Wow, that’s offensive

I joined Facebook because my medical school class had a webpage with announcements before class started two years ago, and it was the main way we were distributing information. I am generally a fan of Facebook, believe it or not. One complaint I have is that there are plenty of time wasters on there, and even if I don’t choose to participate in them, my “news feed” is full of the goings on of my “friends”. I try to ignore the thousands of applications and quizzes, which are usually more annoying than offensive.

Well, some of my “friends”, including one from medical school, are taking the “What mental disorder do you suffer from?” quiz. One fellow medical student, who is by all my observations very neurotypical, got the result “autistic”. Here is the summary that is visible on my main page, which is all I can read without joining the stupid application:

“Austism (sic) is a pervasive development disorder. You will suffer from poor communication, a lack of relationships and joy, and repetitive motor mannerisms that will generally piss people off, such as tapping your pencil or flapping your arms…”

Not only is this a very negative, not necessarily accurate description of autism, but it is being used by a neurotypical to joke around about how ironic it is to compare him, a successful medical student who was the president of a major student organization and has a girlfriend to some caricature of a mockable arm flapping joyless person who will never have a good relationship with others.

To make it worse, he is a medical student. I was annoyed when my first “friend” who took it, a former high school classmate, was diagnosed with virtual sorta obsessive compulsive disorder. How amusing! *snort* She must be tidy. How easy to compare that to someone with a possibly disabling mental disorder!

But, I hold future medical professionals to a higher standard than the average shmo on Facebook. I was disappointed by the snickering in our behavioral science / psychiatry system when some of the mental disorders were described. I was disappointed when one of my classmates sent out a ranting email with derogatory comments towards classmates with “lazy eyes” (huh?) and ADHD.

Medical professionals should not use medical diagnoses as insults or jokes. Medical students should not add to the stigma of mental illness. Medical students should not perpetuate incorrect stereotypes of mental illness or developmental disorders.

That is all. I am done with my rant, and I need to study for &^%$#@ boards.


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8 responses to “Wow, that’s offensive

  1. Kristine

    That is wrong on so many levels. Good rant.

  2. Birth_Lactation

    Good post.. have to say I agree, but then I hold a lot of people to a higher standard than they want. My professional frinds get annoyed sometimes. Facebook has a lot of weird quizes and other time wasters.. I’m guilty. I did some. FB recently changed their news feed and do not like it. now I look at “all friends”… look for status updates or new photos etc. and check who want. 😉

  3. My daughter has autism. She is quite loving and affectionate.

    People are such idiots.

  4. MomTFH

    Oh, I don’t mind when other people do Mafia Wars or whatever. I just wish it only showed up on the news feeds of people who were playing.

    Yes, people are idiots.

  5. jendajen

    My autistic son is one of the most loving and genuinely sweet people I’ve ever met. This is not just my bias, I’ve heard this from many other people. He’s also the most purely happy person I know.

  6. I saw that quiz. The person’s result was Schizophrenia. I wondered about what the other possibilities were and cringed.

  7. Ugh. Facebook is good for keeping in touch with people, but useless in every other way.

    Although I agree with the opinions here, it is ironic to see two of the commenters using the word “idiot” to insult people for being ableist.

    • MomTFH

      One of them was me. I am still working on my ableist language. I am pretty good with most things. Idiot is one term that I never associated with disability, but I am familiar with the argument that it is an older term for developmental disability. I definitely value using precise speech, and can see the point in being careful about ableist terms, but I have to admit in my case I am more careful with current terminology (like retard, etc) than older terms like idiot.

      Also, the original post was about more than just a single ableist term. I do agree it is important to discuss ableist language, and apologize for using “idiot”, but the quiz on Facebook was ableist in more than just a single word. There are degrees of ableism, and that quiz was off the charts.

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