Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I am an Aspie and Proud of it II

I wrote the previous article on Asperger Syndrome with a heavy dose of tongue and cheek. I do not see Aspies as a persecuted group, but I also do not see homosexuals as a persecuted group. Aspies and homosexuals are simply two groups of people who are seen by many, in the general society, as being deviant. Because of this, people in these groups find themselves alienated from the rest of society and subjected to societal pressure to conform.
When I wrote the previous article I did not believe that there were people with real prejudices against those with Asperger Syndrome. A comment posted on that article has proven me wrong. Just goes to teach you: be careful what you joke about it may be serious.
To respond to some of the comments made:
"Gays can and do sometimes behave in ways that make it impossible to detect that they are gay. If someone objects to them because they are gay, that can be seen as bigotry. Aspies often behave in socially inappropriate ways. For someone to object to their behavior is not bigotry. Anyone can find someone else to be boring, rude or annoying. Given the choice, most employers would choose an employee who is not annoying."
Well imagine this scenario. The history department at Ohio State is interviewing candidates for a teaching position. A male applicant comes in wearing an earring, and a pink shirt and to top everything off he constantly uses the word "fabulous." What would happen if a professor on the hiring committee were to comment that it would not be appropriate for such a prestigious institution as Ohio State to hire someone who dressed in such an "uncivilized" manner and behaved in such an "unacademic" manner. That professor would be crucified on the spot as a homophobe. Now I come in as the next candidate wearing clothes that do not match and with my shirt half untucked. If a member of the committee were to suggest that such a mode of dress is not befitting for a professor at Ohio State, that person would not be accused of being bigoted against Aspies even if it were known that I did have Asperger Syndrome. In fact, as things stand now, someone can decide that my having Asperger Syndrome in of itself makes me unfit to be a college professor.
Now in the case of the homosexual by coming dressed as he did he was making a political and ideological statement. Any member of the committee who does not share those beliefs should therefore be justified in turning this candidate down. Would anyone scream bigotry if a Structuralist member of a committee turned down a Poststructuralist candidate. In my case, when I wear cloths that do not match and have my shirt half untucked it is not because I am making some sort of political or ideological statement. The way my mind is structured I do not care if my cloths match or if my shirt is tucked in. I have far more important things to think about and it is likely that I will not notice how I am dressed unless someone points it out to me. So when someone objects to how I dress they are attacking my being. The way I dress has no bearing on my ability to teach history. The fact that my mode of dress bothers you is simply a sign that you are a "close-minded bigot," who is not willing to tolerate alternative modes of dress.
"Your tirade is itself a symptom of Aspergers Syndrome. Your brain works in a way that makes you believe that you can pronounce your extreme views and get others to change to your way of thinking. See if you have any luck with it over the next several decades.The world doesn't need more teachers who are aspies. It needs more aspies to listen to the sound advice of others. Consider, at least once in a while, that maybe the rest of the world is correct and that you are wrong. "
There are tens of not hundreds of thousands of blogs out being written by people who have "extreme" views and who wish to get others to "change" their way of thinking. To the best of my knowledge most of these people do not have Asperger Syndrome. Why is it simply Aspies who have to sit down and listen to what everyone else has to say? We are human beings too and we have the right to our own opinions. We are a part of the fabric of society, which we enrich by being ourselves. I question and challenge myself all the time. I firmly believe that I am capable of being wrong. This is one of the reasons why I speak out. I want someone to point out the flaws in my reasoning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your sense of humor is remarkable. The following is a quote from your tongue in cheek essay.

"Anyone who uses the term “Asperger Syndrome” should be viewed as a bigot. They are implying that my state of being is somehow less then completely human and are robbing me of my humanity. Any attempt on the part of the psychiatric community to “cure” us or make us less Aspie like should be viewed as Nazism. Furthermore society should be made to be more tolerant of us Aspies. We should not have to act in a less Aspie fashion."

Your views are extreme and your approach to coping with the world will lead to limited success, as you've already found.

Your logic is also no good. You say that espousing extreme views is not a symptom of your Asperger's because others with extreme views do not have Aspergers. I'll say that you have two hands because you're human. But, chimps also have two hands. Having two hands is a characteristic of humans, regardless of whether or not chimps also have two hands.

Now, here's a point you really won't like. You aren't anywhere near as good at what you do as you think you are. An oversized ego in one's chosen field is another Aspie trait. You miss career opportunities not simply because you don't interview well, but also because you're just not that good at what you do.

You say you'd like someone to find the flaws in your reasoning. I did. You say you have more important things to do than to tuck your shirt in. Is getting a job important to you? If it is, tuck your shirt in!

It certainly won't happen today, but perhaps someday you'll realize that you should work at making others comfortable around you. Demanding that the world change to accept you and your eccentricities is a fatally flawed strategy.

The most important thing you can do to help yourself is to listen to others and consider what you hear. If you claim that you do that now, name ten instances where you changed your behavior because of advice from others.

One last thing - do you know the difference between the words 'then' and 'than'? If you do, you should use them correctly. Those hiring committees want to select candidates who understand logic, use good grammar, and listen to others.