Saturday, February 16, 2008


Elizabeth is right, of course. It's not something most of us want to know about, no, that's quite right.

Hey Feminists, Christians, Activists, LGBTQ, the political left, the centre and the right, and any other group you want to throw in this powerhouse of US and Canada they call North America (Mexico must LOVE that) listen carefully: We, the sick, the people with disabilities, those with impairments, the ill are not going away or going to remain invisible for a simple reason. WE are YOU. If you don’t have time to put us on your agenda then you don’t have time to care about yourself, your partner, your children, your parents or your friends. And sadly, it seems you don’t.

...In Cleveland last week, three 12 year old students, two boys and a girl beat a student because.....he had cerebral palsy. The attack was so severe the boy had to have a testicle removed. The boy had been bullied repeated before solely based on his neurological condition.

The school Superintendent Myrna Corley's response: “It's an unfortunate situation.”


On Tuesday, though I have no fine motor control of my hand and limited gross motor skill I was trying to make a complaint about discrimination on disability AT a disability vocational center when the manager would only accept the complaint if I did it MYSELF, in WRITING. This was a painful and very slow process, of over 20 minutes for three minutes of writing. Later the manager apologized saying, she had made me do that because, "I had made her angry." The full story is here.

Gosh, I guess I should hope she doesn't get angry often....

from the comments section:

Though I visited people in hospital, and from my church and sent cards I never once thought, "That could be me." Nope, I was the giver, never considering I would be the dependant. Never really considering they were equal to me in inviduality and emotion (as you say), or desires, or ambitions, or FRUSTRATIONS, or fear. If you know 3000 people then you will know several people with MS, at least 1 with Lupus or Crones, several with Fibro or CFS/ME, several with breast cancer, a few with other types of cancer, a couple dozen with arthritis (minimum), and several more with chronic conditions, as well as hundreds to 1,000 who have at least one episode of major depression, are within the ASP (austism spectrum disorder), bipolar, or other mental illnesses. That doesn't even count just getting old. It is what is means to BE human, in many ways.

There is that. Helplessness is part of the human condition, and for those who have a temporary reprieve from it, the prospect of returning to it is fucking terrifying.

Why is it fucking terrifying? Well, partly it's an existential thing. My mother is currently watching -her- mother, my grandmother, slowly deteriorate mentally as well as physically. The term "regression" applies. It's not supposed to work that way, right? Growth is supposed to be linear, a goal is reached, one doesn't go backward. One doesn't become parent to one's parent and child to one's child. Does one?

But that is, as EmC observes, maybe the least of it. Or, well, not all of it.

from the BBC piece:

There is something so tempting, so easy in humiliating someone with a disability, particularly when you know their limitations. Take away their crutches, their wheelchair and watch them crawl. Refuse to make allowances, refuse accessibility, to accommodate because you can. Even when you are paid to help and understand them, in the end they aren’t like you and if they make you angry, just tell them they have to write it themselves, no not type…write it, and watch them painfully toil. I don’t know if it gives satisfaction, or a feeling of superiority to watch someone strain as they make a complaint that Triumph is treating People with Disabilities as sub-humans.

It is easy when you are paid to assist, to withdraw that, and no one will know. No one will know you used the medical information a PWD gave you to hurt them, to try and break their spirit, or their pride, or what you consider willfulness, or what you see as arrogance. You weren’t even “Just following orders” like the person I was complaining about, you did this because you could and you wanted to. Though I struggled it wasn’t me who lost my dignity, nor my humanity, but you.

I wonder how often someone “makes you angry.”

Yeah. Of course we don't want to be dependent, because we know -just how fucking dependable- our tender fellow creatures are, don't we?

We're better than that ourselves, of course, each and every one.

Aren't we, though?


Anonymous said...

omg, behavior training??? sure, because PWD are just acting out. they are like little children anyway, right?

Rootietoot said...

This is why I do everything I can to hide my disabilities. I do it by staying at home, by only going out with my very large and perfectly-abled husband. Except, when I'm with my old folks, because most of them have their own disabilities, and understand.

More than anything, I hate being condescended to.

Daisy said...

Ohhhhhh. My mother was born disabled, and regularly threw a fit in such circumstances.

That situation? It would be like, "No, motherfucker, you write it. Do I look like I can write it?" Throwing things, loud cursing, insults of personal appearance and intelligence, demands to see bosses, etc etc would undoubtedly ensue. At that point, she was no longer regarded as simply disabled, but considered a white trash hillbilly for being so loud. (And deliberately loud, too.

She embarrassed me terribly with that shit, while simultaneously instilling in me the concept of fighting for what is right and just. I was torn, constantly. I admired her as if she was Rosa Parks herself, or Queen Elizabeth, yet wanted to hide at the same time. I loved her so much, and yet hated the public rows she caused.

But as I grew older, I found them exciting. On at least three occasions that I recall, I started them on her behalf.

My mother had a tremendous influence on me in countless ways; I've been imprinted, no question.
And you know, I just realized: I was never allowed to fool myself, thinking of myself as forever young and able, someone who would never get old.

Why? Because she regularly reminded everyone.

Rootietoot said...

Daisy- I every day wish I had the chutzpah to pitch a public fit, but it isn't in my makeup to do so. On the other hand, when I see someone park in a handicap spot, then get out and walk with dexterity to the door..makes me mad, beccause I DON'T park there, so it can be available to someone who needs it more than I do. I left a note once, "Stupidity is not a handicap"

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