Why the Time Magazine insult matters

I have written about this before. 

The pattern is a common one after all. A major outlet makes a negative comment about Asperger’s/autism. We see it. We rage about it. We get no apology. The anger fades because we’re used to not getting an apology. Then someone else does it. 

This week, it’s Time Magazine and writer Joel Stein who slurred us. Stein did an otherwise amazing piece on bullying on the internet that deserves attention. The problem is in the second paragraph he saw fit to refer to the Internet as a “sociopath with Asperger’s.” In a piece attacking bullying, he bullied an entire group. At no point did any editor step in and say this was a bad idea. I know for a fact the story had to go through several editors. But the contradiction wasn’t caught. 

Again this is nothing new. Perhaps it’s a bit more glaring due to the story. But it’s not uncommon. People who claim to be progressive often think nothing of slurring us. We’re acceptable targets by and large. 

So here’s why I think it matters. It matters because Time is a gold standard in the media. I had nothing but the highest respect for them. They are still important in the media world. Their coverage is serious business.

In just a few words, Time reinforced with their prestige the idea that this stereotype is ok. They allowed a writer to use the image of us as emotionally blind so it’s ok for the mainstream to do the same. The gatekeepers still have power, especially with a story like this. If they approved the term on THIS story then the prejudice must be ok. 

But it’s not. We’re not going to allow neurotypicals to slur us. So it is that the pattern will go. They’ll slur us. But we’ll fight back. Every time.  

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