Sports, Prejudice, and Journalism
At the end of the post, Kristina had this to say:
"Autistic Boy Drops 20 Points" the headlines read a year ago about J-Mac.
Have you heard any headlines saying "Mentally Retarded Student Drops 20 Points" or even "Schizophrenic Athlete Drops 20 Points"?
I hope we hear all of those, someday.
I'm sure I can't be the only one who winced upon reading that (and the original news coverage). Here's what it reminds me of: Old newspaper stories from about 50 years ago, when professional sports in the United States were starting to become racially integrated, with headlines like "Negro Hits Home Run."
Nowadays, under modern journalistic codes of ethics, news stories typically do not mention a person's race unless it is relevant to the story. Publishers understand that gratuitous discussion of race, national origin, and other divisive social categories is best avoided because it highlights differences and therefore tends to perpetuate prejudice. It's about time for the media to start showing the same respect toward neurological minority groups.
As for Jason McElwain and his misguided belief that he is a hero for raising awareness of "the disease" of autism—well, he's a clueless kid, and I'm sure he was only repeating what he was told by manipulative curebies who want to use him to further their agenda. Because he clearly doesn't know any better, I won't bash him. I do, however, have a bit of advice for him:
You think you're a hero, Jason? It might be a good idea to do some reading about Jackie Robinson and all that he endured—with great dignity—in integrating major league baseball. Dude, you're no Jackie Robinson.