Quick hit: don’t blame autism dammit
Marissa Lingen writes on the highly disturbing but very very common theme of explaining harassment and abuse as inevitable results of people with autism spectrum conditions participating in geek or online communities:
Somebody conflated predatory sexual harassment with lack of social skills, and both of them with “Asberger’s,” by which one can only assume they mean Asperger’s syndrome/autism spectrum disorders.
People who have poor social skills, whether because of a neurological condition or because they were raised badly or because they have disdained to learn them or whatever other reason–those people make their social gaffes in full view of large groups. Their colleagues are never surprised to find that they have been saying inappropriate things to a particular group of people for years, because they have poor enough social skills that they don’t get that they’re screwing up. So they don’t hide it. These are the folks who will be sitting with you in the consuite and blurt out a remark, about two notches too loud, about the size of your breasts. And if you are a kind person and feel that they might learn, you can gently say something about that not being a very appropriate thing to say.
But someone who waits until they are with someone they perceive to be in a position of less power to make their remarks? Someone who makes sure that there are no witnesses who will have the authority to censure them? Someone who makes a consistent pattern of aiming their behavior at people who will have a difficult time making the bad behavior known or a reason not to do so? That is not someone who lacks social skills. That’s someone who is using their social skills fairly precisely.
(Via Russell Coker.)