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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As per usual…able progresssives

March 25, 2007 at 6:55 AM (Feminism) ()

don’t think it all the way through…

Here,

is a great distinction between who women are “supposed” to be…and who they are…but…

For disabled women I believe the distinction goes a bit further…

Femininity is the thing that makes both the feminists and non feminists uncomfortable when seen as a clear aspect of a disabled woman.

If we *wish* that traditional idea, we cannot have it.

And in many cases if we ‘reject’ the traditional it’s as if we’re giving an extra shove to something that is already out of our sphere…not by our own choice but by the ‘comfort zone’ of the able.

Feminism is that thing, that path to power over yourself and your life…that feminists in theory should want to extend as a welcoming hand to disabled women…many do…but when we admit to being sexual the discomfort is evident, even on the left. When we admit to genuine fear that our lives might be ended without our consent…immediately we are either automatically making common cause with the right, or labeled its clueless tools.

If there is to be a complete discussion of “Femininity” by feminists, it needs to include the group who are often *never* thought of as feminine.  Exclusion from femininity and/or exclusion from full acceptance and participation in feminism is the barrier that hits us first.

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Division: Sabotage or Reality?

March 7, 2007 at 7:58 PM (disabled vets, Iraq War) ()

Because there are extended wars being conducted and triage technology has improved a great deal ….many more soldiers, men and women alike are coming home with impairments.

There’s been the Walter Reed debacle and widening criticism that the VA network, already overextended, will simply be unable to address the needs of the returning veterans….

I’m watching this from a different angle.

There are divisions on top of divisions in the disability community that, in my judgement are one of the factors in the slow nature of positive change for the community as a whole.

When one of the “Murderball” subjects stated fairly clearly that one of the factors in his disabling accident was “male pattern foolishness,” I thought: Is it just me or are those types of accidents/injuries more understood by men, because they [anecdotally speaking] happen to men more often? And does that mean that when our government plans for “disability,” it has the single template of the “accidental spinal cord injury victim” as the pattern around which any aid or rehab gets designed?

If that’s so, the war veterans will bring yet another pattern that has to be adjusted to and adapted to and *served* as soon as possible.

And that will be another division. I’ve no doubt that those whose impairments result from military service are given more respect, more acceptance of their newfound limitations than civilians with impairments. I’m not arguing that they should not, I’m stating that difference as problematic for the rest of us.

Will this mean a widening of the different views of impaired women versus impaired men? I believe that for the most part it will. (except for military women, who I believe will recieve the same amount of respect and support that their male counterparts do, if they come home to the States with impairments due to the war.)

If women with impairments, the rest of the civilian disabled, and the military disabled could instead find common ground and mutual benefit…that would be another example of why we *all* need homes of Universal design, access to housing, education and (where possible) employment. The support our disabled soldiers recieve should be a teaching tool of what’s needed for the disability community as a whole, not something that is never considered for civilians with impairments.

…Just wondering how this will be handled over time…

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DREF gets it dead on.

January 10, 2007 at 5:17 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Via the Justice for All Listserv: Another good distillation.

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Why do they do this?

January 7, 2007 at 7:47 PM (Attitude Adjustment) ()

Put “disability rights” in quotes, whenever we say something they disagree with?

Happened in the comment thread at Pandagon, and sorry for such a short post, but I’m a bit curt and short tempered anyhow and when **** tactics like this are made to minimize disability rights concerns in any debate, be they left or right…

or “you people,” the favorite (not) phrase of anyone who has ever worked in a call center…to get that self righteous tone… applied.

Stick to the issue.

Don’t metaphorically *pat us on the head* when we agree with any common cause and then use grammar to put us at the childrens table.

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