As someone who writes for the Internet everyday, I've come to accept that the vast majority of people have a desire to share content because we want to feel knowledgeable, but due to time constraints or sheer laziness, we only read article headlines. The refusal to click on links and read the accompanying articles often causes the truth to get lost in a cycle of assumptions based on no facts.
Today that happened when a misquote from Toni Braxton's memoir, Unbreak My Heart: A Memoir, hit social media and caused an uproar. People who didn't take the time to read the short excerpt from Toni's book in which she describes her feelings on son's autism, spread the word that she believes the illness to be a curse from God.
In the book, Toni talks about the regret she feels for having an abortion and struggling with her 11-year-old son Diezel's autism.
She says that upon learning of his diagnosis, she believed that perhaps God was punishing her for an abortion she had over a decade ago. She writes, “Is God punishing me for that abortion? … [Perhaps it’s] God’s payback to give my son autism.”
Though she certainly questioned her culpability in her son's developmental delays, as I've seen many mothers do, she did not ever say that she still believes autism is a punishment from God. This was simply how she felt at the time.
Toni even acknowledges that this thinking stems from her strict religious upbringing in a sit down with Robin Roberts this morning.
Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or Follow @KimberlyNFoster