Earlier this month, rapper and businessman 50 Cent tweeted, “yeah I just saw your picture fool you look autistic.” What?!? Please enlighten me; what does an autistic person look like? I’ll wait.
It is disappointing to me as a fan of his music to read such a tweet, but it is even more disheartening as a mother of a little girl who is autistic. Unfortunately for 50 Cent, me being a mother and strong autism advocate outshines the fact that I am a FORMER fan. I, along with thousands if not millions of parents worldwide, fight each and every day for our children on the spectrum. It is a physical, emotional and financial battle that special needs parents only know. Many of our children are helpless in this over-stimulating, cruel and judgmental world. We, their parents, take on the role proudly as their voice and advocate.
I find it appalling that someone in the spotlight, such as 50 Cent, would speak so ignorantly, so carelessly. You have the ability to reach millions across the world and be a positive figure. You could single-handedly be an example of how to embrace people of different races, ethnicities and disabilities, and millions of your fans would follow suit. Be the example!! The stats of autism continue to rise, it is currently at 1 in 88. Do you not think that with those odds some of your fans, the ones buying your records and making you rich, are not autistic? If you don’t, then you once again solidify how ignorant you truly are!
Advocates, such as myself, do not ask for our children to get special treatment. We truly want the world to just be understanding and give them the same respect and rights as others. My daughter and others like her on the spectrum are given a gift, and if our society and people like 50 Cent would stop being ignorant and closed-minded, they could see what we the parents see.
Until then, until that day, I along with other autism advocates will continue to fight. Just as Holly Robinson Peete so eloquently said, “We are not about to let you attempt to make “autistic” the new “R-word” under our watch.” Any injustice and negativity toward anyone with a disability is sickening and inexcusable. However, with stats of 1 in 88, messing with the autism community is a BIG mistake. You may be big, strong and powerful, Mr. Jackson, but the autism community is much BIGGER, as a unit we are STRONGER, and together we are more POWERFUL.