A wonderful post about assumption

January 25, 2007 at 8:44 PM (Able Bodied Antics, Assumptions, On Being Fat) (, )

Is here., and made me think about my own frames about communication and realized that I need to broaden my perception of how communication happens and what constitutes facile communication…and, it also jogged my memory the assumptions folks can make about my impairments.

1. “I know bunches of people with CP who drive…you should drive [Subtext: “She doesn’t want to drive and she really could and she won’t because she’s lazy and likes having people run her around.]

Um no. My depth perception and lack of much clear peripheral vision in the right eye are “off” enough for me to have no sense of lenghth of the vehicle or be in danger of anyone who wanted to come up on my right. My reflexes are further shot since the chemo…just no.

I live in the freakin’ Rockies…with some of the best scenic driving around in the other three quarters of the year…do you think that if I *could* drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, that I wouldn’t *beg* for that license?

Wake UP!

2. “You’re smart, so you’re not really disabled…why are you asking for all this help?”

Smart gets you 50 cents and a cup of coffee at Denny’s. If the physical plant of an entertainment venue, a job, a school, a rec facility, a church etc etc…is not wheelchair accessible, or is only minimally so…I have to go collaborate immediately with those in charge to work to find an acceptable solution. *That’s not whining!* It’s necessary.

3. “I could never live like that.” [Subtext: I don’t want to, no one should so let’s minimize the validity of that life, that particular experience]

It’s amazing what you find you can do, because you must do it. So don’t tell me the strategies I use to live my life are “impossible.” It’s your imagination that has limits on it, placed there by fear

4. “I don’t understand how you can possibly [insert activity here].”

And, I don’t have time to explain how I can possibly [insert activity here.]

And the most annoying assumption of all. Running through some abled’s strangers heads, never really spoken:

“Simply because you are 1. Disabled and 2. Fat, that means the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the things you like, the workarounds you do, your dating life, your recreational habits, your spirituality, your relationships with friends or family…are all open for me the abled to poke my nose in *and pontificate* about things that are….(wait for it)…actually none of my business, personal things I would *never* offer an opinon or judgement about to an able and /or thin person.”

The only thing right about *that* of course is that how any one individual with impairments or any group of people handle their impairments is, very very often: None of an able stranger’s business.

10 Comments

  1. Book Girl said,

    Yes, yes, yes.

    Especially with the `so smart’ one.

    And the one where you get told that you `don’t really have CP’ because you’re not as severely affected as some people with CP are.

    Oh! And the one that I keep encountering from a woman I’m on a committee with (to develop resources for wwd about Pap Smears and such) – the assumption that if you have one type of disability, you can’t also have another type. She can’t (won’t!) understand that a brochure targeted towards women with intellectual disabilities also has to have info on it about physical access and in large print for vision impairments. I’ve had the same conversation with her about this two committee meetings in a row! ::sigh::
    It’s not a `one disability per customer’ type situation.

  2. Book Girl said,

    Yes, yes, yes.

    Especially with the `so smart’ one.

    And the one where you get told that you `don’t really have CP’ because you’re not as severely affected as some people with CP are.

    Oh! And the one that I keep encountering from a woman I’m on a committee with (to develop resources for wwd about Pap Smears and such) – the assumption that if you have one type of disability, you can’t also have another type. She can’t (won’t!) understand that a brochure targeted towards women with intellectual disabilities also has to have info on it about physical access and in large print for vision impairments. I’ve had the same conversation with her about this two committee meetings in a row! ::sigh::
    It’s not a `one disability per customer’ type situation.

  3. Disgruntled Ladye said,

    My favorite:
    “But you look so good”…

    Meaning, you don’t look sick/disabled/pitiful, so obviously you’re making it up.

    People are stupid.

  4. Disgruntled Ladye said,

    My favorite:
    “But you look so good”…

    Meaning, you don’t look sick/disabled/pitiful, so obviously you’re making it up.

    People are stupid.

  5. Bob said,

    There are so many times you wish you were wearing a T shirt that says “Kiss my ass” on the back so you can just turn your back on them and express yourself

  6. Bob said,

    There are so many times you wish you were wearing a T shirt that says “Kiss my ass” on the back so you can just turn your back on them and express yourself

  7. Rider Friend said,

    …you’re right. Assumptions can be very offensive! I’ve made too many myself!

  8. kactus said,

    you could be speaking for me. I got the “too smart” diagnosis from my therapist, of all people, who also said I was “too fat” and who very quickly stopped being my therapist. Oh boy. Thank you for this.

  9. kactus said,

    you could be speaking for me. I got the “too smart” diagnosis from my therapist, of all people, who also said I was “too fat” and who very quickly stopped being my therapist. Oh boy. Thank you for this.

  10. Giatas said,

    Cool…

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