Are autistic people discriminated against?
Everyone is different, but still a person. Discrimination, racism, attacks on disabled people, attacks on mentally handicapped people, attacks on people with Down syndrome have no place in society, but unfortunately it happens again and again.
Racism and discrimination have no place in today's society, in the society of the 21st century. But there are still enough incidents in which foreigners, people with a different skin color, (mentally) disabled or other people are insulted or injured just because they are different from the "perpetrator".
At the moment, when we hear the subject of racism and police violence, we all look to the United States, where on May 25, 2020 George Floyd, an African American, was killed by a white police officer. The officer kneeled on George Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and he choked to death. His last words “I can't breath” became the slogan of the worldwide protest movement against racism and discrimination “Black lives matters”.
But the death of Floyd and other African Americans in the United States from police violence was not the only reason I am writing this article. A case that happened on June 13th at the “Adria” in Vienna moved me to write this article. Because on Saturday a 26-year-old man, who is also an employee of the “Adria”, was attacked by a group of foreign citizens. They threatened, harassed and choked him, according to his sister on Facebook. Fortunately, he got away with no serious injuries, but it must have been a big shock. The trigger for this incident was presumably that the group of foreign people who were also heavily drunk apparently did not want to accept him because he has Down syndrome (trisomy 21).
But why am I telling all this? I tell it because the person is the son of someone I know and I want to show that discrimination and contempt for certain groups of people has no place in today's society. At first he is also a very nice person, but he also does great things in the Adriatic, in addition to his job as a waiter. Every morning he clears away the rubbish by the Adriatic that drunk people leave behind at night, as the area of the Danube Canal is used as a party mile.
But let's come back to the subject of racism and the incidents in the USA. It's bad what happened there and the protests are making a difference. Nevertheless, there is police violence not only in the USA, but also here in Austria, as a report by Amnesty International shows:
“P. is a Mexican citizen. He works as a paramedic in Austria. In June 2006 he celebrates with friends at the Danube Island Festival, whom he loses in the crowd. Since he doesn't know his way around Vienna very well, he asks two police officers for directions to the nearest underground station. One of the officers replied in an extremely aggressive tone: “Sneak up! Get out of there, you fucking foreigner! ”P. replies that as someone looking for help he does not want to be treated like that, and asks for the name and service number of the officer. Then the other says to him: "Sneak you - or we will arrest you, you little shit!" P. emphasizes again that the police are there to help people, whereupon the two officers grab him, knock him to the ground and give him one inflict deep wound on the right hand, bruises on the left arm and right hip. The officers warn him, “Don't move, you fucking foreigner!” They handcuff him and lead him to a makeshift guard room. A superior officer orders the two of them to loosen the handcuffs and take P. to the Donaustadt police station. According to his own statements, P. is beaten again in the car and insulted in a racist manner. P. can leave the guard room at two o'clock in the morning, before he gets the service numbers of the two officers. The next day P. goes to the hospital, where a doctor determines his injuries. P. receives a penalty order for aggressive behavior towards officials in the amount of 140 euros. With the support of the NGO ZARA, P. lodges a complaint against the officials with the public prosecutor's office. The prosecutor dismissed the complaint for lack of evidence. However, a complaint is filed against P. for resistance to state authority. A first negotiation without result will take place in May 2007. P. was acquitted in early 2008, almost two years after the incident took place. "
(Source: https://www.amnesty.at/media/2387/oesterreich_opfer-oder-verdaechtige.pdf, p. 38 [accessed on: June 16, 2020])
This incident shows that something has clearly gone wrong in Austria too. Violence, racism and discrimination should simply not exist, and certainly not from law enforcement officials. In addition to racism among the police, there are also cases in which foreigners had to experience fatal police violence, as can be seen from an article in the profile.
Autism and discrimination
Discrimination affects us with autism again and again. Unfortunately, we are viewed by some people as not being “normal” people. They don't want anything to do with us and would like to give us a special school. A classmate said this to me several times. But most of the students in my school have no problem with us autistic people. At least I haven't met anyone else. All the prejudices that circulate about autism do not make the discrimination against autistic people any less.
But what does the saying “Everyone is different, but still human” mean now?
“Everyone is different, but still human” means to me that we are all human, regardless of whether we have a disability or different skin colors, different looks, customs, etc. Racism and other derogatory forms towards other people should no longer exist these days, but unfortunately this is not the case. There must also be no discrimination against people who belong to the LGBTIQ community. Because it doesn't matter who you love and who you are together or married with, what customs or what appearance you have? And doesn't it matter whether you have a disability or not?
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