Last week a hug hullabaloo came about because rap superstar 50 Cent tweeted a disparaging remark to a follower by saying he didn't have to listen to that person because they looked autistic. Of course the autism community, led by Holly Robinson-Peete came after the singer to show their antipathy to his ignorance. There was Holly's letter and a tweet your child's picture campaign, #thisiswhatautismlookslike to show 50Cent just what autism looks like...Atleast noone in the community took the offense lying down.
But really what did everyone expect? I wrote about the use of "autistic" as a slur in the movie 21 Jump Street. I said then that it was going to be used to replace the "r" word as the "insult du jour." And alas I was correct. 50Cent wouldn't dare use the "r" word. That would not be seen as politically correct. But denigrating autism, well if Hollywood bigwigs can do it and make millions why can't he?
I understand that the singer has apologized. First came a lame excuse saying he had anger issues that got him placed in special education as a child. Then because that didn't get the response of forgiveness he expected and the publicity got worse, I guess his PR people said to really apologize. So he did.
The problem here is that we live in a culture that its fine and dandy to name-call, bully and denigrate someone. It is done with impunity all the time. Politically it is out of control. Culturally it is in our television sets, reality TV offers quite the variety. Women are continually denigrated throughout modern music genres, being called "bitches" and "whores," or implying that rape is better than real love.
There is no sense of propriety and no sense of shame anymore. There are no boundaries of right and wrong. Society has the belief that if you think it, you should say it. If you feel like doing something then just do it. Virtually every act is considered of equal import and should be guaranteed equal protection.(Not talking constitutional law here)
But the truth is, no every thought or action is not equal, acceptable nor to be respected. Society needs to remember that how a person conducts themselves goes along way in promoting your views and in promoting your beliefs systems. There are rights and wrongs in how we treat each other and that should continue to be enforced. Those who abandon "respect" for their fellow person should not only be called to account but they should know that they will be marginalized, especially the rich and famous who are today's social icons.
Then maybe a person with fame and fortune, who is an idol to millions upon millions of young people, will not think its OK to bully, mock and denigrate another human being. He or she will think twice before they tweet, post or blog, and instead teach their followers what it means to have class, elegance and respect for others.
Until next time,
Some more of my posts about culture and its acceptance of bullying:
Simon Cowell: A Culture of Rude and Your Autistic Child
Adult Twitter Meltdown...Cue Name-Calling and Bullying
Political Bullying: We Wonder Why Kids Are so Mean
Balagan and Bullying
Bullying of an Autistic Kindergartener By a Dairy Queen Employee
Watch This Video
A Cyberbullying Asshat
Ignorance Associated with Using the "R" Word
20 Years and Counting- The Americans with Disabilities Act