Autism Speaks has joined rappers Drake and J. Cole in insulting persons with Intellectual Disability particularly the 40% of the autism spectrum with intellectual disability. The rappers had published song lyrics referring in an insulting manner to persons who are "autistic, retarded". Autism Speaks did not simply criticize the rappers for denigrating persons who were autistic or intellectually disabled. Autism Speaks criticized the rappers for perpetuating negative stereotypes and for failing to recognized the many persons with autism and "other" disabilities who have enjoyed great success and talents.
Presumably it would have been OK in the view of Autism Speaks if the rappers had mocked only the 40% with intellectual disabilities or those who were not successful or did not display exceptional talents. It is not clear to this father of a severely autistic son with profound developmental delays, who lacks an exceptional talent, who Autism Speaks for but it clearly does not speak for my son.
There are no doubt many in the high functioning end of the autism spectrum community who would be insulted by the rappers lyrics ... my son who would not understand the lyrics is not one of them. I love my son and I take insult at the smarmy lyrics of Drake and Cole simply because they intended to insult persons like my son who are autistic and/or intellectually disabled not because they failed to recognized the talents and intellects of higher functioning persons with autism disorders. I am also ticked off, but not surprised, by Autism Speaks for essentially endorsing the rappers mocking of intellectually disabled a term which does not even appear in the Autism Speaks criticism. Nowhere are autism's 40% intellectually disabled more invisible than within the Autism Speaks agenda:
Hip Hop Lyric Insults Autism Community
"Lyrics from the recently released song “Jodeci Freestyle” from hip hop artists Drake and J.Cole have many in the autism community up in arms. The song, which was released last month and is now getting airplay, contains the following lyric by J. Cole: “I’m artistic, you n----s is autistic, retarded."
These lyrics are offensive and perpetuate negative stereotypes. There are many inspiring individuals with autism and other disabilities who have achieved great success across a variety of artforms, including music. We encourage J. Cole to recognize their talents and learn from the positive example they have set for all of us."