Looking autistic

When a message is posted on Twitter or any other social networking website, it is revealed to the world and is released into the public domain.

When you are popular and have many fans and admirers, your thoughts are made even more important as there are people who look up to you. The words that are shared are used as a mantra of sorts, and beliefs that are shared in a tweet can often be then felt by those who want to be like the tweeter who has originally come up with them. No matter how damaging they may be to a select group of people that see them.

Take note of this, 50 Cent. Or may I call you Curtis?

Who looks more autistic here? Me or the dog?

Of course, comments are not always strongly planned before they are said and occasionally, things can be said in the heat of the moment after a tough day. Or after somebody has been critical of your work.

This feeling of wanting to let off some steam is something which is all too easy to act on, and I have been guilty of sharing my thoughts on a couple of occasions myself as somebody who doesn’t always feel that the world is treating me as I reckon it should.

Everybody has their moments, but disability isn’t something that is normally used in a jovial and possibly insulting manner.

In response to a tweet that Curtis received from a fellow user of Twitter who told him to “release the album or get shot again”, in reference to a mock track list which had been posted on the internet from Curtis’ official account, the following tweets were sent:

“Yeah I just saw your picture fool you look autistic”, and “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else.”

Before this notion was pointed out in such an abrupt fashion, it hasn’t been too clear to me that it is possible to look like I am autistic.

What is the big giveaway, after all?

A big badge that screams “AUTISM!” at anybody who dares to look at it? A tattoo that is stamped on to the head of those who are diagnosed with any form of autism on the spectrum, such as Asperger’s Syndrome? Possibly there is a birthmark which saves medical professionals from the trouble of branding?

Who knows. Curtis may not have thought about how an autistic person can look distinguished in comparison with a normal person, but perhaps there is a difference in some way that he has noticed after careful observation.

Or maybe he has just chosen a disability at random to mock a fan, without thinking of the consequences that his actions may cause.

Whatever the option, this surely can’t look too good on the image of a rapper who is popular on a global level?

Offending those who have autism may not have been intentional but when thoughts are released into such a public space, always consider what is being said when people could be affected by it.

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About philevans
As a 26-year-old man that has lived with Asperger Syndrome since the age of nine, personal experiences throughout development can be found on My Autistic Life with the odd media review being thrown in for good measure.

32 Responses to Looking autistic

  1. Jennifer says:

    Well said, as a mother of 2 autistic children, I think you’ve said it best. For every action, there is a consequence. Thank you for writing this.

    • philevans says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I took a look on Twitter as I usually do on a five minute basis, and felt that something had to be said in response to 50 Cent’s tweets.

      What he said may not have been meant in an offensive manner, but I hope that he has learned from this unfortunate situation that alienation is never a good thing to do.

      Thanks again.

      Phil

  2. scott snyder sr says:

    As a very proud father of a very lovable autistic son this ripped right through me! But, there are more famous people that cast there annoyence of anything they feel you are trying to attach them to. Me, I don’t nor ever want anything from anybody concerning my son! If they think its funny, well in there lifetime one third of this country will grow up,and still have a spectrum disorder! But, I am tired of organizations in the name of autism getting rich and doing nothing but keep taking donation!

    • philevans says:

      Hi Scott,

      Thank you for getting in touch and sorry for hitting a raw nerve if I did!

      These unfortunate incidents are something that can happen on a regular basis but for somebody with such a global impact as 50 Cent has, there must be a duty of care when making any comment as there will be a lot of people that are interested in everything that he does.

      Maybe social networking is a problem and not such a free way of sharing thoughts? Maybe there should be a way of vetoing everything that is sent by celebrities through their agents and suchlike?

      Twitter might not be as good as it can often seem but of course, a social media brand can not be blamed for the comments that were made on this occasion.

      I understand what you mean about taking donations and then making a lack of progress on breaking down the barriers of autism too. It is a complex disorder though and frankly, it is really up to an individual to learn as much as they want to?

      Or they can watch television. Autistic characters in a variety of programmes are becoming more and more prevalent which is only a good thing?

  3. Brenda says:

    I loved your response to 50 Cent. Ironically, your writing may be too grammatically correct for him to understand. Your patience and objective view will help others to learn more about Asperger’s. . My 22 year old grand daughter and 17 year old grandson both have Asperger’s Syndrome so thank you for sharing your thoughts through this blog.

    • philevans says:

      Hi Brenda,

      Thank you for your comment and as for 50 Cent’s grasp of grammar, I couldn’t possibly comment on that!

      Sharing my thoughts is something that I am more than happy to do, so you don’t have to thank me for that. This blog started out as a way of letting off steam about my down days and the challenges that I have faced and will continue to face in the future, so I’m glad that yourself and others can take solace from that.

      Thanks once again.

      Phil

  4. Pingback: 50 Cent Autism Tweets: Holly Robinson Peete Writes Letter To Rapper In … | Autism PDA

  5. Nia Ariel says:

    As an Autistic teen who’s been bullied for 13 years because I have Autism, the fact that someone I had some respect for would say something so immature and uneducated pisses me off. And unfortunately, it’s not just him saying stuff like that, people all over the internet are using Autism as the new R-word. It’s sick, really sick.

    • philevans says:

      Hi Nia,

      I’m sorry to hear that you have been bullied for that long as I understand how that feels from personal experience.

      50 Cent isn’t the first person to say something like this and as you say, he certainly won’t be the last. It’s just a shame that he has to be the person that sets off a widespread feeling of discontent and because he has a lot of young fans, the hurt may be deeper as I presume you like what he does?

      Autism may be in vogue at the moment but it can be positive too.

      Look at Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory. That show is huge and he has autistic tendencies I reckon!

      Phil

  6. fyrfly says:

    very nice response. I work with high functioning individuals with special needs. while you may be able to tell that they are not “normal”, you probably couldn’t identify their deficit. everybody has some glitch, some are more apparent than others. mr. “50¢” seems to suffer from hoof and mouth disease. your reply
    to make this a learning lesson is more reasonable than just blatantly calling for a boycott. people who post tweets, blog, facebook, etc. need to be more aware of how vast their audience is and also realize that their words are not likely to die. insensitivity is a lack of compassion, but no one ever learns a better way without someone to call them on it.
    thank you again.

    • philevans says:

      Hey,

      Thank you for your comment and to be honest, being autistic doesn’t carry a disfigurement. On the inside, there are some changes that may affect the behaviour of somebody on the spectrum but I don’t think the difference is too big in comparison with a ‘normal’ person.

      Sadly, saying what he did is just a decision. No disability there!

      Hopefully he will learn though. I didn’t want to have a moan or get on his back where something constructive could have a better impact.

      Phil

  7. Cindy says:

    I have a 15 year old daugher with Autism. Through exhausting therapies, she is doing well. If you lined her up with other children and asked 50 cents to pick out our girl he would NEVER be able to. Have him cough up a few of his $$$$$ to Autism research…Most of the families out they have spent $$$$ to help their children without any or little insurance coverage!!!! 50 cents….give up your piggy bank!

    • philevans says:

      Hi Cindy,

      That goes to prove the point that you can’t see a marked difference in autistic children.

      I cannot comment on the insurance situation as I’m not too educated on it but I like the piggy bank line, very clever!

      Phil

  8. Paula says:

    Very well spoken!! I have yo admit that his tweet, really disturbed me. I have two boys who are moderate to severe on the autism spectrum, and grateful, that they can not understand the ignorance that other people have!! Thank you for speaking up!!

    • philevans says:

      Hi Paula,

      Thank you and I know what you mean.

      What was said was strange and to be honest, I thought that a response had to be made as I’m glad I wasn’t alone in being surprised.

      Thanks again for your kindness.

      Phil

  9. Karen says:

    I’ve never heard anybody use the word autistic in the same way as retarded before. I hope he apologizes and gives some of his cents to autism research.

    • philevans says:

      Hey Karen,

      Neither have I so this is a first for me too. I guess that is what makes everything so startling?

      An apology would be a start in my opinion but to be honest, that doesn’t seem too likely at the moment either.

      Phil

      • It is definitely interesting that you have never heard the word used that way before. I don’t know how old Karen is, but I’m thinking Phil at 25, you may just be too young to have heard it. I am 40 (And 50 Cent is almost as ancient as I am) and I can definitely tell you it was used that way when I was a kid. Not all the time,but it was. I presume that is one of the reasons that autism was not considered as one of the things that might be “wrong” with me when I was little- even though as an adult reading about Asperger’s I’ve repeatedly thought “OK, that sounds like me. This explains a few things.” Back in the late 70’s early 80’s, at least where I live, the image of Autism was only the most extreme examples. Since my IQ tested at the border of genius, answers for me were sought in repeated hearing and vision tests, speech therapy, etc. i.e. in things that were not the problem!

      • philevans says:

        Hi Kathleen,

        It’s not that I haven’t heard the word used in a similar context before but as such a high-profile celebrity, it is just a massive shock to me that 50 Cent said it.

        Sure, he has apologised today but the surprise is still there.

        When were you diagnosed, if you don’t mind me asking? How much was known about the autistic spectrum at the time?

        I was diagnosed in the mid 1990’s and to be honest, I feel thankful for that as more information was coming to be known and my mum made a better life for me because of that.

        It must have been tough for you?

        Phil

    • Nia Ariel says:

      If you use deviantART as frequently as I do, you’ll see it often

      • philevans says:

        Is it used quite often on there then?

        I’ve not got an account with them so I wouldn’t know too much about it.

  10. Thank you so much for your eloquent response to such awful comments from someone globally known. I hope that he issues a public apology, for there are many disorders, conditions and diseases which are ‘invisible’ and one cannot possibly tell by looking at the individual and pinpoint, “oh, you have *insert appropriate invisible condition here*”. My 11 year old son was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome a few months ago, although, since birth, I have been saying he was different. I love all of my children with all of my heart and something like this is just so insensitive to kids and adults alike. I am truly happy that I do not listen to his music and my heart aches for those who have a child (or themselves have) an autistic condition who are fans of his. It is devastating when someone to whom you look up turns out to be so nasty. Again, thank you for speaking out! And thank you for sharing your daily frustrations and challanges… I will have to go back and read because I have just found your blog in response to 50 Cent’s mindless outbursts. I am hoping it will help me help my son more. I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • philevans says:

      Hi Corinne,

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      I don’t know if you follow Twitter but 50 Cent apologized yesterday, and I personally hope that he has meant what he said. I’ll be posting a follow-up piece on the apology and the views of some readers at a later point this week so please do feel free to come back and have a look.

      I’ve had the misfortune of feeling let down by celebrities that I have looked up to as a child too but thankfully, the sadness was never caused by something like 50 Cent said. I still understand though in a way.

      Thanks once again and I hope you’ve had a good day too.

      Phil

      • Thank you for informing me of his apology. I do not, nor will I ever, follow him on Twitter. I just happened to see the post about his insensitive comments because a friend of mine, who also has an autistic son, posted the article. If he has truly learned from his grossly public mistake, then I cannot condemn him further. After all, it’s not like I’ve never made a mistake before. As long as you are sorry and learned from that mistake, we can all move forward. I only wanted him to realize what he had done and that it impacted more people than he could have ever imagined. Thanks for staying on top of this ‘news’. I look forward to you next post.
        On a side note.. I happen to watch The Big Bang Theory.. Sheldon is my favorite character because he reminds me so much of my son! :)

      • philevans says:

        I don’t follow him either and to be honest, I won’t be rushing to do it in the future after his outburst.

        It would be nice to know that he may have learned from his mistake, but I guess the fact is that we will never know. We will never know if his apology was sincere or not.

        I love The Big Bang Theory too! Sheldon can be adorable and you can see that he means well, but I think that Penny has the patience of a saint at times!

  11. *your next post.. guess I need to proof read before I post. lol

  12. Pingback: 50 Cent’s Apology for Offensive Remarks | The Law Offices of Jennifer Day

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