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“Let’s use our powers for good not evil today, shall we?” That’s what I tweeted this early this morning in response to something I saw last night. Rapper 50 Cent tweeted this to a fan last night:
@50cent: yeah I just saw your picture fool you look autistic #SMSaudio RT@yung_raditz
And just in case that didn’t have enough impact, Mr. Fitty, followed up with this ditty:
@50cent: I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else #SMSaudio
Nice. Now, it’s not that I expected a whole lot from him but even I was surprised but this. Maybe he doesn’t know what autism looks like. Maybe he hasn’t felt the confusion and in some cases, heartbreak of a parent whose child was just diagnosed. Perhaps he doesn’t know what it’s like stay up at night, worrying that your child will be bullied because of a lack of understanding. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he just doesn’t know because the alternative, that he just doesn’t care, is unfathomable.
Curtis James Jackson has almost 7 million followers on Twitter. They hang on his every word and each of his tweets, gets re-tweeted hundreds of times. In other words, Fitty’s got juice. He could easily use his powers for good by choosing to educate and inform his multitude of fans about autism, instead of spreading ignorance and hate.
What exactly did Mr. Cent mean when he said, “You look autistic”? What does that mean? Maybe he meant that his young fan looked like Grant James, the son of Sarena James, a GEM contributor who writes about her family’s journey with autism in hopes of enlightening others. I know Grant personally and you know what I see when I spend time with him? A kid with a big heart and a bigger smile, who is really working hard, I mean REALLY hard to unlock the mysteries of the world around him. He’s a smart kid who has made awesome strides toward that goal, thanks to parents and therapists who refuse to give up.
Maybe by autistic, Fitty meant Holly Robinson-Peete’s son, Rodney. Holly, told Mr. Jackson, in a most eloquent response, that her son is autistic, is in special ed, loves rap music and is a HUGE fan of Mr. Jackson’s.
Maybe by autistic, Curtis meant young Mike Korins, who, along with his father, reached out to me on Twitter to show me his video tribute to all people with special needs; one that was so heartfelt, it moved me to tears.
So to Mr. Cent, THIS is what autism looks like and there are a lot of people who know that up close. Now, thanks to your tweet last night, we also know what ignorance looks like. You have incredible power to make this right, to learn something and teach in the process, or stay in the dark and lead seven million people to that cave with you.
I feel confident in saying that Sarena, Grant, Holly, Rodney, myself and a whole host of others do hope you choose to use your powers for good, not evil. Let us know if we can help. And listen, we’d be most appreciative if you would help us, too.
What do you guys think about 50 Cent’s tweet? Should he apologize? Does he have a responsibility to make this right? What would you tell him if you could sit across the table from him?
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