I had the misfortune of running across a post where the author wrote about a friend fighting ovarian cancer. She drew a comparison between cancer and autism by saying that she wouldn’t say she hates “femaleness” because her friend is battling cancer. The message you are supposed to take from that is that, if you’re a good and thoughtful person, then you would never say that you “hate autism” because it’s saying that you hate your child.
Except, it’s not.
It’s not the same thing at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the employment of a good logical fallacy from time to time, if it serves the greater good of the writing. But when it’s used solely for the purpose of manipulating the audience into blind adherence, then it kind of makes me sick. I don’t like dishonesty.
An accurate comparison would be to say that your friend is fighting cancer and you hate the cancer. Not femaleness. And this is what’s meant when someone says they “hate” autism. They don’t hate their child…they don’t hate the autistic person. They hate the challenges their loved one faces because of autism.
I hate that my son has such a hard time making friends. It’s because of autism.
I hate that my son feels overwhelmingly anxious when a routine changes. It’s because of autism.
I hate that my son struggles to infer the meaning of a reading passage. It’s because of autism.
I hate that my son doesn’t always understand humor because he is such a literal thinker. It’s because of autism.
I hate that sometimes my son cries because he can’t express himself the way he wants to. It’s because of autism.
I hate that if someone says they hate autism, people come out in droves to tell them their feelings are wrong.
I hate that people think advocacy means making someone else wrong so they can be right.
I hate that people don’t realize that advocacy is fighting for something, not against something.
I hate that some people think you have to love every minute of autism to be an advocate.
I hate that people can’t make the connection that someone hating the effects of autism can still be someone who advocates for inclusion.
I hate that a huge part of the community is ostracized because their autism is much different from the autism of someone who can communicate enough to work with legislators.
But I don’t hate people.
Hating behaviors, actions, and labels isn’t the same thing as hating a person. People will create logical fallacies to tell you otherwise, though.
I hate ovarian cancer, but I love femaleness.
And sometimes I hate autism, but I adore my child.
No amount of red herrings or false analogies can change that.