Thursday, 1 May 2008

Blogging against Disablism

Disablism? What's that, then? It's not big, and it's not clever, that's what. Why should someone have the right to disciminate against, tease, ignore, stare at, beat up, ostracise or otherwise make someone else's life a misery, just because they're "different"? Or even kill them? We're all different, aren't we? Even identical twins must have traits one doesn't share with the other one. So why is it so bad to be "different"? I'm an individual, so I'm different from everyone else. For the best part of a day, I have wheels underneath me; when I'm not in my car, I'm in my wheelchair. In my car, nobody knows I'm not "like them", unless they're really nosey and peer into my car to see my wheelchair. But the moment I get out of my car, I'm "different" again, and people feel they can talk to me as if I'm a kid. Pram mentality I call it: because I'm only about 3 feet off the ground, I get the kiddy treatment. People don't expect so much from me because I'm disabled. Well, FYI, I can act, sing, play musical instruments, I work and I live alone. How's that for starters? Defensive? Moi? People think it's OK to stare at me in the street, or make remarks because they think I can't hear them. Well, it's not. And it should stop. Now. And not just for me; for anyone who's "not like you". Think about it. Pity doesn't help us. Understanding does.


Anonymous said...


Thing is we're all individuals whether we use legs or wheels. What suddenly gives the idea that wheels means you are one kind of person? It's bizarre behaviour really.

Wheelchair Dancer said...

Yeah, I get this. Have you read Elizabeth McClung (Screw Bronze) on how all your other gifts can recede before your disability?


Ruth said...

I just want to shout

Right on!

So I will. Geeze, I've felt that "car" phenomenon so many times -first time seen it put into words like you did...

Cholla said...

Been there... had that happen. What always gets me is when salespeople will talk to other "normal" people who aren't with me to find out what I want. Hello? I'm right here, thank you and I can answer for myself. Hehe... sometimes I'll just tell the stranger what I want and see if they'll "translate" it for the salesperson. It can be mighty entertaining if you can get past the initial annoyance.

Anonymous said...

"Pram mentality" -- excellent description.

Vive la différence, says I.

Anonymous said...

I actually wonder if the perception of disability in modern society - if the social construct of disability is more disabling than any syndrome or condition really is. My daughter is very young, so only time will tell for us, but after 4 years I already loathe the word pity.

Helen said...

OK Rachel, we all have the right to express ourselves and what we believe, and so do you.

Just because we don't agree, it doesn't make it wrong.

Thanks for all your support, people, I can't believe it!

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