black people with asperger’s syndrome: one reason why i make music

February 18, 2015
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Yesterday, I went through my mind wondering exactly why I decided to make music. Why am I killing myself to get where I want to be? I finally came to the conclusion that the reason I do what I do is simply because I want to represent the people I relate to. You see, one of the projects I have been working on lately has to do with explaining to people about my disability. My goal was to try and explain having Aspergers to people and also break down any stigma that may come with it. Since my project is currently on hold due to malfunctioning equipment, I thought I would use this Wednesday, which just happens to be International Aspergers Day, to break down what black people with Aspergers have to go through. First, let me introduce myself: I’m Lightning Pill, and I have Asperger’s Syndrome.


By Lightning Pill, AFROPUNK Contributor 
Normally, the vibe I would get from black people is that most of them are “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of people or the types who feed heavily upon bombarding stigmas. (For examples of this, look towards the stigma that still surrounds gay people or those with darker or lighter skin.) So, to shatter this, allow me to share a few facts about myself. My mom got me tested when I was only 3, and ever since, I never fully understood what all of that entailed until I got older.
I was almost your archetypical geek who was obsessed with cartoons and music (mostly, rock and electronic music). I would always feel like I didn’t belong amongst people, even when riding a city bus. I would spend my high school years voluntarily sitting alone at lunch to write abstract poetry or read liner notes of my favorite albums. I just saw it and bullying as a normal everyday occurance at school, but that wasn’t all. I had been trying to do math homework for grades higher than mine when I was a freshman. I was socially failing to the point where I easily gave up in time. I stayed in and wrote about music all day. I spoke like I had read a dictionary when I was younger. Having Asperger’s Syndrome, for me, was not much of a problem, when it wasn’t frustrating trying to relate or connect to the people around me.
Every article you read says that people on the autism spectrum are most likely to succumb to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other stuff (because we are more neurotypically sensitive than other people are), but I think most of that just comes from the absolute hell of trying to fit in with our peers and the sheer disappointment of being let know it’s either an impossible task or a demeaning one, spiritually, mentally, or what have you. It also comes from an outside misunderstanding of our character. Everyday, we spend time within our own rigid ideas and practices, and we try to skirt fashion as a means to maintain our own identity. Like anybody else, I spent time trying to see who can be a role model for me. That’s when it hit me: where are some of the black people pushing for notoriety with Asperger’s Syndrome? Where’s the black Aspies currently killing it in music, science, writing, math or what have you? Where are ones who might slap somebody, if they were told Aspergers was a mental illness or anything stupid like that?
Eveywhere I turn, I am more likely to find famous non-black person with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism from Ladyhawke to Gary Numan to Dan Aykroyd. So far, the only famous black dude out of two that I know within the autism spectrum is 50 Tyson (and a music producer that I forgot the name of right now). I see that on YouTube there is a documentary about black girls with Aspergers, but is that enough?

The reason I ask is because in my mind, people are more likely to want to listen about important issues, if it is from people who risk what they can to get to the front. People are more likely to get the idea of autism meaning retard from 50 Cent’s ass because we are kind of slow to step aboard the front line. Where are the famous black people with Aspergers out there trying to educate people about it?
This is where I find out that I do what I do because growing up, I had Gary Numan and Craig Nicholls to look up to for that, but who is going to inspire from the other end of the color spectrum? Someone has to lead, and if it isn’t us (assuming those reading this has the same disability that I have), then who will?