I enjoy videos games.
I may not be good at them but I enjoy them and I’ve made one of two good friends through them.
But video game forums can be particularly toxic. They bring out the worst in people. They bring out a win at all costs and poke fun at the less able sentiment in people. They can be a breeding ground for cheap jibes, racist and sexist comments and the equation of being less capable, with disability.
And comparing lack of ability to Autism is now commonplace.
Which is odd given that a sizeable proportion of players are on the spectrum, know games and their lore inside out are very capable players.
Several times I have had to pull people up about the comparison.
The other day a clan mate posted in our clans forum “PSN has gone Autistic!”
PSN is Playstation Network and, at the time he posted, it was running very slowly and erratically and downloads had crawled along at a snails pace.
I remarked ” Really ?. That’s interesting. I’m Autistic lol”
In fairness to the person concerned he immediately apologised on the forum, said he felt bad and foolish for what he said and he sent me a private message to say sorry. Of course I accepted it, he wasn’t being malicious and we moved on.
No harm done.
Except, in the wider picture, it just shows how Autism is perceived. That we are slow, erratic, don’t do what’s expected and, in other comparisons I’ve seen, that we are all incredibly stupid, can’t do things properly, have no talent and should be put down!
And those comments are almost always malicious.
Our clan leader sent me a message as he had observed the posts. He has a child with Aspergers, like me, so was interested in what happened. He thought I handled the situation well and maturely (I am 50 so I hope that’s true lol) but I did point out that it’s now become a commonplace and cheap jibe to throw out there.
And it shouldn’t be.
I’m not the butt of your jokes. And your “jokes” are based on a totally inaccurate and inadequate knowledge of Autism. You make yourself look foolish and only embarrass yourself by choosing to equate what you perceive as inadequacy with Autism. If I lose I say well played, if I win I say hard luck. I don’t equate your performance with a mental or physical deficiency.
I can poke fun at myself. I might not be a skilful player. I may not be the best. But you get a wholehearted effort in the name of fun, from me.
So stop using Autism as a cheap jibe.
Rise above it.
You know you can if you want to.