This just in: autism can disappear!
Or that’s what Toni Braxton believes.
According to an interview on Access Hollywood, Toni Braxton’s son Diezel no longer “suffers” from autism. She mentions in a quote that her son shows “No signs of autism. He’s our social butterfly. He’s the one who plays with friends and hangs out all the time. Very, very fortunate. And I don’t like to think there’s anything wrong with our babies. I just think they learn differently.”
All I got to say as an autistic Black person is: why is saying this okay?
Braxton is not the first person to say this, nor will she be the last. However, this isn’t the first problematic thing Braxton has said relating to autism. At one point, she mentioned that her son Diezel’s autism was a punishment for having an abortion, as if autism was the end-all for a child’s life and their parent’s life. Below is the video of her mentioning this :
But it isn’t — and we need to understand that.
So many Black children with autism go undiagnosed because of medical bias. While my brother was diagnosed at the age of 2 or 3, I did not even get a pending diagnosis until I was 21 (because of growing up being read as a little Black girl — one of the people least likely get diagnosed during childhood). This meant I had to adjust, that I had to condition myself to understand social cues. This also meant I had to get used to sitting alone during recess because I was too damn weird.
A common narrative.
A lot of autistic Black folks had to pry their way into the medical system to be able to have at least a possible diagnosis of being on the spectrum.
Words like Braxton’s are what is keeping Black autistic folks from ever getting a chance of being able to be open about their experiences. By doing this, she’s continuing to slap on what an autistic person is supposed to be like, even though autism and the people who have it are on a spectrum. She continues the narrative that autism is similar to a cold that can be cured.
Autism is NOT a bad thing to have — and it will never go away. And that’s okay.