That’s a question that has been asked by many by many in the autism community following the insensitive comments made by rapper 50 Cent. On Twitter, a firestorm of tweets sporting the question ‘What does autism look like” along with pictures went out directed towards @50cent, including my own. To be honest, hearing (actually reading) his comments, it certainly got under my skin, it really bothered me.
A couple days have gone by and I’ve had a while to let his comments sit and digest. I’ve also had a chance to read the takes of some great people who I really respect and my opinions have certainly not changed a bit, I’m still bothered by his comments, but more than that, I pity his ignorance. The fact is, as parents of children with autism, we fight so very hard to gain acceptance and understanding for our children and the fact that he makes these comments shows that the fight has obviously not made it to him. The fact is, if I’ve learned one thing, unless you live it, it’s sometimes hard to understand it. Impossible? No, but hard none the less.
So if 50 Cent wants to know what autism looks like; it looks like love. It looks like trials and ups and downs. It looks like challenge. It looks like accomplishments, big and small. It looks like trips to therapy. It looks like frustration with IEP’s. It looks like meltdowns. It looks like, well, the life of a mom and dad of a child with autism. It’s our life. To us, autism is what we know and our son Kian is a beautiful, kind, loving child with a huge heart. He might have autism, but more than that, he captures the hearts of all those who know him. That, Mr. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, is what autism looks like.
The fact is, 50 Cent made a bad choice of words. Did he think he was being funny or clever? The fact is, it really doesn’t matter. He made a terrible choice of words that were insensitive and ignorant. I hope that he recognizes this and stands up and takes it like a man.