I’ll admit, I’m just a suburban mom. I’m not your target demographic, I know that. In fact, I’m not even a fan (I’m partial to Linkin Park). I wouldn’t be able to name one of your songs to save my life. But all of a sudden I’ve become all too familiar with your new song, Jodeci Freestyle.
My son is autistic. I go into his school every day and try to help the other children understand and accept him. My husband and I, we fight. We fight like hell to get the school to provide the supports our son needs. We fight our urge to dismiss other children as mean bullies, and instead look for opportunities to teach understanding and acceptance. But when you release a song like this, you are undoing all our efforts. Who will the kids be listening to, some kid’s parents, or well-known, popular rap artists?
You are putting my son in danger. You see, he is getting closer and closer to middle school, and we know that kids start separating into groups and picking on other children at that time. When you throw out the term “autistic” in such a negative way, you are planting a seed in children’s minds that people with autism are less; less intelligent, less important, less than human. What effect will that have on my son? What effect will it have on the millions of autistic kids out there?
Autistic people are already a population that suffers from inequality. They do not have equal job opportunities, medical care, or rights. These things cannot ever improve if people in the public eye continue to spread hatred and misinformation. You are perpetuating a negative stereotype that keeps a minority group disenfranchised. I’m sure you can see the irony in that.
I’m begging you (because being a parent means not being too proud to beg), please do the right thing and change the lyrics. Changing one line of your song could be the difference between acceptance and being ostracized for autistic children. Our children live with the danger of bullying every single day. You could help make that better, rather than worse, by doing the right thing.
Please help me. I’m fighting, we’re fighting, for our son’s future; his survival and ability to navigate the world depend so much on what happens in these early years. Please don’t make our uphill climb an exercise in futility. We, and so many others, will never forgive you for that.
Do the right thing. Lift our children up, don’t tear them down.
Flannery, just a suburban mom to an AMAZING autistic boy
For anyone interested in sending a message, there is a petition HERE requesting an apology and change to the lyrics.