Quick thought: “Neurotribes”

Neurotribes is written by a neurotypical man, who basically says:

“Do not kill, abuse, and try to “cure” autistic people, because some of them are good at computers and science”

OK, compare it to a (hypothetical) book written by a straight man:

“Do not kill, abuse, and try to “cure” gay people, because some of them are great in showbiz”



I don’t think I should have to spell this out, but autistic people are as worthy of life, safety, and respect as any damn person on this planet, full stop.


3 thoughts on “Quick thought: “Neurotribes””

  1. “Autistic people are as worthy of life, safety, and respect as any damn person on this planet, full stop.” Which is exactly the point of my book “NeuroTribes,” which goes into great depth about the history of the ways autistic people have been marginalized, excluded, demonized, and pathologized over the decades — thus providing valuable information for those who support the same argument that both you and I are making. I certainly *do not* say that autistic lives are valuable because some autistic people are “good at computers and science.” The whole point of my book is that all human lives, and particularly autistic lives, are valuable. Which is why many people in the self-advocate community have responded well. As a gay neurotypical man, I’m well aware of the perils of writing about a community I’m not a part of — which is why I made sure to put autistic voices at the forefront of my book, and have been signal-boosting autistic voices in media for many years now. In my book, self-advocates and groups like ASAN are the heroes who arrive in the modern era, after all the awfulness, to turn the tide. I think if you read my book, you might find it more helpful than you think. Thanks for reading this comment. Be well.


    1. I *am* reading your book, and the point I am making relates to the book I am reading.. It is largely about the history of stem-successful male autistics, juxtaposed with stories of abuse of autistic people, and stories of parents who have had autistic children so far. I am half way through the chapter “fighting the monster” and am irritated but trying to continue. I am aware of the positive reaction it has had, which just makes me want more for our community than for a book which highlights the gifts of autistics to be Big News. It is a sad state of affairs for me when “how to think smarter about people who think differently” basically boils down to “why you should not abuse or try to “cure” people” which should just be a given. The knowledge of the breadth of the autistic spectrum just is not in this book so far, for me, as it seems to focus on computer geeks — this is not what being autistic *is*, quite simply. I don’t actually see much of an autistic voice at all in the book so far, though maybe this comes in towards the last quarter of the book, and perhaps this is because autistic people have not had a voice in history. Your lens that you see autistic people through is, to me as an autistic reader, very neurotypical — “look at how amazingly clever they are” juxtaposed with “but socially that are very poor”. I could go on. I don’t want to put you down, but this is how I am receiving this book so far. I am not the only autistic person with such a reaction. I think that some autistic people, especially in the states, are so much in “battle mode” that anything which refutes the vaccine myths is going to get a thumbs up. Thank you for your comment, and for all the hard work you have put into this book, which will be a huge revelation to some people, but so far (3/4 the way through it and struggling) I have reservations, as stated.


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