Different Vs. Indifferent

So a child is bullied for being different; is it the child’s fault for being different, or is it the bully’s fault for being indifferent?

Guess it depends on how you define the rights of the human being. Do we have the right to express our feelings through our actions (harmful and otherwise)? Do we have the right to expect acceptance from other people?

That, to me, is the difference between the pro-cure folks, and the neurodiversity rights folks (anti-cure and all that).

Hm, I just think of these two questions as statements:

I have the right to react to others in any way I feel is fit.


I have the right to be safe from those who do not understand me.

Or, in its most simplest form:

I have the right to hurt others.


I have the right not to be hurt.

So in saying that it is the actions of autistic children that result in the harsh actions of bullies, we remove the blame from those who are saying that they have the “right to hurt others.” Instead, we blame those people who are the perpetrators of such odd or offensive actions.

“If my child were normal, then they could be happy.” Heard that one anywhere?

“If she would just be like everyone else, then she would be happy.” Hence, since she is not like everyone else, she invites cruelty and scorn from others.

This implies that it is her fault, for inviting these cruel actions from others by not being closer to normal (regardless of choice).

This makes me think from the bully’s mindset: “If she didn’t act so strange, then I wouldn’t bother her.” – I’ve actually had a bully say that once to a teacher about me.

“She’s the reason that I hit her. She was strange, I reacted; it’s all her fault.”

Hm. Responsibility for one’s actions? Anyone? Anyone?

If those nerds/geeks/fags/auties/blacks/asians/mexicans/deaf/blind/fat/ugly/poor people weren’t so strange, then I wouldn’t tease them so much. If they weren’t so weird, then I wouldn’t hurt them.

Being pro-cure for the reason that you want your child to be treated as normal by her peers and her society endorses the right of bullies to hurt others.

What about the right not to be hurt? Why can’t we focus on the people who are indifferent to the plight of others?

They want their children to be normal, so they will have the rights of normal children. The rights of normal children are both of these statements; they can hurt others and be kept safe. It’s okay to be like everyone else, because then, other normal people can identify with your plight and see your pain.

It’s the rest of us that don’t have those rights. They have both rights and we have none. If we hurt other people, we get in trouble, since they have the right to safety. If other people hurt us, then we are somehow inviting it through our actions, or else, we are being too sensitive. Thus, we don’t have the right to be safe, because it is our fault to begin with. Or, better yet, our right to be safe is superseded by their right to “help” us; which leads us right back to their right to hurt us.

People have told me all through my life that I “feel too much.” Well, I want to respond by saying, “You don’t feel enough.”

A bully makes an autistic kid cry. What does the teacher say? Sometimes she’ll ask why the bully did what he did. “Because of whatever various strange behaviors she was eliciting,” is a common response. In turn, the crying child is told not to behave that way anymore, and the bully is to keep his hands to himself. Thus, the blame is turned on the kid who is crying; as opposed to the bully whose actions created the pain in that child’s life.

Now, in all of this, a balance has to be created. One side can’t have all the power. The victim must learn ways to better interact with others; especially if those reactions of the bully are prevalent across the majority of the others. In turn, the bully (and the other children) must be taught to empathize and be more understanding of the child who is different.

Yes, the neurotypical children must be taught to be more empathetic.

What would be really amazing at some later point in human evolution is if we could abolish both statements.

If, suddenly, the right to hurt others, and the right to not to be hurt by others were both demolished, then we’d all be safe. If there’s no one to hurt, then there’s no one to be kept safe from. Strangely enough, this last sentence reminds me of the song “Tread Water.”


~ by lastcrazyhorn on November 25, 2007.

8 Responses to “Different Vs. Indifferent”

  1. Excellent post and I agree fully that we should alwasy strive to “feel too much”. It is easy to see the damage caused by people who don’t feel enough and don’t value others. Your point about the autistic child is right on also. As we find out more about autism, it’s amazing how we judge those with minor autism, like Aspergers Syndrome, who are fully mainstreamed, yet are picked on frequently. Thanks again for an honest post about bullying.

  2. You’re welcome, and I thank you for commenting. 🙂

  3. Great post!

  4. Thanks!

  5. Are we assuming that the bullies are emotionally and neurologically healthy?

  6. Well, not necessarily. But the problem still remains that those who need help/protection the most are just not getting it.

  7. […] bookmarks tagged indifferent Different Vs. Indifferent saved by 4 others     WaynesWorldFan bookmarked on 12/31/07 | […]

  8. […] presents Different Vs. Indifferent; posted at Odd One Out.where she takes a look at a situation where something is definitely broken, […]

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