Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Lindt. 100% Dilemma.

Trying on my first lab coat in my university bookstore, emailing upper-years for second-hand books and deliberately missing a train because I know the train after it will have fewer people signifies the return to campus (or hopefully work, if you’re not at school) and the holidays’ end. Memories of breaking my record for most hugs in a day when I visited my old school (Yes, I do hug. No, it doesn’t signal a lack of Aspergers.), a box of butter cookies my friend gave me, some Hallmark bills from birthday cards and a plethora of chocolate in my fridge still remain from the past few weeks.

Lindt Chocolate

Ferrero Rochers, the Caramilk my sister got at my cousin's birthday party and a multi-flavoured pile of Lindts pile onto a fridge shelf at home. Slowly my family and I will reduce this pile at the command of our chocolate cravings. This winter, though, I introduced the clich├ęd term Ethical Dilemma to chocolate. I just discovered that in the United States, Lindt supports the organization Autism Speaks and have donated ten cents of each chocolate bunny sold at Easter to the organization the past six years.
Autism Speaks is called the leading charity for Autism. It claims that those with Autism are burdens to their family and that those on the spectrum need to be removed of their autistic qualities. Their co-founder Susan Wright  claimed that Autism “works faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined.” I could barely start a Google search without encountering the word Epidemiology.

The musical keyboard at home

I am not part of an epidemic. It did take me longer to learn social skills than the average person. I do designate some stores in Toronto’s malls as no-go zones with their loud speakers. I can’t stand certain kids’ movies. (If you don’t count Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, Frozen was an exception.) But my music hypersensitivity doubles as a love of music, or a passion for evening de-stressing on a dusty twelve-year-old keyboard. I believe that my emotion sensitivity only intensifies my motivation to stand for human rights. I was told by my doctor that my hypersensitive hearing will benefit the natural human hearing loss in my sixties. Do I sound worse than cancer? Autism Speaks doesn’t speak for me.
Therefore it hurts that the company whose chocolates are a symbol of December, whose chocolates I’ve cherished for years, donates to an organization which insults my genome. It hurts seeing The only bunny that gives back in an article about Lindt's campaign for Autism Speaks. (If you want to see it, the link is I don't recommend it, though.) It hurts to look at my own university’s website to find a headline cheering Potential cure for Autism. It hurts when my characteristics are targeted simply because they place me outside a box of normal. I do not want to be treated as an object to any person, any organization or any chocolate company.
The fruit flavours in my fridge will tempt me in a few days. (Yes, I know they’re not pure fruit-flavoured.) Most of the Lindt chocolates I ever ate were given by someone else. How can I refuse a chocolate if it's given in kindness? I’m good at saying no to things, but how do I say no to this?
I imagine myself opening the fridge, looking at the pile of Ferrero Rochers, Lindts, Kitkats and Caramilks in the door, then closing the fridge door and heading to the box of butter cookies. At this moment I anticipate myself undecided.

- FA

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