Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rejection in a Sci-Fi World

I was reading a book by an author I had liked. Military sci-fi is an unusual genre for a female to read but I found an author I liked. He had a series and I was reading my way through it. Until I hit THE BOOK. That was when I had a nasty experience. It is was easy to miss I had to go back to reread it. There are different star nations in this universe. The protagonist belongs the military of one of those star nations and the are the good guys. Then there is another planet is a major ally. This planet is universally famous.

This was what made me ill. In this famous planet renowned for their biology work and medicine, there are no autism. One doctor, who should know, said that this planet erased the genes for autism several hundred years from the book's present time.

It was a slap in the face. I felt rejected. I was being told that I , Crinllys, wasn't good enough for this society. I wasn't perfect enough. Despite any words of compassion, I had been found wanting. It hurt like hell. I just felt utterly rejected. And these were the good guys.

They didn't murder anybody with autism like the bad guys did. They didn't have to. They just destroyed the gametes that contained autism genes and viola! The end result was the same. Nobody in their society had autism. And the goal for the rest of the human space was to be the same. No idea of trying to support, no idea of trying to be kind, just make sure those people are around. But I am one of those people.

It was seen as compassionate. We would be miserable, It was just kindness that there be no more people like me. But I like my life. I wanted to have been born. No matter how bad, I want my life.

Then there is the twist of the knife of the hurt. It doesn't matter what I am like. I could be the next Mother Theresa or the next Hitler. As far as they were concerned, it didn't matter. They didn't want me around no matter how much I tried to be good. I could save hundreds of lives, and I would still have been as better off dead.

I would be told by people around me to ignore this. It's just fiction, it can't hurt me. My incredible hurt was just an emotional over-reaction. I was told they meant, "real autistics", meaning mute, mental retardation. I wasn't like that so I shouldn't care. Never mind that would only mean another person would feel the same rejection. Nobody should have to feel that feeling of utter rejection.

 But there was a problem.  I remember reading about one little girl. Her diagnosis was Asperger's, same as me. Her parents murdered her. The writer and so many comments all said the same thing. Poor parents, better off, dead, drain on her family. She didn't fit "real autism". You can't have mute, mental retardation and Asperger's. But that didn't matter. She was still called autistic. The reaction was the same. If my parents had chosen to murder me, it would have been the same thing. It wouldn't have counted as murder. I felt sick to my stomach. It wouldn't have been seen as murder. Somebody could kill me and people would have said better off dead.

It gets worse. In the story, people from this planet were seen as loving parents, loving their children unconditionally. Pardon me while I laugh, and then cry. They don't love unconditionally. Unconditionally means without conditions, such as say autism, mental retardation, and a whole list of things that generally fall under disability. Making sure there is no way people can be born with those conditions in your society, is rejecting them. It is not loving unconditionally.

And my real life society feels the same. Parents are suppose to love unconditionally. But certain people don't count. Parents can murder their disabled child and sympathy is poured out on the murders. Having a disabled child wrecks their lives. It is like living in prison. They still really do love their child. After all, the child is better of dead( sarc tag).

These attitudes are the opposite of love. They don't even recognize it. They say they aren't prejudiced just compassionate. But if the results are the same. Unconditionally doesn't quit mean unconditionally. If a parent say they don't want a disabled child, it is never seen as a slight against their ability to love. It is seen as normal.

The same apples to the society not just the parents. Our society wants to be that planed in the book. They don't want disabled people to be born. Our society claims to accept disabled people but in reality, they are working to make sure we can't be born. Not to mention, that if somebody does become disabled by another way, that person becomes a non-person. Other people don't want that person around them. That person is just suppose to hide away until they commit suicide. It shows what they really think.

A perfect society is not one where everybody is accepted and the disability is worked with. It is one where nobody is disabled. Or society says we aren't prejudiced against you we just wish you weren't part of our society. I think a society where the goal is no disability doesn't get the right to say we accept everybody.

So this is how one of my favorite authors become one of my least favorite authors.

1 comment:

  1. I know precisely the book you mean, and was equally horrified; it actually violated everything Beowulf stood for as the fount of medical ethics in the Honorverse, and the authors were blind to that. Worse, the entire plot of a multi-book arc turns on the killing of the kid with Aspergers, because that establishes how much better the good guys are, and drives a defection which gives the good guys the info they need to fight back. Yet it turns out the 'good' guys are just as much eugenic supremacists as the bad guys, at least where disability is concerned.