In some of the above examples in the media the autistic person appears to have special abilities. In Touch for instance the son can see how people are connected to each other. It would be a pretty amazing thing to be aware of these patterns in nature and see how everything is interlinked. But the important thing to remember is that Autism is an entire spectrum of behaviors and that no two people will ever be exactly the same regardless of a diagnosis.
What I'd like to talk about though is how we judge people that are different and even bully them. But, as many people know, being autistic isn't the only personal attribute that bullies feed on. It can be anything, and I do mean ANYTHING that draws their attention and makes you stand out. I was bullied pretty early on, first for being heavier, then for reading too much (the horror! *rolling eyes*), getting decent grades, preferring animals to people, not having many friends, etc. It seemed in each new school there was a whole host of new people to tease and ridicule me for being, well, me. Sometimes they were the popular ones, the It crowd, or whatever people thought of them as. Sometimes it was just the kid that needed to find someone to pick on to feel better about himself.
While now, as an adult, I can figure out the reasons behind their actions for the most part, I remember hurting and crying as an overweight child in an empty music room between classes as I tried to find ways to cope with a life I was slowly beginning to hate.
But what does this have to do with Prejudice, which is the focus of this blog hop? Simple.
Judging others comes naturally to every single person on this planet. It's a completely natural way of comparing ourselves to others. But it is also predatory in a way that inevitably places people higher than or lower than ourselves. And the lower ones are often easy targets to become outcasts from society either willingly or because social norms and situations don't often accept those people that are seen as different than the main group. Being overweight made me an easy target for bullies then and prejudice now. If you have never identified as being heavy I don't expect you to understand what it's like to get on a plane and not only have to ask for a seat belt extender but to also be acutely aware of what the person next to you must be thinking. Sometimes there are simply looks. Other times though its outright comments that are not only mean but also extremely hurtful.
But it's not just planes. See, travelling can be avoided. What can't be is going to the grocery store, buying clothes or really going anywhere. There are looks, judgments and snide comments no matter where a person goes. Perhaps because I've grown up with this prejudice I'm more aware of it in myself and others, and maybe there are some of you that disagree with me, think it's just my imagination or are sitting there judging me for my weight through the computer screen.
And honestly, that's fine. I don't expect you to understand my hurts or to stop judging. After all that's only human nature. But I would like to ask that if you weren't aware of your thoughts toward other people to maybe take a look at them and decide if what you don't like about the other person is really a result of them or something inside yourself that you don't like coming to the surface because, in the end, it's not my weight that makes you judge me, its yourself. I have no control over anyone else and can't do anything but exist.