in the media movies television there are many problems with how the disabled are depicted. When positive stories come out [which is good]But the the person with a disability is often put on a pedestal called inspiration porn.[which is bad.] That’s a term used within the community when someone is held up by the able-bodied and said, ” oh they’re so inspirational.” Here is an article by an able ally…who seems to miss the boat just a bit.
There are plenty in the disability community who get enraged when they see only the fittest of special Paralympians shown on television, or an able-bodied actor playing a person in a chair. The full spectrum of disability in media should first include disability, which cripjocks are. They are part of the mosaic. They should be represented. What they should not be represented as is the only face of disability. Or the only good face of disability.
We will have made it when we are all represented. All of us. The cognitively challenged as well as the physically challenged. The tall the short the conventionally beautiful and the not so much. On crutches and off. There has been some progress here, but we still have a way to go. That’s the first part.
the second part is: We are people. We are not alabaster saints or terrible sinners. we are engaging with the world, and we are hidden away. We are workers for money or workers giving of our time. We are loving spouses and parents. And we are those who cannot be that. None of these things or categories need to inspire anybody outside of our own community. Yes, take joy in the successes of your family with disabilities, *just as you do with your able circle of people.* It’s when that story is sent out into the wider world that things can happen…
Third thing, and this is the most important of all we are not here to inspire you. All too often do not have the time or the energy to do that. We are here to live our own lives and tell our own story just as you do. Should we tell you you you are inspiring when you manage not to park in the handicapped space? And specific to one of the author’s points, we aren’t here to stop you from whining about your first world problems…as a tool to distract or amaze so you quit. I think you have the capacity not to do that without any help from us.
When you the able-bodied get to choose the parameters of inspiring, you are holding some of us up to an impossible standard that the able around us might now expect us to meet.
it’s good to see positive stories out there. As long as there is no pedestal in sight.
For those unaware, the family of a teen with severe autism got a letter telling them they were unwelcome in the neighborhood because of some effects of his disease, and in fact had no right to live in such a neighborhood, that in fact parts of his body should be donated to science and that the family should move or kill their child for the comfort of the writer of the letter to the left, signed “One Pissed off Mother.” Here is my cleaned up no-cursewords response.
To “one pissed off mother.”
You do realize, don’t you ma’am that you and your children are one car accident away from possible quadriplegia? One stroke away from similar debilitating physical changes, and/or cognitive deficits? That you could be the mother of a child with disabilities as soon as tomorrow?
Young Max does the best he can with his autism. Just as, I’m sure, your lovely children do the best they can without it.
Would you expect something so completely foul to be slipped under your door, should the symptoms of any complex impairment you or your children might acquire become noticeable to the wider world? Would you expect that your neighbor might suddenly declare you unwelcome? Would you be pleased to comply if someone said the following about your child, if the child became disabled?
“Personally, they should take whatever non retarded [sic] body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!!” the letter reads. “Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!! Either way we are ALL better off!!!”
I think not. I think you would hope for the kind of support the rest of the neighborhood is giving Max and his family right now, since you put that hateful excuse for communication under their door.
I’m not ashamed to say, I hope you are found. I hope you are outed and have to answer for every single word of this offensive letter *in public* in front of Max’s family.
Looks interesting. What sorts of people should there be?
getting de-personed for being a woman, a gimp, or fat, or any and all combinations thereof was bad enough….but I’ve noticed as the political climate has gotten more and more poisonously divisive.
I’m now getting ‘mentally deleted’ once people know I’m one of those “liberals.’
Disagreement on issues? Fine, lets. But don’t decide I’m not a person if you disagree with me.
And, one on one, I’ve never, never lost sight of the fact that the person I’m discoursing with is a person…because many of my really really close family profoundly disagree with me politically. If I do move back to Ohio, I’m realizing that I’m actually going to have to censor myself more severely there than here. (Denver has a boatload of conservatives, but an equal amount of liberals, so you’re less likely to get cornered and shouted at at a restaurant or grocery, or public place etc etc.)
I wonder if disability intersects with this because anecdotally, the able feel the right to get all up in our business about everything *because we”re disabled. *
For example questions I’ve been asked/statements made on the street by strangers who would never dare ask an able bodied person these things….
“Can you have sex?'” (Um, mind your own business and sure as hell not with you.)
An undocumented cab driver, after he’s picked me up once. “Will you marry me? Then I could become American! (Big smile on their face.)” (I, and they were lucky that I was *extremely* sour on the idea of marriage at the time.)
“If you didn’t eat so much, you’d lose weight!” did you know that?” (Really? I do have a mirror, I see it every day, and you’re obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer.)
“The only reason *you’re” liberal is that you are in a wheelchair. If you were walking you’d understand Beck quick enough!” [WTF! Increased mobility means I’d automatically become the devils disciple? Who knew?]
“And you probably love terrorists too! You loser ***ch!” (No, my stance on terrorists is what makes me a rather bloodthirsty liberal. You heard it here first. Osama’s head on a pike is fine by me.)
“You hate capitalism because you’d rather sit at home!”
(No. The reasons I distrust corporate management of my world are many and varied and I’ve already written about them here, and they are more personal than political, but they are both.
Guess I’d better resign myself to either ‘vanishing,’ or getting a lot more argumentative blowback once I’m in the Buckeye State.
I’m on crutches, or my wheelchair, a heavyset gimpy broad going to work a long while ago, when I still could. I was an entry level “adjuster” at a health insurance co, but also a person with a masters degree. I always seemed to land in an elevator while the top brass were discussing some (non secret, not necessarily too evil) business process…and so naturally I’d chime in with some ideas of my own.
Invariably, they’d give me the “Who the f**k is this disabled woman and why is she talking?,” look.
Some might say “Oh, really?” with a vacant smile that meant the same thing…
After about six of these run ins, I couldn’t stand it. Gave my idea, got the WTF look and said in (what was, quite frankly, an arrogant Cleopatra-to-an-unruly-pesant sort of tone):
“Not only can I talk…But I’m *funny* too!”
Naturally, there was dead silence in that elevator until I reached my floor.