Monday, 4 April 2016

You can't educate pork.

This is a saying a friend taught me.
I had to ask what it meant, but now I know, it's a saying I use frequently, even if it's only to myself.

Basically, it means that some people are so set in their beliefs that you simply can't say anything that will alter their mindset.

This has become my mantra. All those irritating times when someone has an opinion that is hurtful, bigoted, ignorant or just plain wrong, instead of getting my knickers in a twist (to put it mildly), I repeat "you can't educate pork" in my mind, and it really helps.

Using an inanimate meat product as a comparison is insulting enough to jolt me into not caring what they say, and kept private so no-one is hurt or insulted (apart from me, by the comments made in the first place). At the very least, repeating it gives me time to accept that the person saying these things doesn't care enough about me or my family to educate themselves and realise that the things they are saying make them look like twats, so I don't need to waste my breath on them any more.

With people like this you can tell them how it actually is until you're blue in the face, but it won't make a jot of difference.

It is a particularly useful tool to keep handy when you have a child with autism. As any autism parent knows, thoughtless comments from others are par for the course.

I read the following exchange on a support group today, this is a fine example of where "you can't educate pork" comes in very handy:

Football Mum: Well L had a bit of a strop at training yesterday.

Me: Yes well, luckily the children understand the way he is and leave him to it until he's ready to re-join.

Football Mum: Well, I know he has Autism and everything, but don't you think most of it is down to being spoilt? My son knows not to behave like that because I have taught him well......

You see? You simply can't argue with that level of stupid. I have to admit, as I read this, my mind took over with a chorus of "you can't educate pork, you can't educate pork, you can't educate pork", and it worked, I didn't feel at all wound up about the exchange. And as I write, I can't help but hear Dorothy saying "There's no place like home, there's no place like home", but instead of being transported to a safe place, with Aunty Em in Kansas, I'm transported to my own safe place of "I don't care lalalalala", and I didn't even need a hot air balloon to get there!

Some other examples where YCEP has personally saved me from unnecessary anguish:

From the headteacher at school, who really should know better:

"But he's going to have to do as he's told, he lives in the real world...."
(Oh if only it were that simple! And as I pointed out to her in an email, would she expect a physically disabled child to get up and walk without support, because they live in the real world?)

The many many people who have said any or all of the following:

"He's just being a boy, they're all like that" 

"Make him run, he doesn't do enough"
(About the boy who never stops)

"He doesn't have autism, he gives eye contact"

"He doesn't have autism, he's talking fine"

"Why should he have the benefit of having a scribe and extra time in exams, why can't my (non-autistic, no processing problems) child have the same? It should be a level playing field for all, this is unfair........"
(My words in brackets).
(This was a tricky one to ignore. The level of stupidity was high. Yes, my son with ASD, OCD, anxiety and poor processing skills really has a distinct advantage over yours because he qualified for some support <sarcasm>)

Also throw in a few "why shouldn't able children have 1:1 support in lessons", "why are you pandering to your child, you're just spoiling him", and many veiled (and not so veiled) comments about parenting, you can see why YCEP is so useful.

If we tried to educate every single person making these comments, we wouldn't have time to parent our own children. We have to pick our battles carefully, choosing the ones which we hope will get us somewhere. Battles with people that don't matter are a pointless waste of our energy.

So here, as a thank you for anyone who has read this blog (frankly I'm amazed!), I gift you the power of You Can't Educate Pork.
Use it wisely.


  1. Brilliant post - right on the nail!!!!

  2. Fabulous point, very well made. I'll be stealing your mantra from now on xxx

  3. My child has Down Syndrome. People (random people) often refer to her as "a downs baby" or simply "a downs". I shall take on this mantra in future. Thank you.

  4. I came looking to deepen the meaning of the saying, "You can't educate pork," and I found your comment.

    Interestingly enough, I have also been doing some research on building my own mantra (which you mention) --One of my own favourite is: "People are not as intelligent as you, keep it simple stupid."-- and this week I met an adult student who has two autistic daughters. As an ESL teacher, I gave him advice on strategies to help his child (and himself) develop communication, only to realise how ignorant I am on the matter of autism; I have become victim of my own mantra.

    I apologise for my ignorance and thank you for helping me cure my idiocy.