My daughter has autism.
And according to TIME Magazine, she is crazy.
This is the screen shot of John Ashley Cloud’s article on the DSM-V:
First item up in the article? The redefining of autism and the possible affects of such redefinition.
Do I believe that Time Magazine really thinks that my little Brooke is crazy? No. Do I think that the author John Ashley Cloud truly believes my girl is crazy? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. Do I think that he or whoever entitled his piece is a complete and utter asshole? In the words of Sarah Palin, You Betcha!
The article in and of itself is not a bad one. It’s fairly matter of fact in its approach. But that title…that title!
I have nothing against the word “crazy”. I use it all the time. Random acts of violence? That’s crazy! A buddy of mine running a sub-3:00 marathon his first time out? That’s crazy! Preparing for the Mayan apocalypse on December 21st? That’s crazy! The Giants beating the Pats in the Superbowl on late 4th quarter drives? TWICE? That’s crazy!
Setting back years and years of hard work by those in the mental disability and disorder community with the simple stroke of a keyboard? THAT is crazy!!!
As a society we have inched ever so slowly toward a more inclusive society. More and more we are realizing the gift of having all people participate in our communities. Slowly we have inched toward removing the stigma of either mental illness or disability or disorder.
Cloud’s article does nothing to change that, but the title does that and more. We live in a headline society. That is not a gripe, that is a fact. Just look at this past election cycle. So many of us get our news and information from either the headlines or from the 50 word bullet points at the beginning of an article. The only things we WILL read are those articles we find most interesting; ones that reinforce our own ways of thinking. That’s why a title like Redefining Crazy is awful, disrespectful and downright dangerous.
People will skim over this article and walk away thinking, wow, autistic people ARE crazy…I mean they flap their arms and run around and make strange noises. And they will hold on to that headline because that is what sticks in their head.
Now before you accuse me of joining the ranks of the PC Word Police, I want you to think about what the word “crazy” means to you. I’m sure there was a time when it was a clinical word. Is that how the word is used today? Would you go up to the mother of a child with what was formerly known as Asperger’s and tell her that her son or daughter is crazy? For those of you who know my Brooke, would you say that she is crazy?
Crazy is defined in the dictionary as:
mentally deranged; demented; insane.
I would not put my Brooke in that category, but thanks to Mr. Cloud, someone who doesn’t know her, but knows her diagnosis, might.
I hope that TIME and Cloud will change the title of his article and issue a general apology. TIME used to be such a wonderful, even handed magazine, but lately they’ve been acting like a mud-slinging headline grabbing rag. I called them this morning to cancel my subscription. I hope you will consider doing the same.