Mainstream media treats anyone who isn’t mainstream horribly. From shitty representations to reinforcing the oppressive systems of society today to imagining worlds where we literally don’t exist over and over and over again… We all know that when a mainstream media company announces a project “about” us or our struggles to buckle down for an at best naive and at work harrowing ride of misinformation, misrepresentation, and erasure.
And right now, we got a twofer. Two absolutely grotesque shows are getting talked about in two different parts of social media. Two shows that are getting ready to shit on two overlapping and already-struggle groups of people who don’t need any more shit in their lives. If you are reading this blog post, you’ve probably already heard of one of them—but many people haven’t heard about both.
Confederate and Atypical
Confederate is HBO’s white-supremacist fantasy of the South winning the Civil War. It is in development and had a chance to be seriously shut down. This past Sunday #NoConfederate was trending as people spoke out about why it needs to be shut down.
Atypical is Netflix’s painfully stereotyping and downright insulting autistic “representation” show. It is showing in early August–it’s too late to shut it down completely, but the #ActuallyAutistic community has gotten the attention of the show’s creators and this may be a chance to educate for better representation in the future and/or to prevent a second season.
An autistic character being the butt of jokes as he tries to lose his virginity is not comedy. A white-supremacist fantasy is not anti-racism drama. But that is what these shows are getting pitched as.
Two Sides, Same Bullshit
These are not separate issues. Both shows are the result of big media companies who can’t be bothered to listen to the minority groups they are portraying or even just do some basic research. They are the result of white neurotypical people thinking they can ‘teach’ about racism and autism better than those of us who are autistic and/or live everyday fighting against racism.
Right now, these shows are being addressed separately. While black activists and at least some non-black accomplices have been working to get Confederate shut down, we have seen no one in the autistic community make the connect to Atypical. And discussion of Atypical and its many problems has mostly stayed within the autistic community.
It doesn’t need to be that way. We can work together and support each other. We have a better chance of getting Confederate shut down and preventing more shows like Atypical by combining our voices and resources.
How to Help
If this is the first time you are hearing about one or both of these shows, here’s what you can do to help:
To support autistic people fighting against Atypical-style representation, hop on Twitter Friday, August 11th for the mass live-tweeting of the first episode of Atypical. Watch the #Atypical hashtag for updates and look for people tagging #ActuallyAutistic on #Atypical tweets to amplify the voices of autistic people.
To support black people fighting against Confederates, follow the #NoConfederate hashtag. Amplify black voices talking about why the show needs to be shut down and watch for additional plans for group activity. We’ve seen a few folks propose making a weekly #NoConfederate mass tweeting. Look for that, support, and amplify.
To support both, look for of protest and resistance activity on other social media sites and help activity jump to new areas of the internet. Storify tweets to share on Facebook or Instagram, promote mass tweet equivalents like mass posting or profile pic changes on Facebook to increase awareness and, as always, amplify the voices of people speaking from lived experience.
If you have a blog, website, podcast, or just a bunch of folks who follow you on social media, talk about both shows, how they are connected, and why they matter.
And if you know black autistic folks talking about either or both of these shows? Please amplify the shit out of that.