The disturbing trend to use autistic as an insult: Legislator clarifies her use of the term “aren’t autistic”

Image taken from Facebook

Image taken from Facebook

Editor’s Note:  The term “Nationalism is a form of political autism” was used extensively last month when reporting the recent events and protests in Hong Kong.  Last week, a legislator in Costa Rica found herself being criticized for her use of autistic.  And as recently as this past Thursday, Jeff Goldman in an article in The Atlantic, mentions a number of terms used derogatorily to describe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by members of the White House .  One of the insults was “aspergery”.  Emily Shire in the Daily Beast quickly responded that this was inappropriate in her article: Yes, ‘Aspergery’ Is a Slur and It’s Time to Stop Using It 

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Costa Rica — On Oct. 20. The Tico Times printed the article Autism: A human condition, not an insult by Ms. Maribel Madrigal, who is president of the Autismo Costa Rica Association. Within the article she states:

Recently, Patricia Mora, legislator for the Broad Font Party, stated in the Costa Rican daily La Naciόn – as a way of deflecting criticism – that lawmakers from her party “aren’t autistic.”

The full article can be read here. Now in a reply to Ms. Madrigal, Patricia Mora Castellanos has written her own response to the above quote in The Tico Times.

She says that the phrase,  “We’re not autistic,”  used in the article, was given to a journalist when discussing budget cuts and is a common phrase used in Costa Rica when discussing politics and that it has been cited out of context.

“To cite that phrase out of context and somehow associate its use with a lack of sensitivity on my part towards those with autism or any other disability would be a serious mistake. It is one thing to say “political autism” as a political concept, and a very different thing to refer to autism as a clinical condition.”

She further adds that she was referring to the Real Academia Española definition of  ‘autistic’ meaning:

“to suggest a type of behavior in which one is entirely self-absorbed in one’s own idealized world, and is unaware of the world around him.”

Within Patricia Mora’s statement she further adds that she accepts  the invitation made by Ms. Madrigal and will be attending the “Specter of Autism” workshop.

The original article by Patricia Mora Castellanos  on the Tico Times website can be read here