By now, a good portion of Facebook (and the internet) has probably seen the story about the autistic grocery store employee (not trained to decorate cakes) who decorated a cake for a customer, the customer who “graciously” accepted & paid for the less-than-professionally decorated cake, and then promptly went home to photograph the cake and accept kudos from all over the internet for being so gracious and compassionate.
It’s been really annoying me to keep seeing people posting it, praising both the non-autistic employees for being kind to the co-worker and the customer for not making a big deal over the cake (except… she is). This story is clear inspiration porn.
1. The employee’s diagnosis is nobody’s business if she doesn’t willingly reveal it herself. Her privacy has been compromised. HIPAA laws exist for a reason… to protect the privacy of the patient. It was not the cashier’s place to inform the customer of the employee being autistic. Don’t excuse this privacy violation under the guise of acceptance. It’s a violation of privacy. Period.
2. The person seeming to be getting the most kudos over this is the woman who bought the cake for being kind enough to overlook the design flaws. A lot of parents of autistic kids are sharing it, saying they hope people are as accepting of their kids when they’re older… but guess what? This isn’t acceptance, this is stating that you’re willing to forgive someone for their flaws BECAUSE they’re autistic, but if they weren’t autistic, you’d be pissed as hell. That doesn’t fly with me. Acceptance means accepting the person INCLUSIVE of their being autistic, not because or despite their being autistic.
I’ve been under a lot of stress over the last several days, which usually causes me to shut down completely and be entirely non-verbal. I have been fighting that quite a bit, so I could be in Portland for TASH. I am still mostly non-verbal right now, but I’m here and I’m trying. My mom texted me last night that she’s proud of me. THAT is okay. This IS something to be proud of for trying and I’m proud of myself, too. But does my mom blast it all over the internet in a public post for attention? No. Because it’s inappropriate for her pride in me facing adversity to be utilized to garner attention or to be exploited without my knowledge to teach a lesson about compassion… or whatever people want to imagine is the end game of the cake customer.
This situation and those like it are absolutely disgusting. So knock it off and tell your friends the same, please.
For good measure, please check out Stella Young’s TED talk about inspiration porn.