Persons with disabilities (henceforth abbreviated PWD’s) get really dumb stuff said to them by the able all the time. But this one takes it.
An associate of mine was struggling with life responses that they themselves were suffering by (in other words their own choices), but also dealing with a bunch of stuff that wasn’t their fault. An able bodied spectator of their life’s drama said, and I quote:
“You know I really don’t understand why you don’t just shoot yourself in the head.”
That, of course, is the ugliest version of “I could never live like that.” or “I’m not good with sick people,” etc.
First shut your mouth unless your actual intent when you got up this morning was to devalue and terrify an associate of mine.
Second: And I’ll say this slowly so that any able bodied slowcoach who says these sorts of things can clean out their ears or take some hangover remedy and listen.
Yes, you could live like that. Yes…you could. Admitting “I’m scared of living like that,” now that’s more like it and we can begin a dialogue there. How many of our veterans are dealing with PTSD or TBI? Or How many car accidents cause radical alterations in the way those injured in them have to manage their lives?
A just as flip, unhelpful nasty answer to the “shoot yourself in the head,” remark, might be a slow smile and a “You first…:).” [In my days of newsgroup flamewarring I might have said just such a thing…] But a better answer is “Because I still have stuff to do.”
Yeah, it’ll get done by methods and ways that some able can’t begin to think about…but it’ll get done.
Thirdly, there are folks who at one time or another have real, searing suicidal ideation. Do you with that earnest statement (it wasn’t a joke, I was there) want to encourage their own vulnerability and fear about what they are experiencing? Don’t put a thumb on the scale unless you’re really fine with learning a particular friend checked out early. Because I know I’m not.
And the, “I’m not good with sick people,” thing is just a cowards way out, frankly. Let’s say you have a friend. And they are going through things that make you sad, or angry or frightened. You don’t have to get in there and ‘suffer’ with them 24/7 because they’d just as much rather hear about the news, or pop culture, or family stuff or gardening, in balance with being able to air what’s going on with them.
It’s difficult certainly but it beats leaving the party early.
Not linking ‘cuz he knows who he is…and prefers his anonymity.
and also to Keith Olbermann who mentioned this briefly on Countdown last night [Does he *have* to keep being so appealing and unatainable at the same time? I wish he’d turn out to be a real jerk…so I could stop wishing]
A London club banned a woman on crutches from entering the venue. The manufactured reason was concern that the crutches might be used as weapons.
Bu!! and Sh!t.
‘Weapons’ my shrinking but still oversized @ss.
By that logic, any expert in martial arts cannot be allowed into the club either, because their mobility devices, their limbs are deadly weapons…..
In my opinion, the real reason was that *someone* thought they were the Arbiter of Cool a la Studio 54, and that crutches *automatically* assign this woman to Those who will Never Be Hip Enough to Party Here.
From the article:
Disabled people face many hurdles and to deny a young person access to a nightclub, effectively because of their disability, creates yet another barrier between her and her friends. While they party, she is meant to sit it out.”
She went right to her MP with this.
Good for her…and if any other UK’ers with impairments manage to get into that club….
Party with her and for her all night long….
The club states in the article that there had been two previous violent incidents in the club and that based on legal advice they had banned this patron, but the tone and phrasing makes it clear *her* banning from the club is *unrelated* to any previous violent incidents, and in fact she had been admitted to the club on two previous occasions.
This and the Jena Six in the same month.
Someone’s been using timewarp technology on us, surely.
Sometimes, I take a virtual stroll around the wider, able blogosphere…and then I run back in here and hide.
And then, the endless chewing over whether or not housework is a feminist issue (it is) that I suppose has to be done over at Feministing.
I wonder, politically incorrectly, about the able in these arguuments, or political posts, or being caught in insane greed or lenghtly ideological discussions…
Have they ever been abandoned by a family member because they were ‘too different’ ? (and I don’t mean emotional unavailability although that is a truly painful one) …I mean actually, physically left to the mercy of strangers, because the family couldn’t handle a disability
Have they ever been unable to get or keep a job?
Have they ever *really* been completely off the market as a potential romantic partner? (although one of the players above is certainly off *my* list. Feh, ugh. Shiver)
Have they been made virtually invisible by body size or physical diference?
No? Really? Truly?
There are days when, as uncharitable, and unprogressive and unkind as it sounds that I wish the subset of the able who haven’t yet thought of becoming our allies, the whining able, since they often resist the inclusion of real disability activism as a ’cause’ they’ll fight for…
Would just shut the ***** up.
They think they have it so bad.
They have no freaking idea.
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.
This is one of these arguments, whether it is had right out front word for word, or is in the subtext of the way a person with impairments is treated….I keep having to “handle” such perceptions about me each year, each time I go anywhere, each time I meet up with a new group of people.
So, I figure I’ll put up a Manifesto of Sorts:
I did not have that panic attack on purpose.
I did not miraculously acquire carpal Tunnel on purpose.
I did not go to the Universe before I was born and plead for Cerebral Palsy
I did not ask for asthma on purpose.
And I most certainly did not look through a catalogue of Mental Health Conditions and say: “Oh, just look at these! I think I’ll choose Depression as part of mild Bipolar Disorder with a whopping side of Anxiety.”
And though I’m glad to have “survived” cancer…It was certainly nothing I lined up to ask for either.
But there are attitudes or words or phrases out there, subtle or direct, directed at many of us….something in some of the able *wants* desperately to assign the label of “manipulator” to us.
It makes those who assign such labels feel superior, I suppose.
Note to the Able.
Just *****ing quit. Stop assigning labels, get on with your own lives, and dare I say it…
Mind your own godd@mm business.