In December of 2017, autistic advocate and YouTuber Amythest Schaber started the #BoycottToSiri hashtag as a reaction to the widely criticized memoir To Siri With Love by Judith Newman. It is a book written by a neurotypical woman about her relationship with her autistic son, Gus. He uses Siri to help him navigate the world. Read on for a critical conversation about disability and neurodiversity in kidlit.
Why The Publishing Industry Needs To Be More Inclusive Of Autistic And Disabled People
Autistic advocates wrote that they believed the book maligned the autistic community and exploited Gus’s right to privacy. The memoir and hashtag consequently began a conversation about media portrayals of the autistic community and why it’s so important to have autistic and disabled people writing and telling their own stories.
There’s a deeper problem behind this hashtag than a single memoir. As writer Jennifer Baker points out in an article for Electric Literature, the publishing industry needs marginalized people behind-the-scenes at publishing houses if they want to create a literary landscape that accurately reflects everyone.
Further suggested reading: Born Just Right