{ LINK: oh fuck, Baron-Cohen has a new book }






“At zero degrees of empathy are two distinct groups. Baron-Cohen calls them zero-negative and zero-positive. Zero-positives include people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. They have zero empathy but their ‘systemising’ nature means they are drawn to patterns, regularity and consistency. As a result, they are likely to follow rules and regulations – the patterns of civic life.”

*le facepalm*

Can he just retire already?

Dude, I have empathy pouring out my ears.

Fuck you.

Oh for the love of fuck.

Of course this is also the guy who came up with the completely ridiculous idea that autism is “extreme male-brainness” or whatever so I think we can safely conclude that the amount of actual science he is doing is zero.

His new book sounds pretty awful, as does some of his other stuff, but part of the problem here is that we use “Empathy” to describe two entirely different phenomenon, while rarely acknowledging that they are in fact different and separate: Being able to determine someone else’s emotional state (which is what ASD types tend to have trouble with — speaking not just from clinical observation, but from my own experiences as someone with Aspergers), and to, upon knowing someone’s emotional state, be able to understand such feelings and have them affect you emotionally. (ASD types rarely have trouble with this.)

I mean I don’t generally have trouble picking up on people’s emotional states.  Certain specific cues I might miss but like… that’s hardly lack of empathy.  I suppose there may be some completely broken language in there which is the biggest problem.

I mean I also think I took his AQ test and scored lower than average for neurotypical people.  SO LIKE yeah.

Also gendering personality traits is ridiculously cissexist (and sexist) and I’d think the fact that trans people with autism exist makes that theory just like… ludicrous.

^ commentary.

(via technicolortimecoat-deactivated)

{ LINK: An Open Letter to Robert MacNeil }


I’m posting this in its entirety, hoping that everyone will read it. I hope you don’t mind, Rachel. This is too important to only link to, I think.

For those that don’t know, this is about the new series on NPR/PBS called Autism Today. I heard it earlier and was deeply offended, as well. I’ll be writing a direct letter this weekend. I may post it here, as well.

Dear Mr. MacNeil,

It has come to my attention that you are spreading dehumanizing stereotypes about us. In an interview to promote your upcoming series, Autism Today, you said the following about autism:

“It delays the most — delays or impairs for life — the most human thing we have, which is our ability to look into each others eyes and feel that other person’s existence and what might be going on in their mind, and to empathize with them. That is denied — largely denied — to children with autism.”

I remember you from the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour. You always seemed to be an intelligent, nuanced, thoughtful human being. But then again, because I’m autistic, I must have been incapable of understanding what was going on in your mind all those years. Largely because of your statement regarding my supposed impairments in this area, I am beginning to doubt my previous judgment about you.

Your thinking about autism is anything but intelligent, nuanced, or thoughtful. It is based on the most pernicious misinformation and stereotypes our culture has to offer about the lives, hearts, and experiences of autistic people. I have been autistic for every moment of my 52 years on this earth and, believe me, I feel the existence of other people so acutely that I have to spend a good portion of my time alone. I walk into a room, and I feel the emotions of everyone there. My empathy is off the charts. And I am very well-skilled at figuring out all the possibilities for what might be going on in the mind of another person.

If I were less than fully capable of feeling another person’s existence, understanding what might be happening in that person’s mind, or empathizing with another human soul, I would not have a wonderful marriage to a loving, gentle, intelligent neurotypical man. Nor would I have a beautiful 18-year-old neurotypical daughter who tells me that I am the best mom she could ever ask for. How many teenagers say that about their parents? You don’t get there by failing to empathize with your child.

But don’t just take it from me. Ask any autistic person, on any portion of the spectrum, about the intensity with which he or she experiences other human beings, and you will hear much the same story.

What’s that? You didn’t interview any autistic people for your series?


Okay, let me get this straight: You are doing a series on a disability without ever having talked to anyone who actually has that disability.

I’m sorry, but has something changed in the journalistic profession? If you did a series on understanding people who use wheelchairs, would you talk only to their parents? To their doctors? To researchers? Or would you actually talk to the people using the wheelchairs so as to, you know, do a halfway decent job of helping your viewers understand their lives and experiences?

I don’t know. Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you think that disabled people have nothing to say. You clearly feel that way about autistic people.

But why? Well, I suppose that if you’ve already decided that we suffer an impairment in “the most human thing we have” (and “we” appears to refer only to non-autistic people since, clearly, actual autistic people wouldn’t actually be reading anything you have to say, much less understanding it or having feelings about it), the whole idea of talking to us kind of goes out the window, doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to talk to someone whose humanity is sub-par?

Are you even aware that many of us can speak? Yes, we can. We speak using our vocal chords, our computers, our body language, our affection, and our basic humanity.

But clearly, it’s never occurred to you to listen.

If you don’t want to hear us, if you want to continue living in utter ignorance of our thoughts and our lives, that is your right, but please, consider the following: What kind of a world are you creating for your autistic grandson? Do you want him to live in a world in which no one listens to him? In which people consider his humanity to be less than theirs? In which people believe that he has no feelings, no empathy, no understanding of other people? In which people don’t even bother to find a way to communicate with him, because it just doesn’t seem worth it?

What impact will the attitudes betrayed by your words have upon his happiness? Upon his ability to receive appropriate medical care? Upon his ability to make friends, to feel safe, and to develop self-respect? Will his civil and human rights be protected? Will he be treated with kindness?

Think about the world that you are helping to create and perpetuate. And believe me when I say that I know that world well, because I’ve lived in it for over half a century.

From where I sit, anyone who can’t treat another human being — any human being — as though that person has something to say and a right to be heard is not living up to his or her humanity.

Look at us. Listen to us. Feel our existence. Think about what might be going on in our hearts and minds. And for God’s sake, empathize with us.

You’ll be building a better world for everyone.

Sincerely yours,
Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

© 2011 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

(via nicocoer)




you don’t care when you make meanspirited jokes.

you don’t care when saying bigoted things and then passing them off as sarcasm.

you don’t care when you tell me to stop stimming, it’s weird.

you don’t care when you tell me ‘look people in the eye- it’s rude.’

you don’t care when you campaign for a cure for autism - yet don’t care about erasing stigma against autistic people.

since when have you cared?

so when i call you out, or simply tell you something like ‘hey, that was really ableist’, the correct response is not how mad or offended you are, or how i hurt your feelings.

you may have heard in the news that autistic people do not have empathy.

well, this is kind of bullshit. we express it in ways that are not always socially acceptable to NT people, but we have empathy.

here, right now, though?

don’t pull that card. i do NOT need to be nice to you.

you have never been even slightly nice to us. forget about nice.

forget about your feelings when i angrily call you out if our existence doesn’t mean much to you.

Oh this is too great to not reblog.

(via jemimaaslana)



[Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with red and teal alternating. Foreground: White guy wearing a sweat shirt over a button down. Has crossed arms, and Simon Baron-Cohen’s head replaces the original model’s. Top text: “Borderlines have no empathy and are therefore evil” Bottom text: “Perpetuating violent stigma is fine though”]
(inspired by Amianym)

Yeah and he keeps calling us “borderlines”, I’m… super creeped out by that >.<
Someone remind me to write up a review of that book >.<



[Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with red and teal alternating. Foreground: White guy wearing a sweat shirt over a button down. Has crossed arms, and Simon Baron-Cohen’s head replaces the original model’s. Top text: “Borderlines have no empathy and are therefore evil” Bottom text: “Perpetuating violent stigma is fine though”]

(inspired by Amianym)

Yeah and he keeps calling us “borderlines”, I’m… super creeped out by that >.<

Someone remind me to write up a review of that book >.<

(via thenameoftheworms)

{ LINK: White people lack empathy for brown people, brain research shows }

The participants – all white – watched simple videos in which men of different races picked up a glass and took a sip of water. They watched white, black, South Asian and East Asian men perform the task.

Typically, when people observe others perform a simple task, their motor cortex region fires similarly to when they are performing the task themselves. However, the UofT research team, led by PhD student Jennifer Gutsell and Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Inzlicht, found that participants’ motor cortex was significantly less likely to fire when they watched the visible minority men perform the simple task. In some cases when participants watched the non-white men performing the task, their brains actually registered as little activity as when they watched a blank screen…

The trend was even more pronounced for participants who scored high on a test measuring subtle racism, says Gutsell.

(Source: darkjez, via karnythia)

{ wrcsolace asked: can i just? no one (at least on a normative culture level) responds to seeing hundreds of Black and Latino youth in gangs and says that the violence that they do is excusable because they’re looking for belonging or come from hard family lives. they just say arrest them and stick them in a whole in the ground prison for the rest of their life. the psychology of criminals is only a concern if they are white or if it helps catch ‘em. fuck all that compassion for the hate-mongering white boy shit. }


[“ALL OF THIS!” animated GIF; link]

(Rebloggable by request)

(Source: womanistgamergirl, via diosalicantropa)