When a step-parent of a child with autism came across an ableist and problematic question on Quora, he put them on blast. It was awesome.
The internet is a strange and beautiful place. Nowhere is this truer than on Reddit, where users recently came together to troll a parent through "murder by words." When Reddit user Ron Sarraf-Berrios, who goes by the username Kewlgemini06, shared a Quora question from a "concerned" parent of a son who has an autistic friend, a flock of terribly critical comments aimed at the parent followed. The parent in question was worried that by hanging out with the autistic child, their son would "catch" autism as if it were some sort of communicable disease. Well, let's thank the heavens that ignorance isn't contagious—that young boy would have no chance of surviving it.
As an autistic person, it hurts to see that people still think like this in 2020. I kinda suffered from this mentality when i was younger and people are still at it, thinking autism is contagious.— Zakk (@TinyTim_Aka_TT) July 18, 2020
I really hope people underatand one day.
The parent asked on Quora, "My son hangs out with an autistic kid sometimes and I don't want him to start taking after him and becoming autistic. How can I nip this in the bud?" Ron's answer, the top response to the question on the website, was: "I suggest you have a strong discussion with your child's other parent and suggest that they do the parenting from now on as you sound like a mor*n. Autism is not contagious, but, I'm afraid stupidity is, so please stop spreading yours." (Ah, it seems great minds joke alike too!) However, the trolling did not end on Quora as it was shared on the Reddit subreddit r/Autism.
autism is contagious don’t approach me i will give you my autism on purpose https://t.co/a7IJMu8zPg— mendel 1312 ミ☆ (@gideongIick) July 18, 2020
Ron posted a screenshot of the question with the caption, "Posted this answer to a really f’ed up question [on] Quora." One Reddit user commented in response, "When I hear people say there are no stupid questions—I beg to disagree—this is a stupid question." Another added, "Better to 'catch' autism than Karenism." The most scathing replies, however, came from parents of children with autism. "As a parent of an autistic child, I would like to send out a big f*ck you to everyone who thinks that autism is contagious, caused by vaccines, thinks it makes them stupid, and in general [hates] on autism," one person affirmed.
Autism not contagious, nor potentially fatal. Easily identifiable. I could go on.— Ricardo (@Ricardo33AD) July 17, 2020
Kewlgemini06, nonetheless, was undoubtedly the star of the thread as he had completely shut the parent down. He said in an interview that he was "floored" by the question on Quora when he first saw it. "I think the single biggest myth about autism is that it is a disease that can be 'caught' either from someone else or from a vaccine," he shared. "Autism is a condition where the brain is wired differently, like being left-handed or a musical prodigy." After he had posted the screenshot on Reddit, some users informed him that the question could have actually been written by a troll.
y'all i had to cut contact w someone because his dad thought that autism was contagious LMAOO— phat ass hoe⁷ ᵇˡᵐ ⸸ (@gotosleepabbi) July 17, 2020
He stated, "It didn’t occur to me that they could have been a troll until Redditors started commenting that, and yet the fact that they deleted their question on Quora after I posted my response tells me they weren’t a troll. As a step-parent of a child on the spectrum, it really disgusted me, so I framed my response to shame them as much as I could." While shaming someone may not be the best way to get them to keep their ableist privilege in check, maybe it did the trick in this case and set an example for others. Ron had one message for everyone: "I just want every person out there to know that raising a child with autism is not easy but neither is raising a child with a sports talent or musical ability and having to deal with all that comes with it. Raising a child is hard but an autistic child can bring so much love into your life. My kid is 18 and never went through that ‘I hate you’ phase and still wants daily hugs and to spend time with his parents. I would never want that to go away."