests anyway, how well you can take a test)

and there's nothing wrong with acknowledging there are mentally retarded developmentally disabled people

NOT acknowledging is whats dangerous -- for us!

Don't deny us our existence!

If people start treating words like "brain damage' and "retarded' and 'autistic' like their 'four letter' hush 'red district' words, we're all in a world of trouble, because you're removing words that identify entire groups of people, entire groups of people who NEED to be acknowledged and recognized in our own right.

To deny us this is a half step away from locking us all back out of sight, out of life.

Droopy said...

I received this today from an disability advocacy's (a real one) listserv that I am on, feel it very worthy of sharing here

collected (most of) editorial/commentary from the link below


The Washington Post
Letters to the Editor

"How to talk about disabilities"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What is glaringly missing from the debate over the epithet "retard" in The Post [" 'Retard': The language of bigotry," op- ed, Feb. 15] is the voice of anyone with a disability who spent a lifetime enduring such garbage.

Since I was a child, growing up with cerebral palsy, I have put up with and, worse yet, witnessed others putting up with derision from schoolyard bullies, so-called satirists and politicians. Is such speech protected by the First Amendment? Certainly it is. Free speech, however, is a two-way street. If you are going to claim the right to utter the word, don't pretend to be foggy about its meaning.

The R-word is a slur based on the rankest forms of prejudice, fear and stereotyping, and everyone from kindergartners to those in high positions knows it. If you want to use the word, use it. But if you are an adult, don't try to shield yourself from criticism by claiming that those who challenge your words and your intent are just being "politically correct" when they call you out for being what you are -- a bigot.

The First Amendment does not discriminate between those who are entitled to its protections.

My parents, Mina and George Hirsch, were part of a small group of people who founded the country's first AHRC (Association for the Help of Retarded Children) in New York more than 60 years ago. They responded to an ad in the New York Post for parents of retarded children to get together and see if they could be advocates for their children. For the next 60 years, my dad was active in the city and state AHRC as president, vice president, treasurer and board member. Those years and the hard work of the parents and staff of those organizations produced great gains and programs for the "retarded" and made New York one of the best states in providing services for this population. It also made the public more aware of the challenges facing these families.

Several years ago, my dad was honored posthumously at the state convention, and one of the sessions at the gathering was titled "Should the Term Retarded Be Eliminated?" Some parents thought it should; many others thought not. They said it was another politically correct dilution of the reality.

Unfortunately, people can be cruel, and whether a person is called retarded or intellectually disabled, he or she might be picked on nevertheless.

What is most important, regardless of the name, is helping all children reach their maximum potential. A rose is a rose is a rose.

Thank you, Christopher M. Fairman, for having the courage to challenge this idiotic campaign and oppressive political correctness ["Saying it is hurtful. Banning it is worse," Outlook, Feb. 14].

Experts have changed the names of institutes and medical references to "intellectually disabled." Therefore, the main, current use of the word in question is to mean "stupid." On the street and playground, kids are not talking about anyone with an intellectual disability when they use the word "retard." The demagogues have used it so much in the past two weeks that it reminds me of Lenny Bruce being put on trial for using words on stage that the judge and prosecutor used freely in court.

How many geniuses does it take to screw in a light bulb? Someday, a stand-up comic with Down syndrome -- and a satirical bent -- will call out to her peers in the audience: " 'sup, retards?"