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to think that Chris Huhne's son was very wrong to call him 'autistic'

(358 Posts)
Sallyingforth Mon 04-Feb-13 17:03:34

He is may be an unpleasant creature but that word should never be used as an insult.

limitedperiodonly Mon 04-Feb-13 17:07:38

I think feelings were running a little high

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:23:16

As the mother of two children with autism, I don't care how high feelings were running.

There are no circumstances under which it is excusable to use autism as an insult. It really hurts when a condition that affects your whole life is reduced to something like this. Something to throw at people when you're pissed off with them in order to indicate that they're crap in some way.

Well my children aren't crap. Nobody with autism is because of their autism. Nothing about having autism means you're crap and it's not ok to call someone autistic when what you mean is lying unfeeling arse.

That's not what it means to be autistic, for a start.

fromparistoberlin Mon 04-Feb-13 17:28:24

thats so fucking sad

autism aside, I really wish you had not shown that OP

thats harsh dialogue and I feel sorry for them both


limitedperiodonly Mon 04-Feb-13 17:32:33

When I consider the pain and naked hatred the son obviously felt to the father at what he saw as the betrayal of his mother (no matter how badly she may have behaved) I'm really not going to judge the young man for a poor comment.

That relationship is smashed to bits and I don't see how it can ever be mended and so I feel more sorrow than anger at all of them. I would not like to be in their shoes.

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:39:20

Well, I am. Sorry, but I don't think there's a threshold for crap in your life beyond which it's ok to chuck disablist, (or sexist or racist) remarks about. I don't think it's ever ok.

I'm not going to write off complaining about it or anything, and I'm fairly sure that nobody is going to give a shit what I think or what's said on here, but I'm never going to think that it's ok, same as I wouldn't think it was ok cos he was really in pain if he'd called him something with racist connotations, comparing him to <insert ethnic group> because he was <insert negative quality>.

DyeInTheEar Mon 04-Feb-13 17:40:55

Not the wisest choice of insults or words but he (the son) sounds broken to me and I feel so sorry for him. And am sorry that his texts messages have been dragged into public domain as well. Poor kid.

DameMargotFountain Mon 04-Feb-13 17:42:06

i'm with you OP

calling someone autistic is now on the level with 'spaz' and 'retard' - really funny and a great insult hmm

it makes me sick to the stomach

it's this sort of casual 'ism' that needs to be challenged, fuck the context/ bollocks to 'mitigating circumstances'

autism is not something that you can use as an insult

Sallyingforth Mon 04-Feb-13 17:43:10

Thanks for the comments. I knew the son was very hurt, and was justified in sounding off to his father.
But what offends me is that when someone reaches into the darkest corner of their mind for the worst insult they can think of, the word that they find is for a mental or physical handicap. It's an insult not to the intended target but to the innocent sufferers from that condition.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 17:49:45

Of course it is wrong to use autistic as shorthand for something hateful. People need to be better educated. But I am not going to comprehensively damn someone in the position of that mans son who now has all his family's pain and dysfunction spread all over the Internet. He clearly wasn't choosing his words with calm and deliberation.

I would reserve my full rage and bile for those who deliberately attack and target the disabled - for those who need educating I would try to be less full of anger to them as persons.

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:51:51

I know what you mean.

It doesn't so much offend me as hurt me to my very core.

The worst thing you can think to throw at someone in rage and to hurt them is to pretend that they are like my children.

How is that supposed to not hurt like hell?

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:53:36

True, Spero. Better to talk generally about the current throwing about of 'autism' as shorthand for arsehole, abuser, uncaring, thoughtless... and how to make people stop doing that.

SamG76 Mon 04-Feb-13 17:53:52

I'm in for a flaming here, but I've some sympathy for the son, like DITE. It wasn't just a random insult. He seemed to be suggesting that his dad is
completely lacking in empathy and unable to read social situations or interpret non-verbal clues. These are characteristic of someone on the autistic spectrum, which I think is the point he was trying to make.

DameMargotFountain Mon 04-Feb-13 17:57:42

before anyone starts bandying that shite about people on the spectrum lacking in empathy, please see Dr Google


HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:58:03

Not going to flame you. I would hope that we can discuss - and disagree - civilly and without attacking one another personally.

But I would disagree, given the whole of the sentence, that it was anything but an insult. I don't think he was speculating that his dad might be on the spectrum.

I understand that he's broken, I do. It's awful for him, that's his dad. He's hurt.

But it's still not ok. And it simply highlights the need for education.

I am tired, for example, of reading about some abusive arsehole and then waiting for the inevitable post of "sounds like he could be autistic"

There's a serious lack of understanding.

Sallyingforth Mon 04-Feb-13 17:58:19

I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have posted this, but I was so offended at reading the text that I wondered if it was 'just me'.
If it has caused you personally any distress at all I am very, very sorry.

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 17:59:24

Yes. People do think that autism = lack of empathy, when the truth is the opposite.

That's one of the things people need to be educated about. The perception of autism is is totally wrong.

AnyFucker Mon 04-Feb-13 18:00:10

I absolutely agree the choice of insult was very, very wrong.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 18:00:28

Of course it hurts, I am not trying to deny that or say you shouldn't hurt. It's your children.

But I remember when a few of my friends joined a Hate Heather Mills group on Facebook which was full of hideous, awful jokes about her leg. I have an artificial leg. My friends know that.

Did I think they were engaged in some aggressive vicious attack on me? No, they were thoughtless twats, having a bit of a giggle. So I politely pointed out that they needed to think about the content of what this group was posting, and they politely agreed.

Had I gone in screaming and raging, it would not not have been effective, but nor would it have been entirely fair. They weren't monsters, just lucky enough not to be directly touched by disability and thus not really cognisant of what they were doing.

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 18:02:53

Nah, s'ok. It's important to discuss things like this. People don't know. They often don't think.

I am sure that this poor lad isn't going to give a crap about his choice of words or that someone on the internet thinks he was wrong grin. He's got more important things going on in his life. But this is the most important thing going on in my life and in the lives of many of us! grin so we can talk about misconceptions and not using autism as an insult and carry on plugging away, hoping that it changes people.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 18:04:02

I thought I was quite well educated and it was certainly my understanding that being on autistic spectrum involved lack of ability to read social cues. If I am wrong, then help me understand, don't just face palm and send me off to google.

If that perception is wrong, it is a very widely held perception.

JakeBullet Mon 04-Feb-13 18:06:49

YANBU...he was angry and upset but that does not make it okay for him to use the term "autistic" as an insult.

Mother of an autistic son.

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 04-Feb-13 18:09:07

Calling someone 'autistic' or 'aspie' is the new 'spaz' or 'mong'.

The worst thing you can think of to insult someone is a disability.


BettySuarez Mon 04-Feb-13 18:09:24

As someone who admittedly has no personal experience with Autism, the things that stood out for me were the hurt, anger and betrayal that this young man feels. I probably wouldn't have noticed that the word was there had it not been pointed out. I think it would have been lost in the general context (for me)

But other people have obviously very hurt by it.

I'm just saying that for me, it wasn't noticeable

CartedOff Mon 04-Feb-13 18:10:30

In a way I'm glad you posted this thread OP, because it's educating people- myself included. I feel like I've learned a thing or two about autism that I didn't just by reading some of these posts.

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