As we speak…For Blogging Against Disablism Day 5/1/2007

April 30, 2007 at 6:23 PM (Assumptions, Attitude Adjustment, Disability Blogging) (, , , , , , , , )

As we speak or type, or sign….

First the good news…there has been what I can only call an explosion of blogs by and for and about people with disabilities and their allies in the past year…it’s tough to keep up, but fabulous to see so many. They aren’t comfortable simple, easy ‘happy happy’ stories…but they matter, and they give a glimpse into the worst and the best that happens around us, to us, and because of us, a joyful, painful, scary, wry, complex story that needs to be written. We’re writing, speaking, signing, typing all over the Internet and beyond into the mainstream media a time or two.

But, as we become more ‘visible’ the social model of disability, that theory that says that architectural barriers, as well as negative attitudes, stereotypes and prejudices about people with impairments ‘disable’ us more than physical difference ever could. rears up and gives us a new version of an old standard.

The idea that because we’re physically different, or our thought processes might be different, or our method of communication different…We shouldn’t have had an opinion, particularly about the Ashley treatment. Those who agreed with the procedure were outraged at our outrage, angry at our anger, snarky at our snark, or just plain clueless. Many spoke their mind in such a way that indicated that us *having* an opinion was so obviously riduculous and wrong that a ton of slurs came our way.

Excuse me???

We don’t *get* to have an opinion????

About *ourselves* or someone like us…What? We don’t *get* to have an opinion? We aren’t allowed to think? To question? To research? To try to explain to the able?

Why the *hell* not?

When the Ashley story broke, there was so much anger, even hate, that we would dare to wonder at what led to the decision to treat her in this way.

That almost bothered me more than the treatment itself. That it wasn’t just that the concerns of the disability community were treated as though we weren’t there…that was the old way, the pre-blogs-on-the-rise way…

The new way to “disable” our concerns was to be affronted, bitter, angry,spiteful that we *dared* to raise the questions that must be raised, if we’re to advocate for others of our tribe, the disabled, to be spared this… that we should just shut up and be quiet and be grateful that there were caregivers for us….

We’re not going to the back of the Internet.

There will be no wall built at some virtual “border” to keep us from writing.

There are no great flights of stone steps we must crawl up.

Our opinion has been hidden, limited or *missing* from discussions about medical treatment, education, employment,access, travel, architechure,institutionalization, for most of history.

It’s here now, and disagreement is expected, certainly. Examination of why we feel as we do. But not dismissal. Not abelist arrogance. (or worse condescension, the verbal equivalent of the pat on the head of a beloved pet…”That’s nice dear, now go sit back down.”)

*Listen to us!*

Before we’re gone and you can’t learn what you need to learn from us…

That there *is* *no* *normal!*

Just difference all ’round.

That we have an elegant and unique dignity all our own.

Before we and those like us are ‘perfected’ out of existence, or warehoused, or killed, or forgotten.

*Listen to us.*

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21 Comments

  1. Penny said,

    An “elegant and unique” post–and still a blazing rant. Beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Lady Bracknell said,

    A very powerful piece of writing indeed. This is what BADD is all about.

  3. seahorse said,

    There is no normal. That sums it up for me. Powerful words, and so good to feel togetherness today.

  4. NTE said,

    “We won’t go to the back of the internet…” A very thought-provoking post, and I thought you made your argument quite well. It’s funny how you think, sometimes, since things are improving, that they’re all better. That ‘things like that’ don’t happen anymore. Hopefully, someday. Till then, great post.

  5. Imperfect Christian said,

    It takes so little to take the time and truly LISTEN to someone, yet so few people take that time. Very well stated!

  6. Attila the Mom said,

    “We’re not going to the back of the Internet.”

    I just love this phrase. Brilliant, as always!

  7. medrecgal said,

    Awesome post!! I liked the comment “that there *is* *no* *normal*”….my philosophy on this has always been something along the lines of, “Normal depends on who’s looking.”
    I know a couple of things for sure: (1) I definitely do NOT fit society’s definition of “normal” ; and (2) There’s NOTHING wrong with that, no matter how many times certain types of people try to convince me otherwise! It took me a horrendously long time to reach that conclusion, however.

  8. It's Blog Against Disablism Day (May 1) « My Beautiful Wickedness said,

    […] best friend for many a year, who goes by the pseudonym Imfunnytoo, has written a blazing piece in honor of […]

  9. bridgett said,

    Did you note that the NYT ran an editorial today entitled “To: The Temporarily Able-Bodied.” Isn’t the timing a bit…you know…convenient, seeing as how it’s BADD? I think refusing to get to the back of the Internet is beginning to have some small but necessary effects.

  10. Glenda Watson Hyatt said,

    Great post! Well said. I agree that we have been missing for too long from decision and policy-making that affect us, and that has to stop. Nothing about us without us!

    Since it’s still May first in my time zone, i’m going to write another BADD post. The fact that my husband needs an OT assessment to get a replacement gel cushion has me fired up. Stay tuned.

  11. imfunny2 said,

    Glenda,bridgett,medrecgal,Atilla,ImperfectChristian,seahorse,NTE,LadyBracknell, Penny

    Thanks all for the comments…I’m plowing through the list at

    http://blobolobolob.blogspot.com/2007/05/blogging-against-disablism-day-2007.html

    It’s going to take weeks, but I’m loving them all

  12. Dave said,

    Amen! We have voices. Unique, strong voices. Voices that demand to be heard. Its time we defined our own reality and our own normalcy. Loved your post, loved this day.

  13. Janet said,

    Awesome post.

  14. David said,

    Great post. Well said! It’s about time our opinions are heard.

  15. Blue/Kay said,

    I always appreciate when you bring the rage. Thank you!

  16. Glenda Watson Hyatt said,

    I did write a second BADD post about how the social assistance system contributes to disablism. In case the link doesn’t get posted on Goldfish’s site, it is at http://www.doitmyselfblog.com/2007/social-assistance-system-contributes-to-disablism/.

  17. Karen said,

    Making the rounds of BADD– many more to go. Enjoyed yours!

  18. Tokah said,

    I stole that line about the back of the internet for my sig, with credit attached. Thanks for your post!

  19. Teri said,

    Great post. I am going to link to it — and add you to my permanent list.

    There has been a proliferation of blogs by/for the disability community, and I’ve had trouble 1) keeping up; and 2) feeling as though I just want to list the ones that speak to me [personally] the loudest… You do. Thanks.

  20. imfunny2 said,

    For everyone that’s commented thanks again, and I may get a bumper sticker made out of that slogan…or perhaps a tee shirt.

    Teri, as my longtime friend bridgett would tell you it’s not just that I speak personally…It’s that I speak as a true loudmouth (Laugh)

  21. Tassos said,

    Sorry 😦

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