At the very least, Peete requested that 50 delete his insulting tweets. He has obliged, but many parents in the special needs community aren't satisfied. One mother, Miz Kp, whose 4-year-old son is on the autism spectrum, is waiting for a real apology. "In addition to giving an apology, 50 Cent needs to learn more about autism and the families affected by it. Lack of exposure can also breed ignorance," she wrote on her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas.
Many other autism bloggers have chimed in. Jeannette, aka Autism Mama, wrote "autism is known as the invisible disability," and then posted several photos of kids on the spectrum. Babble writer, Joslyn Gray, who has two children with autism reposted a video she made in April (for Autism Awareness Month) in response to the controversy. In real life, the video says, those with autism don't necessarily "look" like Rain Man or Forrest Gump -- that's only what movies would have you believe. In reality, as evidenced by her 3-minute photo montage, kids with autism look like any other kid: happy, smiley and adorable.
Some parents on Twitter have suggested boycotting 50 Cent's products and music. But Phil Evans, a 25-year-old with Asperger Syndrome thinks the rapper's misstep should be used as a lesson -- "Think before you talk." On his blog My Autistic Life, Evans wrote:Jeremy Robb writes at Technorati:
"Offending those who have autism may not have been intentional but when thoughts are released into such a public space, always consider what is being said when people could be affected by it."
Why do I feel so strongly? Because while growing up my brother, who was never diagnosed with autism (they didn't do that sort of thing in the 70's and 80's) was often the outcast. He was even used as a punishment on the bus while going to Junior High (If you were a problem child, you had to sit next to my brother). It was frustrating, and I often got into disagreements with the bus driver (and did a lot of walking home) over this very thing.
People with autism are just like everyone else. They have feelings, they care about what others think of them. They want to have friends, socialize, and be "normal". They don't need prominent celebrities alienating them in a public forum, even if it's in response to inappropriate behavior.
Some have called on 50 Cent to apologize. Others have called for a boycott. Personally, a boycott for me wouldn't mean anything, as I never have and probably never will want to purchase his music anyway. But I do think something very powerful needs to be said here. Autism isn't a joke. I don't want it to be turned into another attack by kids. I don't want to see what happened to my brother happen to anyone. Ever.
50 Cent, I'm sure you don't care about what the autism community is saying about you. I'm sure you think you are safe in your record deals, fame, and fortune. Sure, you didn't make a racial slur, or attack anyone because of their sexual preference. But you did attack my two sons. And that's just not cool. Perhaps you should have thought before you wrote anything.