How They Hate Us
Brenda Millson of Newcastle, Ontario received a hate letter on Friday about Max, her thirteen year old autistic grandson. The family have contacted the police.
If you need any more evidence that yes, ableism is actually a thing, then go ahead and read the letter below. If you're on the front page of this site, you'll have to click past the jump to see it. (Yes, it's bad and horrible enough that I added a jump line to prevent people from accidentally scrolling down from the homepage.)
This is a photograph of a piece of paper that has been folded several times. It appears almost pink in the lighting. The text is transcribed directly as follows:
To the lady living at this address:
I also live in this neighborhood and have a problem!!!! You have a kid that is mentally handicapped and you consciously decided that it would be a good idea to live in a close proximity neighborhood like this???? You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise pulluting whaling he constantly makes!!! That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!! When you feel your idiot kid needs fresh air, take him to our park you dope!!! We have a nature trail!! Let him run around those places and make noise!!!!!! Crying babies, music and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighborhood!!!!! He is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He is a hindrance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him?????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!! You had a retarded kid, deal with it...properly!!!!! What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!! GOD!!!!!!
Do everyone in our community huge a favor and MOVE!!!! VAMOSE!!! SCRAM!!!! Move away and get out of this type of neighborhood setting!!! Go live in a trailer in the woods or something with your wild animal kid!!! Nobody wants you living here and they don't have the guts to tell you!!!!!!
Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!!
One pissed off mother!!!!!
Here's the news article if you, for whatever naive reason, don't believe this is real.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that every allistic person in the world hates autistic people or that every abled person in the world hates disabled people.
But if someone has the gall to write something like this?
Ableism is a thing, people.
This letter is appalling in its litany of slurs and threats.
It harkens to eugenics that seeked to eradicate defective bodies/minds from the human gene pool by targeting disabled people for sterilization, segregration, and death.
It reinforces the attitude that disabled life is subhuman, without value, and invalid.
It objectifies the autistic child in question, presumes he does not communicate, and directly addresses itself to the grandmother under the assumption that he would be unable to understand the letter, let alone respond to it, himself.
It parades the tired notions that disabled people are incapable of working, that disabled people are incapable of loving or having romantic or sexual relationships, that disabled people are inherently undesirable, that disabled people are mere burdens on their relatives or caregivers as well as society at large.
It even gives a brief salute to compulsory heteronormativity in its assumption that even if Max were somehow able to express romantic or sexual desire, he must be heterosexual, in its assertion that no normal "girl" would ever love or marry him.
It argues oppression of the privileged by asserting that abled, neurotypical people somehow have a "right" not to be subjected to the presence or existence of disabled people.
It threatens violence and justifies its threats with the rationale that of course disabled people should either sit down and shut up, or stop existing altogether because we inconvenience abled people. Because we are abnormal and atypical.
If we can't conform, if we can't pass, if we can't adhere to compliance as ethics, if we can't become invisible...
We should die.
This is the kind of hatred that we face.
And this isn't even one of the innumerable stories of disabled people murdered by their own family members.
This is a letter from someone's neighbor.
This is the kind of hatred that justifies murder and rape and confinement and abuse and torture.
And you wonder why I'm angry?
This "pissed off mother" should be arrested. She is bullying this family, period.ReplyDelete
Someone should offer a reward for the identity of this low life scum of a human being..Delete
THIS PISS OFF WOMEN IF SHE CAN CALL HER SELF THAT SHOULD HUNG UP IN PUBLIC BY HER CAT HAIR AND SEE WHAT A SELF RIGHTEOUS FOOL SHE IS ALL GOD CHILDREN ARE MAKE FOR A REASONS AND THERE FOR SHOULD NOT BE MAKE FUN OF. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN IT COULD HAPPEN TO ONE OF YOUR THEN HOW WOULD YOU FEEL. TAKE A STEP BACK AND LOOK AROUND NO ONE IS PERFECTDelete
I am disgusted just as much as you are. However, the things you are suggesting are in exactly the same mood as the irate neighbor. Are you going to become the very person you are hating on?Delete
Sometimes people got to take a chill pill for once in your lifetime. And besides, the mother is probably a lazy fatass that lives in a pollyana world where the dangers of life are "Protected" by stupid policemen who do not know how to handle crime.Delete
Please forgive me for swearing, but this lady who wrote the letter in the photo can go fuck herself
In response to: "Are you going to become the very person you are hating on?"Delete
So you would have this unprovoked violence just be ignored? Nothing in Ms. Brown's response was analogous to that hate letter. There is no crime in peacefully defending one's self and others that are being oppressed and even killed while others stand by in complacency! Wake up, open your eyes! In fact, persons on the Autism Spectrum are actually less violent than so called "neurotypicals". To say that we cannot even be angry or point out how we are oppressed is exactly the same as saying that slaves had no right to be angry or tell their stories.--Do you see?
"probably just a lazy fatass"Delete
I think you can take you own advice: kindly go fuck yourself. You're just some shitty fatphobe inserting fatness wherever they want, anywhere they want to take advantage of soiciety's bigotry to add a liiiittle more "badness" to someone. Yes must be fat and of course lazy because fat. Fuck off.
And what will the cops ever do? We've received (different sort of) harassment and phone calls and been blogged about by real name and so on, and the cops said that if you don't like what they write, then don't read it.ReplyDelete
THAT is what we face when we finally speak up. :(
Thankfully this person has gone on to obsess about another person for a couple years now, but you betya we still monitor this guy's blog. It's not a good feeling to know someone close by hates you and you don't quite know what to expect.
Prayers for this family and more than that, I hope the writer of that note is able to work through whatever she needs to with medication or therapy. NOT a cut on the mentally ill. Just I hope, I really do, that this person gets better. It can't feel good to be like that, either.
Considering that Autism is genetic, of course we are capable of loving and being loved, or we wouldn't still exist!ReplyDelete
BTW, if anyone is getting harassed over the phone, I believe all telephone companies have a policy of shutting off phone service for harassers. I don't know how many hoops you have to jump through, however.ReplyDelete
Wow.. This is horrible. Where is the blog?ReplyDelete
I went through a very difficult period where the police would do nothing and this person would write personal details about us and our lives. I'm just thankful he's moved on to other targets, and these targets are moving away to college and whatnot so not vulnerable.Delete
Often I so wish I could blog ALL the details, provide a link and prove myself right. In our situation, it would cause more problems than it would solve at this point. And like I said, he's quit for almost two years now. THANKFULLY.
But it NEVER occurred to me that I should talk to the phone company as BiolArtist suggested. I went to the cops each time, dopey me. :(
THANK YOU, BiolArtist, for that suggestion and if it ever happens again that is what I will do.
I think we have a 'Whale" of a tale from a troll. Hence a hoax.ReplyDelete
I believe it until I'm presented with evidence otherwise. I can easily see this sort of thing happening because I read comments on news stories.Delete
The real things that happen to disabled people mean this isn't actually shocking, not for people who know what's up. Hence... not so sure. It's the same attitudes that lead to people actually killing their disabled kids, after all.Delete
I saw the video and he looked and seemed like a sweet heart! Yes he is different, All children are different. Autistic or not.. If she has such a problem, then she needs to move, short sweet and to the point. She needs to be locked up, seriously. Hope none of her children have autism, who knows how she would treat the poor child!!ReplyDelete
I am one PISSED OFF MOTHER of an Aspie, and I say BRING IT !!!!!!ReplyDelete
...Are YOU the one who wrote that hateful letter?Delete
I know this is very late considering it is now spring, but I'm a young twenty year old man and I'm autistic. My whole life I struggled, because of myself more then anything. But I can read, write, excersize, sing and even socially communicate better then a lot of people, in fact if it weren't for the fact I'm antisocial and have axiety I would probably be a music producer or a graphic artist, a special needs child's mental blocks are not his own fault, it's either defective drugs or a genetic birth pattern from the parent, I have ben bullied and even taunted in early highschool and called horrible words, and still got more girls and more attention, it was all because I was in special ed, normal kids went to that class and we're embarassed, so hey, mabe I'm not an executive or in charge of a company or making six figures but I'm certainly not a fat mean bitter bitch who thinks poor little kids should go die, I care to much for that.Delete
Nice to see another person who dehumanizes fat people by using us as an insult for other people. You think poor little kids shouldn't go die but apparently not fat ones.Delete
Im glad the world is filled with the people its filled with, im just upset about how people deal with things. Autism is a good and a bad thing. Kids with it have a hard start, but once they get going, they skyrocket above NORMAL people. I think autistic children are blessed with a rare ability, unique to them, and no one else has that skill, but the NORMAL population usually sees that as a curse... Hopefully this world changes...Delete
The one that needs examination of competance or suitability as parent is the writer, perhaps she should consider living in a cave. The kid may be autistic but might be a Temple Grandin inside. The writer is probably incapable of intelligent understanding.ReplyDelete
One pissed off OLD aspie
I tend to agree this may not be legally actionable but there could be great value in exposing the author of the note. It's crystal-clear whoever wrote it hasn't the courage to voluntarily own those words; we need to be sure that this article's author is known and made to own that hate- have everyone in the neighborhood know who's the petty hate-filled one in their midst, and we'll see who moves out.ReplyDelete
I'm autistic but I'm verbally capable this letter really makes mad how insensitive people can be that's why I'm afraid of others or talk to them because next thing that person will insult you, hurt you bully give evil eye cussed at everyone avoids you no one will talk to you overall just plain mean that's why most autistic kids dislike public places cause once someone knows what you are they most like never like you again wishing they never met an autistic kids that's my story and other autistic people storyReplyDelete
one teen with autism
It must take so much energy for this mother to live in the mental prison she does.ReplyDelete
Free speech, Free Expression, I see nothing wrong with this letter. The consequences of the action that "pissed off Mother" has taken will most likely result in her own removal from said neighborhood. It is also my assumption based on this letter that "Pissed off Mother" is probably not a kind and caring parent, more likely she is the type that belittles and ridicules her children to make them do what she wants...The other possibility is that the letter was written by a teenager, I say this because of key phrases like "it scares my normal children".ReplyDelete
The "key phase" could also point to a teenaged mother.... And as for freedom of speech or freedom of expression those two supposed rights do not exclude you from being held liable for your comments if they are deemed to be illegal or threatening.Delete
All in all its just sad that someone felt the need to express those feelings in a cowardly way, instead of speaking to the caregiver to come up with a solution that was a bit less hostile.
You see nothing wrong with this letter? Seriously?Delete
"Freedom of speech" does not mean "freedom from criticism." It means freedom from government-imposed censorship, silencing, or punishment for political speech.Delete
That she may have the legal right to type these ugly sentiments, does not mean there's nothing morally wrong with this letter...which there very, very much is.
I don't know what free speech laws in Canada are like--she may have the right to say these things...and her neighbors and the rest of the citizens of the world have an equal right to let her know just how shameful and unwelcome her words are.
Speaking as a Canadian: Free speech laws here are actually quite a bit more restrictive than American ones - Canadian law prohibits hate speech, which in my layperson's opinion (I'm no lawyer), this probably qualifies. Even if it doesn't qualify under hate speech, it might for criminal harassment, or with a civil complaint to a human rights tribunal, which is a kind of binding civil arbitration for human rights violations that people are unable to press charges over for some reason (usually because there's no criminal offense that took place even though the act is illegal).Delete
In Canada, since she's advocating violence/genocide against a member of a vulnerable population and the vulnerable population itself, her words are most likely (again, layperson opinion, not a lawyer) not covered under our free speech provision of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and might fall under criminal hate speech, though I'd imagine that part would be borderline since she sent them a letter rather than publishing her rant on the Internet or some other public forum. Even if the Crown Prosecutor doesn't find the writer's words worth charging criminally, the family could file a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal for disability discrimination.
Here's the relevant Wikipedia article for those interested in our hate speech laws.
Free speech is a right guaranteed to you to protect you from the government's attempts to silence you. It does not cover hate speech, stupidity, racism and ignorance. The problem is free speech is claimed as a "right" (god, I wish Americans knew their own history - the founding fathers would be appalled at the religious fanaticism and self serving interpretations made of their work|) when someone wants to say really egregious things and deny any responsibility to sharing a bond with the rest of humanity. The other problem, once assuming that cloak of righteousness the "free" words can hurt and cause real pain. If someone wrote a letter spewing hatred at someone you loved - especially a child of yours - I would fully expect you to be as angry and hurt as the writer and respondents on this message and if you didn't then your are not actually human.ReplyDelete
Speaking as an american I agree with the fact that many other americans don't understand their rights and have a habit of misusing them. First and second rights are the worst misused ones.Delete
Speaking as a women with autism I find what this person wrote to be horrorfying at least and unecoming of a decent human being. I'm willing to bet the kid she insulted has a higher iq than her.
What an absolute despicable excuse for a human being. I have aspergers and my only brothers are profoundly autistic and this enrages me. I'd love to have 5 minutes with her - though I'd rather not waste energy equating with such trashiness. God help her "normal" children. They'll end up bigoted, intolerant ignoramuses if shes allowed to continue programming them with this bull.ReplyDelete
Shut the fuck up Ms. "One pissed off mother", it's people like you who make people like me seem like emotionless uncouth alcoholics who belong in institutions.ReplyDelete
One pissed off Autistic Scotsman
SUre looks like hate speech to me....ReplyDelete
Your blog is great - I read this letter & was so angry - I started a support page & am hoping it will reach the family - here's the link ---- https://www.facebook.com/groups/510387959036866/ReplyDelete
I shared your post on my sons blogDelete
The letter is vile. But it came from one person. The entire neighborhood rallied around Max & his family. That, to me, is the more important factor -- the letter & the attitude it exposed was not tolerated.ReplyDelete
I'm normally against the whole ideal of "ableism" but the fact that this woman basically wants the kid to die simply for making noises is just fucking offensive.ReplyDelete
How would she like it if her children were threatened in such a way? Of course, it would be totally different if it was hers, she would think.
Basically, that's what ableism is. Ableism is the attitude that some kinds of bodies and minds are better than other kinds of bodies and minds -- and therefore, people whose bodies and minds are the not-good kind (broken, diseased, defective, etc.) need to be fixed or eliminated.Delete
Being different isn't justification for hate & must not be tolerated in any segment of the Human Family & WE Won't remain silent - any longer.ReplyDelete
Notice that the writer said "Nobody wants you living here and they don't have the guts to tell you" and yet that writer didn't have the guts to sign her name. So she's a stinking coward as well as a horrible, cruel, ignorant witch. I hope so much that she is caught and prosecuted for harrassment.ReplyDelete
This is harassment and hatred and ignorance through and through. It's also heartbreaking. I'm autistic, my son is autistic and my husband is most probably as well. This is incredibly upsetting. I had a horrible experience in an ER not so long ago because we were up front and told the staff that I had autism and had several sensory issues. It wound up being a bad move and I was treated far less than human. One doctor even told me that autism is an illness that must be cured. All I wanted to do was leave and get back home where I would be safe again. If it weren't for my husband being there I have no idea what would have happened. It was absolutely terrifying. People on the spectrum get treated horribly all the time. I don't know why anyone would doubt it. It's so wrong. It's dehumanizing and it only causes so much pain and perpetuates more ignorance. This makes me so upset and so sad for that family. I hope they can locate the person who wrote the letter. It's so filled with hate I'd be nervous of what she'd resort to.ReplyDelete
A crying baby and a barking dog are not normal sounds to an autistic individual. ;-)ReplyDelete
if it wasnt for autistic people we would still be living in cavesReplyDelete
the person who wrote this letter should be in a cave herself/
i have autistic children one of which makes moaning squeeling sounds the other one also does the same type of stuff i would not swap them for anything in the world
to the writer WHY NOT EUTHANIZE (YOURSELF) OR MOVE TO THE JUNGLE
because you have no right sucking in oxygen that can be used by other people waste of space
go find a SAND-PIT somewhere bury your head in it because us autistics and aspies are here to stay (BITCH)
i think that if her identity is ever publically released, a bunch of autistic people should just go stand in her yard and stare at her XDReplyDelete
i have autism and when i first saw this i wall appalled and discussed because we are all people no mater what e look like what we sound like or if we have a mental or physical disadvantage.if this woman has the nerve to show her face i will go to america and find her then tell her what i have posted here and seen here. i hope she is suffering for saying something about a boy whom i presume is the same age as me . this woman is entitled to her opinion but should never have this type of opinionReplyDelete
I have autism too and my family has done nothing for me but tear me down. They would always give me regular insults like "You are an animal", "you act like a wild animal", "you're worse than a dog", "autistic retards like you are dogs and should be treated as such", etc. Plus, my [neurotypical] older brother has lately been wishing for my college to blow up with me in it. As for my ableist dad, he thinks (and even tells me all the time) that normal people are "better than disabled people". As for my aforementioned brother, his all-time favorite thing to do is forbid me to talk at all; he literally enjoys telling me to shut up and, if I couldn't stop talking, he would always throw loud temper tantrums and has even beaten me to a pulp before. The very people that I was supposed to trust the most has always treated me far less than a human. However, that's not all, for I had also been bullied by lots of kids back in my elementary school days...and they bullied me just for being "different".ReplyDelete
Anyway, that letter is unacceptable and I hope that ignorant excuse of a woman gets thrown into jail for said letter. My heart goes out to Max Begley and his family.
This letter is appalling. No one should receive death threats for being who they are.ReplyDelete
That letter describes how I feel about the ableists themselves. They're the reason people are becoming stupid, why I've been doubted by our education system, also why I've been treated like a horny idiot. No wonder I can't get into college, the dumb pigs want me to spend the rest of my life with a Regional Center! How do these sick people even remain in the gene pool? If only they could be cut off from whatever keeps them alive, then us Neurodivergents could actually get things going...ReplyDelete
If that ever happened to me, and if it was actually possible, I would take them to court for discrimination, that letter really makes me angry, If that really did ever happen to me, I would have went straight up to that "One Pissed Off Mother" I would have went straight into her face and I would say that if she has a problem with my child, take it out on me, people with Aspergers are not terrible people, we just have a different way of understanding life. People who take the piss, mock and take advantage of people who have autism and aspergers makes me physically sick. I can't believe that people actually do this.ReplyDelete
Sincerely: "One Very Pissed Off Autistic Geordie"
I really love, really, how some people here couldn't condemn the filth that person wrote without using fat as an insult. Yes she must be fat a fatass you know THOSE people are horrible. I sure wish I could read about disability (which I am) without having my body co-opted and used for whatever extra negative emphasis some thin person wants to use it.ReplyDelete
What a horrible human being.ReplyDelete
See, you'll only find cowards have to 'write letters' or comment on youtube to show their hatred for autistic people. So my question is... Why would that be if you're in the right? Pussies?ReplyDelete
That's why the good-hearted neurotypicals stick up for us Autistics. And like I always say, try giving your hate speech about autistics in a pub or a jail... Didn't think so smart ass!!! :D
This is a horrible letter, but that aside I am wondering if the kid is being watched properly. Do we know the whole story? Is the kid just being put outside unattended for hours on end, wailing nonstop? That is a problem that needs to be addressed in a less harsh manner. Disabled child or not, you still need to respect your neighbors. Or at least communicate with them about what is going on with the child. This letter looks to me to be the product of two sides not communicating and of a child being put in the backyard excessively to let off some steam.ReplyDelete
Things like this are never as black and white as people like to portray. This is coming from someone with autism as well.
That kid probably have severe autism. Kids with Severe Autism are usually pretty loud when they are playing or doing some other activity. However people with for example Aspergers Syndrome (which isn't even autism to begin with I don't have a clue why it is on the Autism spectrum to begin with) are usually pretty calm and composed at all times regardless of what activity they are doing. Still just because the kid is a tad bit loud doesn't mean he deserves to be threatened.ReplyDelete
People wonder why I spend my time on the computer, alienated from a majority of my family members and friends. It begs the question of "Why risk the hate?" Even family members could be ablest, but incapable of correct action. This is not saying that my family is ablest or dislikes me, (I love them dearly, and without them would be nowhere in life.)ReplyDelete
My father is ablesit to me(ke kindas autistic too, but does not know) and my mom its a psychotic woman. my father is old. im very worried about my future. i cant live with this crazy woman, my sister is stressed and neutoric and that is not good for me.ReplyDelete
someone normal that will respect my limitations should take care of me. im 27 years and have no clue what to do with my life. the otimism and refuse of my parents of acept my problem fucked up my life. they should put me in a institution when i was young. i suffered a lot of bullying studing in normal schools. that fucked me up for good.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified its my problem. yeah. not even asperger or normal autistic... oh god. and im having some reactions that are misusnderstood for my father. hes bully me with wristing, moving his fingers like crazy, and have problems with sounds. misophinia i think. well, i will not think about it, and back to games.
everyday i suffer. no human being should deserve this.
You are right: no human being deserves that.
It sounds like you are in a bad situation at the moment, and it's easy to understand why you would feel so trapped and worried about your future.
Like you, I experienced bullying at school, and I also had some horrible experiences with my parents. It took me years to undo the damage and rebuild myself, but it gets easier.
One thing that really helped me was finding other people like me - finding autistic communities online where I can interact with people without trying to be someone I'm not. It doesn't matter that doctors decided that your diagnostic label is PDD-NOS - you are part of the autistic community, and you will be able to find your tribe.
I hope that in some small way this message has helped you. I know that there have been times where I probably wouldn't have believed anyone telling me that things can get better - but, please believe me: things can get better.
Just know that you are not alone. Many of us have been there, and many of us are willing to listen and help where we can.
oh how wonderful it is to be hated for something beyond anyones control. lol.ReplyDelete
What a racist mom. She must be arrested.ReplyDelete