Autism, bronies and being “woke”

I’ve never liked the term “woke“. It sounds like something you achieve once and well that’s it, you now are aware of all the struggles people encounter and don’t need to focus on understanding and compassion towards others who you disagree with because clearly, they are not “woke” like you.

I had a good reminder of this a while back. Someone I look up to greatly in terms of diversity and inclusion and who has first hand experience with a lot of the biases, the prejudices and harassment that people may endure made a comment regarding Bronies (Adult fans of the My Little Pony TV Show, generally male).

Something to the effect that Bronies were freaks or weird. I challenged them and mentioned I knew someone who was a Brony and that they were on the Autism spectrum. I also mentioned that while actual data is sparse, there seems to be many bronies who are on the Autism spectrum. (# #)

There are various theories as to why the correlation but one seems to be that people on the Autism spectrum appreciate how clear the emotions of the characters are. In a world where some struggle to understand human interactions the characters of the show are clear and understandable. They make sense.

I think my friend was taken a bit aback by the revelation that even with all her knowledge of the various struggles people endure she had just made a comment that could be taken as offensive towards an under-privileged group.

It was in a sense relieving for me, that even people who I look up to and who I would want to be as “woke” as could still make mistakes and still had things to learn about various groups and the privileges they may or may not have.

To be clear here, I don’t fault them for it. It’s just something that’s never been part of their life and has been a part of mine. And much like I have much to learn, I think it’s a good reminder that maybe if someone says something that is offensive or could be re-enforcing stereotypes or makes a comment that indicates they do not fully understand the day to day struggles of a particular group that they may not be malicious. They might not of had the experiences I’ve had or have had people who they are close to in their lives who have had those experiences.

I think it serves as a good reminder that when someone says something or acts in a certain way, that I shouldn’t start by assigning ill intent to their actions but rather have compassion and try to help grow their understanding of the issue. And that means that I don’t think one can, or should, believe themselves to be “woke” as it will have a detrimental impact on their willingness to learn, listen and grow as an individual.

Hijabs, last names and freedom of choice

When me and my partner got married she decided to take my last name. I didn’t have a strong opinion on the matter. Truth be told I wanted us to both change our last name to something awesome like DragonHeart, sadly that got vetoed.

The reaction from some people to that decision is interesting in that some seem to assume if she took my last name we may be all about the gender stereotypes and she certainly couldn’t be a good feminist.

I think that misses the root goal of feminism which is that all genders are treated equally. In this case it’s the fact that she made the decision and not me that counts. Feminism doesn’t mean that she keeps her last name. It means that she’s empowered to make that decision on her terms.

With the same logic I don’t see how we can outlaw Hijabs or other religious garment in the name of “protecting” women from oppression. ( see Québec’s new law on the matter). It seems a bit like trying to combat theft by telling people they can’t have iPhones because people will steal them instead of stopping the person doing the theft.

If there is a case when someone is forced to wear something they don’t want to wear, whatever that may be, shouldn’t we stop the person doing the oppression instead of targeting the victim?

All that to say that the state and society should promote personal freedom ( within the constraints of certain responsibilities that come with those rights ) and not enforce some misguided decision regarding what personal freedom means for each of us.



I’ve day dreamed of blogging for a while. It’s always that my posts come out all perfect and logical, with great sources for all my arguments. You know, unrealistic expectations. The other thing stopping me if I think fear. The fear that I’ll write something and it be wrong or I’ll offend someone so much as to be publicly shamed. The odds of that are slim but I think the “safety” of Facebook, that only people you “know” can read your posts (if your settings are correctly set) is a part of why posting on Facebook is easier. I can just write something off, random thoughts and I don’t need it to stand the test of time and have it scrutinized by everyone who looks me up, either as a conference speaker in any potential future job applications or if ever I were to run for public office (The chances of which keep getting slimmer and slimmer). But I don’t think the fear of something should be a reason to not do something. The rational odds of something bad coming out of this are pretty slim, kind of like sky diving.

All that to say, I’ll be posting random thoughts here, and hopefully the public pressure of following up on this now that I’ve announced it will be enough to get me to stick to it.

I don’t think I’ll be auto posting to Facebook and Twitter as a general rule, but maybe the posts I think are worthy of being shared / read.