Some people think and act in ways that are just different.
In order to promote fairness, standard evaluations and treatments need continual exploration and modification to meet our growing awareness of diverse individuals and diverse populations. This is a team blog. Authors posting are; Ed and Wayward.
The comment policy here is strict in order to maintain an atmosphere
that will encourage people who may not have been in lots of environments
where what they thought counted for much to feel comfortable expressing
themselves here. That's what is most important to me.
Ideas are good, encouragement is good, promotion of other blogs is good,
stopping by to say hi is good, discussion is great.... if you think what
you say may discourage others who don't need any more of that, please find
a way to make your point as productively as possible. Thank you
Knowledge may be power but in this information age, the race for such power is as corruptible as any other and bullies involved in this competition are just as likely to describe degradation as the way to encourage toughness. I often see examples on the Internet where those who are seen as highly suggestible or who lack sophistication or savvy are defined as cattle or sheep.
On the playground, this is similar to calling someone a sissy or highlighting someone's weakness in an attempt to show how someone else is strong or tough by contrast. Of course, this is encouraged in the classroom as a way to coerce people to comply with standard evaluations. This is why psychology became so heavily influenced by the philosophy of behaviorism and why compulsory education focuses more of encouraging the standards of behavior than anything else.
The name of this blog is The Standard Review. What I have attempted to describe is the way that cultural standards influence public policy and how unrealistic expectations can negatively influence our relationship with individuals as well as with our community. Almost every post here is tagged "social Darwinism." Herbert Spencer helped to make this particular cultural standard so popular. This is how Wikipedia explains Herbert Spencer's contribution to the theory described as social Darwinism:
"For many, the name of Herbert Spencer would be virtually synonymous with Social Darwinism, a social theory that applies the law of the survival of the fittest to society; humanitarian impulses had to be resisted as nothing should be allowed to interfere with nature's laws, including the social struggle for existence. Spencer desired the elimination of the unfit through their failure to reproduce, rather than state intervention to secure their physical annihilation.
Spencer's association with Social Darwinism might have its origin in a specific interpretation of his support for competition. Whereas in biology the competition of various organisms can result in the death of a species or organism, the kind of competition Spencer advocated is closer to the one used by economists, where competing individuals or firms improve the well being of the rest of society. Spencer viewed private charity positively so long as it did not encourage the procreation of the unworthy, as he believed in voluntary association and informal care as opposed to using government machinery."
Spencer suggested that exclusionary and harsh standards would make the valued class stronger, but aside from how the less privileged are treated by it; I don't believe it strengthens anyone at all. Cultural standards can be used to discourage murder, rape, and other abusive acts, but they can also be used to define someone who isn't as skilled or capable as less worthy of respect and dignity. As someone diagnosed with autism who has been punished by the educational/training/rehabilitation/disability system for nearly a half-century, I see the values encouraged by the system to be mainly exclusionary and abusive in that way.
As much as people work towards creating better supports for people with mental illness and intellectual disability, they should also recognize that most people due to class status and disenfranchisement are simply just classified by the system as crazy and stupid and there's hardly a distinction between the two. It's convenient to claim that someone is inferior in the department of sanity or intellectuality due to moral reasons (for example, someone is described as willfully ignorant and/or choosing to be lazy), but it must be understood that the system which is supposedly providing them support uses those same moral standards which are based on nothing more than propaganda as an excuse to treat them as a subhuman species. Although this is deceptively advertised as support, it provides nothing but more unnecessary obstacles for those who are diagnosed.
The encouragement of overcoming is in no way separate from the fear which creates pity in terms of the treatment in this part of the population. The standard is not set so that no one will be left behind as it is advertised to be. Instead, it is set so that competition can be glorified and the abuse of those who are determined losers will appear justified.
It's important to recognize that anything and everything which criticizes someone classified as mentally ill, intellectually inferior, autistic, or with any variation or vernacular, can and will be used to further degrade everyone with such a diagnosis. Most everything we do is criticized and most anything that anyone of us does which society frowns upon is used to degrade the rest of us as well.
As an autistic, I wonder how anyone can believe that encouraging any type of cultural skill standards (standard of so-called appropriate or normal behavior, standard of communication, standard of so-called appropriate or normal response, etc.) can be seen as anything other than a way to encourage fear and degradation for what autistics do, which causes us so much harm.
Maybe people aren't smart or skilled in traditional ways, and maybe we go along and are naïvely accepting in a way that the savvy and sophisticated (otherwise known as the sane and smart) part of the population describes in the same way they describe the ways of cattle or sheep. However, it doesn't help anyone to show how others are less valuable based on their lack of ability. Furthermore, as I said earlier, lack of skill, naivete, and/or lack of emotional or mental stability is described as a lack of morality by the system which defines what skills are valued and which ones aren't.
It's important for everyone to use the skills which they have to perform their best weather that fits within traditional boundaries or whether the expression is completely unique. Doing your best is self-supporting as well as encouraging the strength of others. When instead, someone else must be degraded in order for others to appear better, the standard of degradation and unreasonable expectations is reinforced at the expense of everyone becoming weaker and everyone's contribution becoming less valuable.
In recent years, progress has been made due to people with disabilities becoming more influential in policies, which affect their lives. The Internet has allowed more autistic people to follow this example by becoming involved in discussions, which influence how many people see autism. Of course such progress does not come without a struggle.
Recently, I've heard people suggest that too many autistics have become involved in these discussions, and that either they are too capable of expressing themselves to have the right express how the public's view of autism, and the resulting policies affect their lives, or they are not polite in the way they do this. This is very unfortunate.
In general, the majority of news sources which influence public opinion are only providing a voice for a very few powerful people. Most people who are influenced by policies and by public opinions have very little opportunity to describe what they think and feel. Unfortunately, when they do they must express themselves in a very polite manner and what they say must fit within prescribed guidelines of political groups. This is how oppression and oppressive leaders are protected and how the needed changes are prevented.
There are plenty of billboards, news stories, and blogs written by fearful and worried parents, which describe autistics as a burden to be pitied and ignored. Of course, this objective isn't described overtly in what is said, but this is the result. However, no one but the people who are hurt by this description is truly in a position to explain the consequences of this dominant attitude. When such people who are hurt attempt to add their necessary voice to discussions in a way, which influences public opinion, they are blamed for being antagonistic.
Discussions remaining peaceful and quiet and the requirement that everyone who attempts to assert any degree of influence they may have, be too incapable of expressing themselves and too polite and naïve to have a valid opinion of what others describe as reality, will allow the traditional abuse and neglect to continue.
More autistics need to become involved in these discussions yet I mainly hear why the ones who are involved shouldn't be. The people who will become active and explain more of how the traditions have been harmful will not likely be able to express themselves in the required manner. The current expectations of peaceful discussions to them would seem like a demand that they accept the current problems and remain silent.
If people are interested in autistics having more opportunities and better lives, the requirements for becoming involved in discussions need to radically change in order to include more people. Otherwise those who have always made the decisions will continue to do so, and no improvements will be made.