There are so many things wrong with the latest Whitney Fishburn newsletter that are beyond the scope of blogging about autism, and while the piece in fact doesn’t have anything to do with autism, it made me think of something I’ve posted before.
In dismissing the need to listen at all, really, to the specific, actual policy demands of any political or protest group, Fishburn wants us to focus on something else.
How about we forget everything that any of these groups say and just get back to the basics of what all successful societies across time have said in one form or another: do unto others as you’d have them do to you.
It reminded me that back in October I’d posted a quote from Anna Kraemer about the Golden Rule actually being pretty problematic for autistic people.
“Treat other people as you would like to be treated.” The Golden Rule is a backwards way to treat other people, and it harms us. It harmed me. I don’t want another autistic child or adult to be harmed because of this ridiculous rule on how to treat others. Treat others with compassion. Do not treat them as an extension of yourself.
Fishburn wants the Golden Rule to be about empathy, but it only can be about empathy if we re-write it to reflect that what we want is for people to acknowledge how we would like to be treated, just as we would like others to acknowledge how we would like to be treated. What we don’t need, for example, is neurotypical people treating the atypical like neurotypical people.
The construction of the Golden Rule that Fishburn utilizes actually just means that we don’t really have to think about other people at all; only about how we ourselves feel.
(On the larger, overall problems with the piece, suffice to say that it’s pages and pages and pages of writing to reach the conclusion that financial reparations for slavery are unnecessary for now, because until and unless all white people change what’s in their hearts like Fishburn has by making sure she looks Black people in the eye when she passes them on the street, it would just be a bribe of Black people to make us white people feel better, so they will just have to wait until all we white people fix our hearts.)