by : Nikki Jeanette/creator of “AuTalkz”
For the longest time, the word “retard” was used as a horrible insult. In fact, that’s partially the reason why the DSM changed it to “Intellectual Disability”.
Hang on, I’m going somewhere with this.
So, the place I saw this word thrown around the most as an insult was the gaming community (as that’s pretty much my social life, and not many people actually call someone a “retard” in person…cause, you know, safety of that computer screen).
At the time when I first began to play MMOs (which was shortly before WoW came out), it wasn’t used often. As WoW and other games grew, I noticed that the word “retard” was used more and more often as an insult.
It completely blew up to the point where practically everyone was using it, and moderators (in MMOs or social chatrooms) just didn’t care or did nothing.
These days, I’ve been seeing something new used in place of “retard”. It’s, you’ve guessed it, “autistic”.
I’ve seen this a couple of times already in the past couple days. When it happened again today on Pokemon Showdown (and I even saved the chat log), it wasn’t just one person.
Another person chimed in saying that it’s a “funny insult”.
No, it’s not.
Seeing what happened with the word “retard” as an insult, we CAN NOT let the same thing happen with the word “autistic”.
This word should not be used as an insult to describe someone who is stupid/noobish/disliked (as that’s the context; it’s pretty much the 2015 replacement for the word “retard” being used as an insult).
The mods did NOTHING until there were about three people using it as an insult, and one person and myself protesting it to the point where it turned into an argument.
They didn’t step in until it had already gone too far, which is another huge issue. Already, people are ignoring the fact that this is CYBER BULLYING. And worse, it paints people who are autistic in a bad light.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE AUTISM (or just want to help raise awareness):
You shouldn’t have to put up with this! Tell everyone you can about it, share this comic, whatever you want to do, but LET PEOPLE KNOW, please! If you have connections to organizations, reach out to them to help stop the spread of this word. I’m just one person…I can’t be a wave, but I can help start a wave.
Spread the word! Let as many people know about this! The more people who know, the greater the chance that something can be done to stop it before it gets too far.
Again, I’ve seen what happened with the “retard” insult…this IS going to explode, there’s no doubt. We need to stop this NOW before it gets that far.
Please, please, PLEASE…don’t advocate hate. Your beliefs are your own, fine, but nobody on the internet can go tell you that your kid is being inappropriate. It’s up to you to make sure that, before your kid goes into a public chat room no matter where it is, there are things which they just SHOULD NOT SAY.
Calling someone “autistic” as an insult is one of those things.
If you hear anyone using it as an insult (though so far, I’ve only heard this used online), don’t turn a blind eye to it. That’s as bad as encouraging the problem. Let the child know that calling someone “autistic” or “retard” as an insult is not okay to do…involve the parents if you have to, but don’t just let it happen. It’s bullying.
If you see anyone, and I mean ANYONE, using the word “autistic” as an insult in your chatroom, DO NOT IGNORE IT.
Ban them straight away. Send a message that it is NOT OKAY to use this word as an insult. Don’t let it get to a point where emotions are high and nobody has been disciplined.
Telling people to just “stop talking about it” does nothing. The people who used it as an insult need to learn that their actions have reprecussions…and poor actions have punishments. Time them out or ban them, but DO SOMETHING.
If I was a moderator and I saw someone bullying other people in the chat, be it with swearing or using words such as “autistic” or “retard” as an euphemism for “moron”, I’d drop a banhammer on them immediately.
You have the power to stop these things…don’t wait until it escalates, stop it before it can even get started.
YOUTUBE USERS/CONTENT CREATORS
Immediately flag any comment you see where someone uses the word “autistic” as an insult. Someone’s comment reminded me to add this in, as Youtube was the first place I saw it used as an insult.
Nikki is the creator of the webcomic “AuTalkz”. She has Asperger’s Syndrome and found relief from panic attacks by doodling. Nikki wanted to make a comic which went back to the “bare basics” of past comics: ones l like Calvin & Hobbes which could teach lessons and procure laughter without the use of bad language and-or graphic violence….she called this comic strip “AuTalkz“. “The idea was for the opinions and comedy to come from the viewpoint of someone with ASD. I decided to branch out and do something I’ve always wanted to do: Help people understand autism. My hope is that my comic can help promote understanding, particularly teachers who have students on the spectrum, parents who have children on the spectrum, and even kids and workers who have classmates and co-workers on the spectrum”. We would agree and are proud to feature Nikki and her fabulous work, AuTalkz, on aspergers101.com