This clip originally aired on the “Discovery Fit & Health” channel. It was uploaded to a YouTube account that’s otherwise about gaming:
It has to be said that a lot of people were involved in getting this clip on the air, a lot of people have seen it on TV, and it has 1.1 million views on YouTube. As an autistic person with a sense of empathy, it’s surreal seeing other people’s reactions. They interpret the clip as showing the true story of what it’s like to be cursed by God with an autistic demon child. They’re incapable of identifying with the boy to a degree that I find shocking. I don’t have that kind of difficulty empathizing with anybody.
Before translating from meltdown to human, I really want to get across how bad the comments are, and what they imply. In middle school, I have a specific memory of concluding that societies just have scapegoat people on the bottom, and I happened to be born as that. Bad times during depressions have felt like I can’t stand being in my own skin. The feeling of being subhuman, of being covered in some kind of invisible slime that other people can see, that other people somehow have a soul and I don’t. Before the autism diagnosis, I figured out in therapy that I was supposed to feel that way because I’m a mulatto, but I guess it goes deeper than that.
Things like this are why therapy is different for minorities. Instead of being irrational “automatic thoughts,” they were signs that I was accurately figuring out my social identity from cues around me, without getting any validation. I don’t socialize the way normal people socialize, but having to socialize is a universal life problem, and people figure out different strategies. I have a really hard time picturing a normal CBT person seeing that, instead of saying I must have low self-esteem, anxiety problems, need to work on my confidence and get out more, etc. I don’t see how the ABA or CBT mindsets are compatible with an accurately dark understanding of what people are like.
The screenshots I’m about to post are probably worse than average, because the commenters are gamers instead of “autism parents.” Imagine these comments were written by teenagers on their phones or laptops. It’s doubtful their parents would even believe their sweet child says such things. If not, the parent is probably where the child learned it from. The targets of their bullying DO know their children say things like that all the time. It’s essentially who they are, as people. They just know how to pass for decent humans for strategic purposes. The parents are missing information to make an accurate assessment of their children.
I’ll even grant that they get the occasional troll’s remorse. They’re trying to impress each other, and severely fucking with black people, the disabled, etc. is expedient for them.
As you go through the next dozen screenshots, keep in mind that concentration camps, slavery, and forced sterilization were ALL things that have happened to people in my family history. They say it’s a joke, but THAT SHIT IS FOR REAL AND THEY MEAN IT. They’ll do it, or at post approving comments on YouTube videos of someone else doing it, given the first opportunity. It’s not like lynchings were just a couple bad people. It’s not like human nature is fundamentally different now.
When things get crazier, it’ll be the ones crazy enough to say something, who say something.
I don’t think most normals have engaged with the Holocaust. It has no meaning except as something America saved the world from. People play Pokemon Go at the Holocaust Museum.
The problem is that normals are unreachable, because they can’t imagine that everything will feel normal even in a society where cruelty is the default. That’s the horror I can see and they’re not seeing.
Keep in mind that every conversation in the clip happened within earshot of Joey.
The very first thing the mother says is that she’d erase her son’s autism if she could, and that her son was put in the world by God as a test for her. Everybody seems to think this is brave honesty, because it transgresses the taboo that you have to pretend to like your children at all times. Everybody seems to think it’s OK, because they assume her son can’t understand what she’s saying. What would you do if you were him, and you completely understood what she meant?
Normal people have existential problems even when their parents wanted and loved them. Do you think he hasn’t wondered why he was cursed to live his life, and that he hasn’t wanted to die?
Imagine that this is happening, and you can’t speak to match your understanding. You just feel a pain in your chest and want to stop this from happening and finally hurt them back for once so they’ll understand. It’s so much more humiliating to be verbally abused in front of other people, let alone on national television, where seemingly nobody can see your plight even when they can see your plight.
Would you scream? Would you bang your head on the wall? Would you try to hit somebody? What would you do, in your desperation?
How do people not want to cry when they hear his voice at 1:19? He can’t control his body well enough to intervene effectively, and he’s forced into complete physical submission. At that moment, he wails.
The journalist stands there with his thumb up his ass, then helpfully fetches some water. She then appears to pour water down his throat, while keeping his arms and legs immobilized. She is waterboarding her child on television, in front of everyone. Basically, he stopped when the pain they inflicted was intense enough.
The little sister, for her part, seemed uncomfortable with the situation the minute she walked in the door. During the violence, she curls up into a fetal position on the chair.
The mom then insists on including the footage, so everybody can see what autism “really is.”
Does her son really mean it when he gives her a kiss after being pinned down by his dad for who knows how long? Demanding a display of affection at a completely unreasonable time is just more abuse.
“Everything is OK.”
It’s like I watched a completely different video than everyone else, because they’re socially retarded. Talking about someone in front of them like that is obviously impolite and socially inappropriate, but these deficits frequently pass unnoticed.
This is what the invisible wall is, why there’s a “real little boy trapped in there.” That boy is autistic, and he’s trapped because 3 people physically subdued him.
The normal people are so smug that they have their shit together, emotionally. It was unexpected for me that I learned in therapy about how fucked up normal people are inside. I just would’ve expected some of the problems to be less than 100% other people’s fault.
It would make sense if 80% of people are actually crazy, which seems to be the case.
A new study, however, is sure to fuel this controversy further. The research comes from one of the most famous long-term mental health studies ever done. The Dunedin Study has followed slightly more than 1,000 individuals from New Zealand for 35 years, starting when subjects were only 3 years old. The data from this study have led to a huge number of publications over the years and several news headlines. The goal of this latest effort was to identify the factors that are related to people who have managed to be free of all psychiatric diagnoses during the entire study interval. What was surprising, however, was just how small this group turned out to be.
The 1 in 5 number returns in this study, but now it signifies the number of individuals across a 35-year period who did NOT meet criteria for a psychiatric disorder at any of the multiple assessment points. That’s right, only 17% of their sample qualified for that designation. Far more common was the person who over decades had occasional times when they met criteria for one or two disorders—most commonly anxiety, depression, and substance abuse—which often was temporary.
Getting back to the original aim of the study, enduring mental health turned out not to be significantly related to some expected factors like economic wealth, good physical health, or even intelligence but rather by certain early temperament and personality factors identified when the subjects were as young as 3 years old such as being more social, less emotionally reactive, and having higher levels of self-control. Not having family members with psychiatric disorders was also predictive.
I mean, I was walking around the world autistic without knowing I was. I conclude that a lot of people out there think they’re normal, when really they have worse impairments than me in some cases. Then the normals are subject to groupthink in a way that autistic people aren’t.
I’m not the only person who sees a widespread, unacknowledged problem with emotionally retarded parenting:
We don’t bind our children’s feet, but there are other ways in which we interfere with our children’s development. Children are by nature designed to develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually largely through self-directed play and exploration with other children. Throughout most of human history, except for times and places of slavery or intensive child labor, children spent large portions of their time playing and exploring with other children away from adults. This was their major source of joy and their natural way of learning how to function as independent, responsible, competent human beings. As recently as thirty or forty years ago it was still standard practice for parents to shoo children out of the house, where they would find other children and play to their hearts’ content. Over the last few decades, however, in the United States and many other nations, social norms have gradually developed that prevent such play. As I have argued elsewhere (e.g. here and here), there are good reasons to believe that these norms of restricting children’s freedom are a major cause of the record levels of depression, anxiety, various other psychological disorders, and suicide among young people today. I’m not sure that depriving children of play is less cruel than binding their feet.
Peter Gray paraphrases letters he gets from parents:
I know that my child needs free play, away from adults, to develop optimally. I know the data indicating that lack of such play can have crippling effects on social and emotional development. I know that the realistic dangers of such play are very small and the advantages are great. But such play is impossible today. Because other parents aren’t letting their children out to play, there’s nobody out there for my child to play with, so he just comes back inside. Or, if he is outside by himself or with another child, playing or walking anywhere outside of our yard, there’s a good chance that someone will report this to Child Protective Services or the police. Even if nobody does report it, I sense the negative judgments of other parents, who view me as negligent for not always supervising my child.
It’s not impossible for widely-accepted parenting practices to actively harm children. People are making gross mistakes raising normal children. I think that normal people assume that neurodiversity people must be exaggerating, hysterical, and over-the-top when they talk about ABA like it’s severely traumatizing. Well, the normal people are in a narcissistic, anxious parenting bubble right now.
The fact that I have to watch a whole subculture of “autism parents” get away with abusing their children and then act like martyrs if the child freaks out…Ugh. It’s like a toxic burden on my life. It’s depressing. It makes me uneasy around people, knowing they’re philosophically closer to the video than to me, on average.
And then, because black autistic people can never be right about anything, I lack credibility BECAUSE I have a PhD in psychology/neuroscience. That makes me “nothing like the boy in the video.”
Sometimes autism is a gift because being able to see things like this makes me feel like a human being. On the other hand, I just spent most of my weekend watching parents abuse their children and I am tired. Like, so tired. It wasn’t restful at all. I was supposed to catch up on chores this weekend, which is nearly over. I’m just supposed to watch smug people abuse their children in large numbers, without saying anything? When it seems like nobody is taking the issue is seriously?
Another hurdle dealing with normal people is getting them to understand that a situation is serious and urgent without getting called hysterical, too angry, crazy, etc.