Little People, Big World

June 9, 2007 at 9:16 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

From a rerun tonight, when son Zach is recovering from surgery…

I love this show…it shows people as they are where they are, in the middle of their parenting time, or in the middle of their  adolescence.

The kid not wanting to admit to his postoperative pain, the father doing an old fashioned thing, trying to shield him before the surgery as to how painful it might be.  He has to be on crutches for awhile, and his mom asks him to use a chair for safety, he opts for the crutches and slips on some frost his first day back at school, and …

“I hate being crippled.  It pisses me off,” when experience gives him a nudge in the direction of using the chair.

And the siblings breaking my biggest unwritten rule:

Don’t play with assistive tech that is not your own, you might mess it up.

Very real.

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Another provoking list

May 30, 2007 at 7:46 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

1. Able persons using the ‘tragic’ word, not for the person in their lives with the impairment, but for their caregiving burden. Making it *all about them* and not about the person with impairment.

(While real, it’s often not on the same footing with the social and attitudinal difficulties faced by the person with impairment themselves)

2. Is it just me, or when lawmakers and judges making decisions about a gender, race, class, ability level *other than their own,* do you cringe at some of their logic? I do.

The number of unfounded assumptions made based on gender, race, or orientation, as well as impairment are just mind boggling…

And don’t get me started on the humiliation visited upon heavyset people.

3. No-one, can discern the activity level or eating habits of someone based on their appearance. They *think* they can, but they can’t

Do you automatically know that overweight person didn’t just come from the gym?

*No, you don’t*

Do you have a security camera in their refrigerator so you know exactly what they eat or *do you think you should be entitled to one?*

No, you don’t and no, no camera for you.

I know the folks at Big Fat Blog won’t like me linking to any comonalities experienced by both heavy and disabled persons (at the former Blogger blog, I was taken to task for seeing common threads, because, *in no way* would they want *fat* listed as a disability…

Which feels to me like just another way to start singing “There’s No Oppression Like My Oppression Like No Oppression I Know…”

…but I’m not trying to do that…I’m pointing out that similar things happen to both groups, )

The thin and able somehow think, that if you have an impairment or,

you are fat,

It permits them to do more than point and laugh and make jokes….

You are expected to allow total strangers to accost you on the street and tell you to get healed, get medicine, get to the gym, go get carved up…in short, to allow boatloads of unsolicited (usually crappy ) advice about how to Be an Inspiration, or Fix Your Life….all with the subliminal “Go away, your body makes me uncomfortable,” shining like a mental neon light.

Don’t assume. That’s the answer, in short…don’t assume you either know what’s best for a stranger, or that even worse, you have a right to discuss personal matters with a stranger.

Difference does not permit you to sacrifice courtesy.

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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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The playing field has begun to level

April 11, 2006 at 6:46 PM (Assumptions, Attitude Adjustment, disabled men, disabled women) ()

This is merely anecdotal evidence but among my friends who still date and pursue romance, I’m noticing a gradual positive trend, particularly in the last decade.

Prior to the 1990’s in my experience:

Able men dated disabled women rarely, if at all. I’m not talking about my experiences per se, but those of other disabled persons I met or knew of.

Able women dated disabled men more often, but it was still fairly rare.

The disabled men I knew had a covert or overt mission to date able women, and were quite frank about it, and saw themselves lessened in some way if they dated a disabled woman.

Disabled women? Dated able men more often than not, but also dated disabled men…and their choices were about the inner person. If they were good looking but mean, even the chicks in the chairs didn’t bother with them.

Post 1990 (and not coincidentally the passage of the ADA) I’ve known more and more pairings where one or more was disabled and the disability of one or both parties was given less and less importance.

The reason?

I think that gradually, the able are getting more and more accustomed to seeing people with disabilities out and about (oh, yes there are still the individuals who actually show *physical aversion* when a disabled person arrives in a room, or we get ignored outright etc, etc), but there is the beginning of improvement there.

I know everyone’s got individual horror stories…but, here’s hoping for more connection and more and more people connecting for reasons that have nothing to do with impairment.

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New Words

March 15, 2006 at 11:05 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Over the past eleven months or so, persons close to me have used words about me that they’ve never used before.

It’s all been done in allowed joshing or polite discussions so I’m not angry about it.

“Stubborn,” has been said of me before, so it doesn’t count as new.

“Opinionated” doesn’t count either, because it’s been said before.

“Ham” or “High Verbal” same notation.

Here are the new ones:

Rigid

Nuts

Crazy

And I have to fight the notion to run back to those that I really want approval from, that used those words, and backpedal on items that seem to make sense to me, socially or politically that they oppose.

I won’t

The decision to go to war in Iraq forced me to actually pick a side, become a partisan leftist…I was moving that way, …but the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons….etc etc etc.

I oppose the political and religious right for more reasons than will fit on this page. Read the archives. I’m no neocon’s friend.

And, even those who stand on the same side as myself, well, my attitude is distasteful to them as well because:

I oppose abortions of convienence by wealthy people so they can avoid the trauma of having a disabled child. That’s the only choice I can find that I do oppose, but I do, and remaining silent or disavowing that opinion because many strong smart feminists say they don’t agree…can’t anymore sorry.

I’m no environmentalist. When *people* aren’t losing jobs and homes due to bad governance, bad wars, bad economic policy and a few outright evil people, *then* I’ll save the Grand Canyon, or the neighbors dog.

(Update 3/19/2006) When I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. The clock is ticking on the environment a lot quicker than I realized. Still aint my priority, but it damn sure needs to be someone’s in the next decade. CBS News won’t let me link, but they have the story tonight.

Death with Dignity, isn’t, if the disabled are the ones pressured most often and most inimically by economic or famillial interference to sign the advance directive, right here please, thank you.

Because, Good Lord, people with disabilities are invisible enough. And we’re finding out that the Internet means we have quicker access to attitudes as well as information. So we’re finding out the depth of the (instinct?,habit?desire? prevailing societal bias?) to “make them go away”

We saw the outrage and public outcry last summer when someone was mistaken for a terrorist in London and shot.

When a man with multiple disabilities is mistaken for an escaped prisoner and shot, there’s a small blurb in the local paper. That’s it.

When children and civilians are dying in a war that many many people have questions about, there’s activism and concern

When children with HIV or chronic ilness need a feeding tube to survive they’re told in a media covered story that their survival consists of abuse of the Medicaid system.

Or, a professor with disabilities that has been teaching long term…gets asked to step away from lecturing as a probable precursor to an attempt to fire them.

Or the piece of the abortion issue that the right would like to exploit and many on the left support.

The idea that the right to choose isn’t just about choosing to give birth, but choosing what kind of child to give birth to…

Yeah, rigid,nuts, and crazy. That’s the new me all right.

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