The Internet is the Wild West of this generation, where some of the population happen to be gunslingers of the digital age who have no compunction whatsoever with leveling their guns at whoever for whatever reason and pulling the trigger repeatedly with the intention of killing the intended target. Instead of using real bullets, they use cybermobbing and cyberbullying to get the job done. And then they post prolifically on their social media feeds, boasting loudly about their latest efforts.
Until last week, I hadn’t heard the term awarist, much less autism awarist. I was introduced to the term in a shocking way and have since learned that the new wave of militant activist now prefers to refer to himself or herself as an awarist.
“Whether it is an aggressive driver on the highway who thinks rage is his right, the neighbor who allows their dog to defecate on your lawn and shows no inclination to clean it up, or a foreigner who does not agree with our liberties, we need to accept that being victimized – by gun, knife, bomb or bully – is the way of the world. Call me a racist. Go ahead. But I guarantee you that the awarist in me makes my safety – and yours – a priority and label I can live with.”
A little over a year later, and the word was appearing here and there in the context of being a corporate awarist. The word made its way into the mainstream and it began to show up in Letters to the Editor in newspapers across Canada and the United States. Not sure if that’s accurate? Here’s an excerpt from a letter published in the Mapleridge News back in February 2012 where M. Felgner wrote:
“Our environment is threatened; it is under attack and has been for a very long time. I admit that I have transformed from a conspiracy theorists to a ‘corporate awarist.’ I have come to realize that there are no corporate or government conspiracies, they just do what they can to make as much profit as possible and literally squash anything or anyone that affects or threatened the bottom line.”
It was one of those new-fangled words that was picked up by those who thought of themselves as trendy, and they began using the word in brief online descriptions. Donna Fisher described herself on 99 Continental Congress 2.0 as an “Über awarist, technologian, historian, librarian, and artist. Member of the human race since 1954.”
Not to be outdone, Jeremy Turkin included the word when he described himself as a “Screenwriter. Musician. Amateur Dog groomer. Toothpick enthusiast. Prosopographer. Future philanthropist. Overly self-awarist. Word-maker-upper.”
It’s difficult to tell what autism awarists are hoping to achieve. Like their militant brothers who chose to be known as autism activists and autism warriors – sometimes adding “against woo” to the warrior term – this next generation of twenty-somethings has an agenda that doesn’t allow for any discussion. If you don’t agree with them about autism or anything else, or support their cause wholeheartedly, you are labeled an enemy of autistics.
So what do these autism awarists want?
They claim they want to spread autism awareness but it’s more than that. They want to spread their version of autism awareness, portraying autism as they wish it to be, not as it necessarily is. Most of them feel they are superior to all others, sometimes even superior to others who are also diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Those ones state loudly, usually with a snort of derision, that they have evolved beyond those humans who are beneath them.
Such autism awarists are, in most every way, cookie cutter versions of their predecessors and even some of their predecessors are laying claim to the term autism awarist as they try to make the leap from old school to new school image.
It appears that the autism awarist‘s agenda is to silence and destroy anyone who threatens their concept of reality, no matter how skewed that reality may, in fact, be. And this is why some autism awarists are dangerous.
If you are a parent of a child or youth diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and you take that responsibility seriously, autism awarists will target you for cybermobbing and cyberbullying if they feel you are disrespecting the “specialness” of autism that, in their opinion, entitles an autistic to do as they please, when they please.
If you are part of the autism community and not necessarily a parent, autism awarists will target you for cybermobbing and cyberbullying if they feel you are disrespecting the “specialness” of autism that, in their opinion, entitles an autistic to do as they please, when they please.
And if you dare write factually about what really goes on in the autism community, autism awarists will target you for cybermobbing and cyberbullying if they feel you are disrespecting the “specialness” of autism that, in their opinion, entitles an autistic to do as they please, when they please.
How do I know? Because earlier this week, when I was introduced to the term awarist, it was due to the fact that autism awarists targeted my personal Twitter account, urging their followers to falsely report me to Twitter. As with Facebook, there’s a magic number that is read by Twitter technology which leads to an account being suspended.
So let me say this to all the autism awarists out there who are joining arms with those autism advocates, activists and warriors [against woo] of previous years: it’s not your place to tell parents how to guide, mentor and raise their children and youth with or without an autism spectrum disorder.
If you don’t like being told by parents to back off and take your condescending attitudes with you, then leave them and their children and youth alone. Until doctors and lawyers and police officers tell them they’re in the wrong, parents have a right to raise their children and youth as they see fit.
It’s not your place to tell adults — even professionals like Tony Attwood — that they don’t know anything about autism spectrum disorders because those adults disagree with your views as well as your real life and online behaviour. And it’s certainly not your place to rally your other like-minded autism awarist followers to attempt to run people off the Internet because they disagree with your views as well as your real life and online behaviour.
If you don’t like the facts as they pertain to autism and the autism community, that’s your prerogative. But that doesn’t grant you the right to try and destroy other people’s lives just because you are unwilling to accept certain facts that may not be quite as trendy or fashionable as you would like them to be.
Asperger Syndrome is Asperger Syndrome. It’s part of the autism spectrum but that doesn’t mean that just because you may be diagnosed or self-diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, that you have an understanding of the spectrum. It means you have a limited understanding and a limited awareness of how your brand of AS presents itself in you and you alone.
Being bullies isn’t going to get you any brownie points in anyone’s books but most especially not in the books of those who matter in life. In fact, your unconscionable behavior could get you into a little more trouble with the authorities than you thought should come your way.
And parents of minors with online social media accounts — be it Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Pinterest, or any other social media platform – keep your eyes out for autism awarists who live to jump on good parents and undermine their efforts.