nondisability

PLEASE INCLUDE DISABLED PEOPLE IN YOUR ACTIVISM.

(note: I’m not gonna talk about Trump mocking Serge Kovaleski primarily b/c Kovaleski does not ID as disabled and does not want to be used as a political talking point. Which is fair.  yes, it was awful. no, you don’t get brownie points for agreeing with me that it was awful. Disabled people have evolved to have thick skin, and a politician mocking us is not new or unsurprising. this list will deal with policy and specific issues facing the broader disability, autistic, d/Deaf//HoH, and neurodivergent communities.)

(other note: I generally use adjective-first language but I probably also used person-first language in here somewhere. I personally prefer to use the former for myself but I respect that other people in this community use different language.)

-the federal site for IDEA has been taken down

-all mentions of disability rights have been deleted from the website

-betsy devos had no idea what the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act was when asked and stated that standards for accommodations in education should be left up to the state (this is a TERRIBLE idea)

-if Obamacare is repealed, we have the most to lose. Most of us will not be able to afford medical expertise or treatment to maintain a basic quality of life. Some of us will die.

-he called one of his books Crippled America. Unironically. Ugh. 

-the january 2017 unemployment rate for nondisabled civilians was 4.9. For disabled civilians, it was 11.0. These numbers do not reflect the number of disabled individuals who work inadequate part time jobs, who are institutionalized, or have given up looking for work.

-the US still has not signed the UN documents about the rights of People with Disabilities. 

-Justices like Justice Kennedy have historically been swing votes on cases involving disabilities. Justices like Scalia have not. Potential Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch has a very ugly disability rights record, which includes defending a college that fired a professor undergoing chemo when she requested to give her lectures over skype (there was a flu going around on campus and being there would put the staff member in danger due to her suppressed immune system)

-By the time he was elected, Donald Trump had already dealt with at least eight lawsuits concerning lack of basic accessibility (ramps, braille) on his properties

-the Supreme Court case legalizing the sterilization of potentially disabled people without their consent (Buck v. Bell) has never been overturned and has been cited as a legal precedence in a lower court as recently as 2001.

-the Judge Rotenburg Center is still using painful electric shocks on disabled students as punishment, despite the FDA advising them to stop more than two years ago.

-similarly, many disabled people are not  paid federal minimum wage b/c section 14c of the “Fair Labor Standards Act” is still on the books and so hundreds of thousands of disabled peoples’ wages are “proportional” to their productivity (compared to an abled worker). Goodwill is one of the most famous companies that exploits this loophole.

-the already gutted SSDI program is even more at risk-Trump has spoken about emulating the British reforms for their disability program. Off the top of my head, I can think of nine or ten different people who died as a result of the recent “fit to work” assessments and bedroom requirements in the UK.

-disabled people depend on the Department of Justice’s civil rights division to enforce the ADA and protect us from blatant discrimination. Trump has already proven that he does not care about the funding or effectiveness of the department, and is willing to destabilize it to forward his political goals. 

-Donald Trump is anti-vax and is complacent to that movement’s violent and intolerable rhetoric surrounding autistic and other neurodivergent individuals

-Sessions called disabled children protected by federal laws (like IDEA) “the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today”. In this same statement, he stated that he did not “remember hearing of gun shootings prior to 1975 when Congress began telling ten percent of our students [they] are not responsible” (the IDEA was passed in 1975, improving the way disabled children were treated at public schools)

-the new administration’s refusal to address fatal police brutality is also an issue of disability rights, given that around half of victims shot by police officers are disabled or neurodivergent. (like eric garner, who had asthma) 


In case this list didn’t clue you in: the disabled community is scared. We don’t know what to expect from the next four years, we still haven’t come close to equality, and we are usually left to fight our battles alone. That’s why I’m asking whoever reads this to stand with the disability community against ableism and against policies that will kill us. People have done a great job in the past few weeks of expressing solidarity with muslims, immigrants, refugees, latinx people, LGBT people, and black people. And, honestly, that’s great. Thank you and please keep doing it. But also be aware that disabled people are one of the most vulnerable demographics right now, and be aware that we’re also one of the most ignored. We are made invisible by the media and by society too easily. Please, you have to see us and you have to stand with us. 

Looking back on history, it’s impossible not to notice that people with disabilities don’t fare well in authoritarian regimes. Please help us make this time different.

Ableist hostility disguised as friendliness

Some people relate to people with disabilities in a dangerous and confusing way. They see themselves as helpers, and at first they seem to really like the person. Then the helper suddenly become aggressively hostile, and angry about the disabled person’s limitations or personality (even though they have not changed in any significant way since they started spending time together). Often, this is because the helper expected their wonderful attention to erase all of the person’s limitations, and they get angry when it doesn’t.

The logic works something like this:

  • The helper thinks that they’re looking past the disability and seeing the “real person” underneath.
  • They expect that their kindness  will allow the “real person” to emerge from the shell of disability.
  • They really like “real person” they think they are seeing, and they’re excited about their future plans for when that person emerges.
  • But the “real person” is actually figment of their imagination.

The disabled person is already real:

  • The helper doesn’t like this already-real disabled person very much
  • The helper ignores most of what the already-real person actually says, does, thinks, and feels.
  • They’re looking past the already-real person, and seeing the ghost of someone they’d like better.

This ends poorly:

  • The already-real person never turns into the ghost the helper is imagining
  • Disability stays important; it doesn’t go away when a helper tries to imagine it out of existence
  • Neither do all of the things the already-real disabled person thinks, feels, believes, and decides
  • They are who they are; the helper’s wishful thinking doesn’t turn them into someone else
  • The helper eventually notices that the already-real person isn’t becoming the ghost that they’ve been imagining
  • When the helper stop imagining the ghost, they notice that the already-real person is constantly doing, saying, feeling, believing, and deciding things that the helper hates
  • Then the helper gets furious and becomes openly hostile

The helper has actually been hostile to the disabled person the whole time

  • They never wanted to spend time around the already-real disabled person; they wanted someone else
  • (They probably didn’t realize this)
  • At first, they tried to make the already-real disabled person go away by imagining that they were someone else
  • (And by being kind to that imaginary person)
  • When they stop believing in the imaginary person, they become openly hostile to the real person

Tl;dr Sometimes ableist hostility doesn’t look like hostility at first. Sometimes people who are unable or unwilling to respect disabled people seem friendly at first. They try to look past disability, and they interact with an imaginary nondisabled person instead of the real disabled person. They’re kind to the person they’re imagining, even though they find the real person completely unacceptable. Eventually they notice the real person and become openly hostile. The disabled person’s behavior has not changed; the ableist’s perception of it has. When someone does this to you, it can be very confusing — you were open about your disability from the beginning, and it seemed like they were ok with that, until they suddenly weren’t. If this has happened to you, you are not alone.

hey kids, it’s time for your annual reminder that disabled people aren’t inferior to nondisabled people, that we/our bodies are not useless (nope, not even the disabled parts of our bodies!), and that we probably have a lot of abilities that you lack or haven’t developed as extensively as we have. in general, lots of disabled people are way better than you at so much stuff! so much better than you, oh my god

On the internet I heard a story about a young girl who attended her local church. She sat right up front so she could see the signer who was there every week to interpret just for her. One week after church an elderly woman from the church stopped to speak to her. The interpreter quickly interpreted the woman’s words, “Don’t worry dear, one day you will be in heaven and you will be able to hear as well as the rest of us.”

The child quickly responded, her signs flying through the air, the interpreter spoke the words to the old woman…

“If it’s heaven – God will sign.”

Amen, Sister!

—  Dave Hingsburger, A Little Behind: Articles for Challenge, Change, and Catching Up
Physical handicaps are made the emblems of evil… . Giving disabilities to villainous characters reflects and reinforces, albeit in exaggerated fashion, three common prejudices against handicapped people: disability is a punishment for evil; disabled people are embittered by their “fate”; disabled people resent the nondisabled and would, if they could, destroy them. In historic and contemporary social fact, it is, of course, nondisabled people who have at times endeavored to destroy people with disabilities. As with popular portrayals of other minorities, the unacknowledged hostile fantasies of the stigmatizers are transferred to the stigmatized.
—  Death, Disability, and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond
"Attention seeking behaviors"

Autistic people and other people with cognitive disabilities are often interpreted as doing things for attention, whether or not that explanation is plausible.

For example:

  • Alice is autistic. She flaps her hands.
  • Hand flapping is part of Alice’s body language. She moves her hands to express a large range of thoughts and feelings, just like some people move their facial muscles to express a broad range of thoughts and feelings
  • Alice also sometimes flaps her hands to calm down when she is overloaded
  • Bernice is a behaviorist. She is distressed about the fact that Alice flaps her hands.
  • Whenever Alice flaps her hands, Bernice stares at her, and pays intense attention to the fact that she is flapping her hands
  • Bernice notices that every time Alice flaps her hands, Bernice pays attention to her
  • Bernice concludes that her attention is reinforcing Alice’s flapping behavior
  • Bernice concludes that Alice’s hand flapping is an attention-seeking behavior
  • Bernice puts Alice on a behavior plan based on ignoring her whenever she flaps her hands

Behaviorists and others make this mistake a lot. They very, very frequently assume that the fact that they are paying attention to something means that it is being done to get their attention. It doesn’t. It just means they’re paying attention.

Starting at someone whenever they do something doesn’t mean that they’re doing it because they like being stared at. It just means that you’re staring at them.

tl;dr Stop calling everything attention seeking behavior. The fact that you’re paying attention to something doesn’t mean that someone is doing it because they want your attention. Not everything a person who has a developmental disability does is about you.

7 Must-Read Articles on Diversity Within the Publishing

In the fall of 2015, Mira Jacob wrote a piece for BuzzFeed about a speech on diversity that she attempted to deliver at a publishing industry party, to which no one listened. For a person in publishing it’s a gut-wrenchingly shameful read. And I found it all the more so because, if I worked in New York rather than in San Francisco, I’d have been at the party in question. I like to imagine that, had I in fact been there, I’d have been among the “very small ring of people” who paid attention to Jacob’s speech—but would I really? Can I be sure?

In early 2016, the results of the first-ever industry wide Diversity Baseline Survey were released, and the numbers were just as bad as we’d all feared they would be. Publishing as a whole is 79% white. Given that fact, it’s hardly surprising that books and authors are not nearly as diverse as they ought to be either. Many people in publishing care deeply about these issues and want to fix the problem, but—despite some great efforts, particularly in children’s publishing, and amplified by organizations like We Need Diverse Books—the industry as a whole continues to struggle to change.

Here at Chronicle Books, there are a number of initiatives around this topic, but meaningful change takes time. As with any social action, it’s important to divide your energy between long-term, big-picture endeavors, and smaller-scale projects that can be implemented quickly. One such smaller project I’ve been working on for the past year and a half or so is creating and maintaining a library of articles on topics related to diversity issues, and sending out a monthly newsletter of recent articles of note. Drawn from that library, here are a few of the key moments in the ongoing conversation about diversity in the publishing industry, from the tail end of 2015 through 2016. Already this year the conversation has continued to evolve, so perhaps I’ll come back here with another installment soon. For now, read on.

1. I Gave a Speech About Race to the Publishing Industry and No One Heard Me

BuzzFeed, September 17, 2015

Author Mira Jacob discusses how she gave a speech on what it means to be a writer of color at the Publisher’s Weekly Star Watch 2015 party, and very few people listened. Then, she shares the text of her speech in full, detailing her experiences with the insidious nature of discrimination.

2. Equity in Publishing: What Should Editors Be Doing

PEN America, October 14, 2015

A round-table discussion including various editors, a number of of whom work on poetry and literary journals, discussing their editorial responsibility with regards to white privilege and creating a larger, more inclusive space for writers of color in the publishing industry. An extensive resources section at the end links to a number of other useful articles.

3. AAP, UNCF Partner on Internship Program

Shelf Awareness, January 15, 2016

The Association of American Publishers is partnering with the United Negro College Fund to create a paid summer internship program, intended to place African American students from historically Black colleges and universities at a number of industry-leading publishing companies. The positions range across of departments, including editorial, marketing, publicity, and sales.

4. First Diversity Baseline Survey Illustrates How Much Publishing Lacks Diversity

Forbes, January 26, 2016

This article details the results of the first-ever Diversity Baseline Survey of the publishing industry, conducted across numerous companies in 2015 and intended to capture a demographic snapshot of current staffing. The data confirms a lack of diversity, with the industry as a whole being: 79% white, 78% female, 88% straight, and 92% nondisabled.

5. Why Publishing Is So White

Publisher’s Weekly, March 11, 2016

In response to the results of the Diversity Baseline Survey (see above), this article examines hiring practices across the publishing industry to ascertain what factors create and maintain the lack of diversity. It concludes that while publishers do care about diversity, they are not yet taking effective steps to bring about lasting change.

6. Diversity In Book Publishing Isn’t Just About Writers – Marketing Matters Too

NPR Code Switch, August 9, 2016

Discussions of diversity in book publishing tend to focus on the demographics of authors and/or editorial staff, but it’s also important to talk about the impact of marketing. Marketers need to be able to make people care about books written by minorities, which comes with its own special challenges and skill-sets.

7. The Uncomfortable Truth about Children’s Books

Mother Jones, Oct/Sept 2016

An in-depth look at the lack of protagonists of color in kid’s books. The writer concludes that the questions roiling children’s publishing are among the pressing cultural questions of our time: Whose story gets told, and who gets to tell it? How do you acknowledge oppression without being defined by it? And to what extent should writers bow to popular opinion?

anonymous asked:

Hi!! Please can you explain performative allyship for me please? Googling hasn't helped much...

Hey! There are actually a lot of solid resources on what performative allyship is along with good examples of what it looks like in action on the web if you search “performative allyship,” but: 

Performative allyship basically refers to any type of “allyship” (demonstrating support for a marginalized group) that prioritizes the emotions and work of the ally. It describes an action that is purportedly about marginalized people, but actually ends up being more about the ally and them feeling good about themselves/looking good to others. 

It’s the kind of action that screams “Look at me! I’m good! I’m not like them! I deserve a reward and all of your gratitude for just being here! I’m so great!” 

Performative allyship is basically about posturing, about naming yourself as An Ally ™ but not doing the real work, the dirty, ugly, background, unspectacular, unrewarded work that has to back that up. 

I personally think that the entire process of naming yourself as an ally is wildly performative and dangerous. So much harm has done by people claiming to be allies who were actually prioritizing their own ideas of decency and success and solutions onto issues they didn’t fully understand. 

It’s also really commonly used to ignore critiques and call-outs of your own behavior. ‘I can’t be homophobic — I’m an ally!” But taking lots of photos of yourself with a piece of tape with ‘NO H8′ written on it over your mouth doesn’t mean you can’t and don’t embody and enact heterosexism and homophobia, It generally just means you’ve got a lot of self-satisfaction and complacency about the “work” you’ve done, like you’re excused from further efforts because you put in the time. 

So I just… don’t have the patience for people who message me like “I’m able-bodied, but I really care about supporting disabled people. In fact, I went to the prom with a handicapped [sic]” like what the fuck do you want me to say to that? What are you hoping to accomplish besides getting a pat on the back? What’s your goal when you say very loudly that you would have taken in “victims of the Holocaust” but you do nothing to support people marginalized and threatened right now and you ignore the continued anti-Semitism in our world? Or when you reblog the selfies of (thin, white, nondisabled, conventionally attractive) trans people on TDOV with tags like “queen” and “celestial being of light,” “a goddess,” etc. but you do nothing to address, like, workplace discrimination and medical maltreatment of trans people? 

That’s performative allyship — showing everyone what a great ally you are at the cost of amplifying the voices of people in need and doing the ugly, unfabulous work behind the scenes. Like I don’t think “ally” is a label you can call yourself. Allyship is something you gotta do, not something you can just be without effort and intention. 

“Choosing to be disabled”

Ableists often believe that “choosing to be disabled” is a major social problem. They aggressively believe that most disabilities aren’t real, and that people could stop being disabled if they’d just make better choices. They think most disabled people are fakers who just stay disabled out of laziness.

They may see accessibility and accommodations as “enabling”, and try to get them taken away. Or, they may try to force people into treatment (whether or not safe and effective treatment actually exists.) Or they may just be mean and hostile towards disabled people they encounter. Or any number of other things. This hurts all disabled people badly.

People with disabilities often feel like they have to prove that they are not faking, and that their disability isn’t a choice. This can lead us to worry a lot about whether we’re somehow doing this on purpose. In this state of mind, it’s really easy to find things that feel like evidence that we’re fake.

Disability usually involves tradeoffs. We can’t choose to have all of the same abilities as nondisabled people, but we often can make some choices about which abilities to prioritize. This can superficially look like “choosing to be disabled” if you don’t understand how disability works.
For instance:

Medications:

  • All medications have side effects
  • Managing the condition and the side effects can involve complicated tradeoffs
  • There is usually more than one option
  • It can often be a choice of what abilities you prioritize most, and which impairments are most tolerable
  • You may be able to choose to make any particular impairment go away
  • That doesn’t mean you could choose to be unimpaired
  • Ableists will think you are faking no matter which choices you make. They are wrong.

Mobility equipment:

  • People with mobility impairments often have more than one option, and there can be complex tradeoffs. 
  • Eg, which is more important to someone?
  • Being able to go further without fatigue (in a power chair) or being able to ride in a regular car (with a collapsable wheelchair)?
  • Being able to travel a mile on the sidewalk (in a wheelchair), or being able to use all of the subway stops (by walking)?
  • Being able to get into inaccessible buildings (by walking), or being able to go out without being in pain (in a wheelchair)?
  • Retaining the ability to walk (by spending a lot of time doing physical therapy) or being able to take a full course load in college (by spending that time on studying and losing the ability to walk)?
  • No matter which choice you make, ableists who don’t understand disability will see it as “choosing to be disabled”. They are wrong.

There are any number of other examples, for every type of disability. This affects every kind of disability, including physical, sensory, cognitive, psychiatric, chronic illness, and the categories I forgot to mention.

Tl;dr We all have to make choices about how to manage our disabilities, and there are often complicated tradeoffs. No matter which choices we make, ableists will think we’re making the wrong ones. No matter which choices we make, ableists will think that we are faking.

In the face of this kind of hostility, it is easy to start doubting ourselves and believing that we’re fake and terrible. It helps to remember that the ableists don’t know what they are talking about (even if they are disabled themselves). Making choices about how to manage disability is just part of life. The ableists are not experts in how you should be living you life; they are wrong and they are mean.

In light of everything going on...

Could people, anyone capable of doing so, please do something every single time you see someone describe ableism as being about a list of words you are supposed to say and a list of words you’re not supposed to say?

Ableism is about going to a hospital and getting told by doctors that you’d be better off going home and dying than getting a feeding tube.

Ableism is about going to get SSI and getting told that if you can blog (or do some other random thing that is not gainful employment and will never be), you can work for gainful employment.

Ableism is about your own family believing you’re lazy or exaggerating or faking because you don’t seem like their idea of what a disabled person is (young white guy in a wheelchair from paraplegia, usually – who are actually usually among the more privileged and able to work of disabled people, not that they have it easy by any means, especially since able to work doesn’t mean able to get hired in an ableist workforce).

Ableism is about valuing people based on what we can do, rather than valuing people because we exist.

Ableism is about drawing a line past which people don’t count as disabled anymore, they just count as not even people, and not worth protecting.

Ableism is about there being entire books where people think it’s legitimate to debate whether people with intellectual or other cognitive or developmental disabilities (those are three totally different but overlapping categories, just so you’re aware) count as persons or not.  Both “philosophically” and under law.  Google Peter Singer if you don’t believe me (he also doesn’t think newborns are persons, but everyone loves him because he supports animal rights – by bringing down disabled human beings in the process, and everyone knows – because of ableism, of course – that disabled human beings don’t matter anyway, not as much as animals).

Ableism is not – at least not mostly – about whether ‘stupid’ is a slur.  It’s just not.  And it infuriates me both when disabled people treat it primarily that way, and when nondisabled people treat it primarily that way.  

Because when you do a serious discussion of racism, and then classism, and then sexism, and transphobia, and transmisogyny, and homophobia, and biphobia, and every other kind of oppression you can think of, large and small, and you give them in-depth coverage… and then you come to ableism.  And it’s always last.  And it’s always a footnote to all the other kinds of oppression.  And the footnote always reads “And ableism… don’t say stupid, or idiot, instead, say these other words that don’t actually form an adequate replacement for those first words at all.”  

Which diminishes the understanding of the power of actual ableist slurs such as retard (hint: a slur carries with it as part of the meaning, that the person being described by the slur is not a real person – an insult like ‘stupid’ can be used in an ableist or non-ableist way but is not necessarily a slur even when it’s ableist). And it also diminishes the understanding of what ableism actually is, by not taking seriously the fact that ableism kills people.  

And even this act of always putting ableism last, always treating it as less serious or possibly not even a real ism at all (possibly “political correctness gone amok”, possibly “(eyeroll) yet another group of people wanting to claim they’re oppressed and really stealing the idea of oppression from real oppressed people like people of color and taking their ideas and successes without crediting them at all”, however it’s phrased… that is one of the worst things about ableism in circles that claim to want to deal with oppression in all its forms.  Because it basically throws us to the wolves while claiming there are no wolves to throw us to and that we aren’t really dying in huge numbers everywhere and so forth.  There are ways in which ableism becomes worse, more deadly, because of being diminished in this way by all the “serious” anti-oppression people.

So – I don’t care if you call what you do social justice or anti-oppression or anything else.  I don’t care if you’re part of those circles or not.  I don’t care if you use ideas from those circles or not.  I just don’t care.  All I care about is that you take ableism seriously and that you take the danger disabled people are in right now seriously and part of taking it seriously is making sure that people understand it’s not about what words are politically correct or politically incorrect at this particular moment in time when it comes to disability.  

Because disabled people are often the first to die – or among the first – in situations like this. And this is not an accident.  It is because the people with power know that a lot of people don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to us, whether on the right or on the left.  It’s because they know that you don’t take our oppression seriously.  It’s because they know that our deaths will be considered inevitable.  Have you ever considered it inevitable that disabled people and old people end up in nursing homes, group homes, developmental centers, psych wards, and other institutional settings? – sad, maybe, tragic even, but inevitable consequences of disability?  Because that’s the same kind of thinking that makes our deaths inevitable.  (By the way, nursing homes are the cause of death for a lot of us, but our disability gets blamed instead and this is all normalized so much you probably can’t even see it.)  Have you ever considered it inevitable that disabled people contemplate suicide, and never thought it might be the result of the same forces that cause other oppressed people to contemplate suicide?  Have you ever responded almost reflexively to disabled people’s suicidal thoughts by saying that we ought to have the right to kill ourselves easily and painlessly (when you’d never say the same of, say, queer teenagers), without even thinking that maybe most of the time we’re suicidal for the same reason queer teenagers often are?  Have you ever thought that when we don’t get SSI and die on the streets, that’s just…. unfortunate but sort of inevitable?  That basically our deaths however and whenever they happen are unfortunate but inevitable consequences of being disabled, and you’ve never even thought of the way ableism plays both into our deaths themselves and into your own thoughts about them?

Because that’s why you need to get people to take ableism seriously immediately.  And that’s why I’ve always been infuriated by people not taking ableism seriously.  Because I’ve been that person in that hospital room being told by doctors that I would do better off to go home and die of a totally preventable pneumonia or starvation, rather than get the combination of feeding tubes that would prevent both?  

Oh and by the way – don’t quote me statistics about aspiration pneumonia and feeding tubes unless you know my exact disability, the exact cause of the aspiration pneumonia, and the exact configuration and type of feeding tubes I use and exactly how I use them.  I know that as a general rule feeding tubes don’t prevent aspiration and may even cause it, but in my particular circumstances that doesn’t apply.  There are dozens of reasons for feeding tubes, dozens of types of feeding tubes, and if you don’t understand all of this in-depth you have no basis for commenting.  I went from getting aspiration pneumonia seven times in the first few months of a year, to getting it once or twice a year at most, instantly, with the right combination of feeding tubes.  And I gained back roughly half of the 75 pounds I’d lost rapidly as a result of my stomach disorder.  

And I’m happy, and I’m fucking alive, which is more than I expected by now.  I didn’t expect to hit 34 or 35, and I’m now 36.  I might even eventually hit old age at this point, who knows.  But however long I lived, I deserved a chance to be alive.  And it took a lot of people calling the hospital and demanding I get treated right, to even get the feeding tube.  They couldn’t deny it to me – because I needed it – so they just tried every trick they knew to talk me out of agreeing to it.  After tumblr and other places resulted in enough phone calls to the hospital, I got my tube the next day, although my problems with ableism in that hospital were and remain far from over and the circumstances of getting the tube and the aftermath were something out of a nightmare scenario.  Not because they had to be, but because they could get away with it, because ableism is everywhere and practically unacknowledged by just about everyone, including especially the people who supposedly care the most about disabled people (family, caregivers, “helping professionals”, anti-oppression people, etc).

Anyway, this has gotten into a long enough rant I’ll be surprised if you could read this far – I probably couldn’t (I write better than I read). But hopefully you get the message.  Right now is a time when disabled Americans, especially those of us facing other forms of oppression (ever try to get proper medical care as a queer, genderless and visibly gender-atypical, poor person with developmental disabilities? …yeah) need people fighting ableism more than ever.  And that doesn’t mean tacking up a list of words that everyone can say instead of ‘stupid’.  And treating it like it does, is part of the problem that leads to us dying in circumstances like these.

The only people applauded and privileged for being sexual are white cishet nondisabled men. People aren’t expected to be sexual, they’re expected to be heterosexual. And the “sex” part of sexualities means gender you homophobes, it has nothing to do with sex

PSA: Disability is NOT A Bad Word.

Over the last few years, I have been exposed to what I will refer to as a disability language ping-pong tournament. Cripple, ret*****, person with disabilities, disabled are just a few of the terms a person may use to describe oneself or those around them. I’m going to be straight with all of you: I’ve called myself disabled since I’ll estimate,  5th grade. I  never really thought about much, I just knew my body didn’t work like a lot of other kids’ bodies and I needed a lot more help than they did. What I DID NOT know was that many, many many, years later I’d get questioned for my choice and told by various people how wrong it was. Well, I’ve come to realize that my linguistic preference are not the problem: the PC attitudes and the I-as-a nondisabled person-know-more than-you mentality is the issue at hand.


My disabilities are intrinsically attached to me. Linguistically, I don’t say “Hi I’m cerebral palsy and I have Emily.” No that would be the other way around. Same goes for my psychiatric disabilities. So what all these thoughts basically boil down to is: If Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com can define disability and use it properly so can nondisabled populaces. Leave your differently abled bullshit at the door along with your attitude that the disabled are dolls to melded for your pleasure.

pricklyest  asked:

if I only ever read one issue of daredevil which one should it be

Daredevil (2011) #7, no doubt! 

[Image: the cover of issue 7. Matt, in full Daredevil costume, is lying on the top of a snow-covered water tower. He’s grinning and making snow angels.]

It’s a really soft and fluffy solo issue that doesn’t require knowledge of the rest of the series or Daredevil history, and it won the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue. It’s also very funny in places (it’s the issue with the “I’m Not Daredevil” sweater).  

[Image: Daredevil panel. Matt stands, arms outstretched, grinning. He shouts, “Happy holidays, people!” He wears a sweater that reads “I’m Not Daredevil” and a little devil horns headband. In one hand he holds a white and red striped crooked cane that looks like a candy cane, with mistletoe on the end. Foggy is in the background, looking sad and wearing an antler headband.]

In it, Matt takes a group of children from the Cresskill School for the Blind on a field trip, but their bus crashes, leaving Matt and the kids alone and lost in the snow in the Catskills. Matt is really good with kids, canonically, and this issue has a bunch of moments that just like… make my heart hurt with it. 

[Image: Daredevil panel. Matt, in his Daredevil costume, with torn clothes over it, kneels in front of a little girl, who is crying. Matt puts a hand comfortingly on her shoulder. “Sydney? What is it, honey?”]

Rather than being exclusively a narrative about, like, a supercrip (who therefore takes on the role of a nondisabled person) rescuing regular crip kids (symbolizing and infantilizing disabled people generally), it’s actually a story about, like, uniting under stress, and using the skills and knowledge that you have, and disabled people working together.

Not only is it really cute and sweet but it also (at least somewhat) contradicts this narrative of disabled weakness/helplessness in crisis, and it shows the amazing things Daredevil could be as a series if Matt could just… interact with and work with and be supported by other disabled people. Like 90% of what I want in my life is for Matt to have disabled friends, honestly, and Matt mentoring disabled kids is pretty damn great too. 

Like, this in the context of Matt being “the man without fear”: 

[Image: Matt, wearing a sweater that reads “I’m Not Daredevil,” swirls a glass of wine. He says, “Getting them out of their comfort zone for a day or two gives them a chance to experience new things and find out it won’t hurt them.]

The issue is written by Mark Waid, who did the rest of that run, and has art by Paolo Rivera. Rivera is really good at working with Matt’s cane, and this issue also includes a bunch of other blind/low vision kids who use different styles of canes and tech. It’s just generally like a warm and soft issue and I care about it a lot. 

[image: Daredevil panel. Syndney, one of the Cresskill kids, sits on a high countertop, legs over the edge. She holds a steaming cup of soup, Matt’s long white guide cane leaning against the counter next to her.]

i fully understand the urge to justify accessibility elements with their value to nondisabled people, but i think it’s important for us to think long and hard about why that’s happening

yes, sign languages are valuable for communicating when you have to be quiet. yes, image descriptions are useful when you have a computer that loads slowly. yes, captioning is nice when you can’t play the sound on a video because you’re in a quiet space. but i honestly don’t give a shit

those things are awesome, that’s great, but that’s not their main purpose. and if you have to justify making the spaces you’re in more accessible to disabled people on the grounds that it also might in some situations possibly be useful to some nondisabled people, you need to seriously examine the way you’re considering accessibility and disability and the value and insight of disabled people

you need to consider why “some nondisabled people might be convenienced by this” is a better reason for you to do something than “this does the base-level amount of work required to let disabled people into a space at all.”

Disabled day of mourning. WE EXIST.

Disabled lives are as important as nondisabled lives.

The people who murder us get off too easy.

The lack of resources get blamed instead of the people who kill us.

Our murderers’ actions are “understandable” because we’re such “burdens”.

We deserve justice as much as able-bodied people who get murdered.

Our disabilities are not tragic, our senseless and ignored deaths are the tragedy.

Stop murdering us.

Stop apologizing for our murderers.

Stop ignoring our voices.

WE EXIST.

Disabled bodies are commonly treated as public property. They are not. Part of being treated like anyone else is being treated with respect and courtesy, and awareness of autonomy. It’s not that disabled people don’t want help and should be ignored at all times. It’s that they, like the rest of society, may sometimes appreciate help when it is offered, and may at other times be cool and not in need of assistance even if an onlooker thinks otherwise. And help, for people who have been disempowered, disenfranchised, and abused by society both historically and now, is a loaded proposition — how would you feel if you were pursued by a flock of people trying to ‘help’ just because you happen to be nondisabled and out in public alone, which is an awfully brave thing to do, really, and are you sure I can’t just take that for you, oh no, I know you probably have it but I’m right here and it’s no trouble, really, here, just let me — no — I’ve got it — oh, I’m sorry, did I break your eggs?
How to Talk to Anyone (for at least a few minutes)

So there’s this post going around tumblr  that says,

you know those people that can literally carry on a conversation with anyone are amazing like wow how do you do that

And while I know this is one of these tumblr rhetorical questions, I bet a lot of people would like to know the answer.

I travel a lot and spend a lot of my time talking to people at hostels, people I’ve never met before and might not ever meet again. I find that people are generally at their best when they’re talking about something that they love. The trick is to find out what they love and get them to start talking about it.

Look at small talk as the time to cast about for something to actually talk about. Most people drop hints, either consciously or unconsciously, about what they *actually* want to talk about. You should listen carefully so that you can take advantage of an opportunity.

For example: Imagine you say to someone, “Gosh, this weather is just out of control. I didn’t know it even could snow this much!” And the person responds, “I know! I can’t wait for the spring to come so that my flowers will grow.” You can answer, “Oh, do you garden?” If the person really does garden, s/he will probably like to talk about it.

Or maybe the person responds to the same prompt, “It’s awful! I had to dig the car out for hours before I could run out for an ingredient I needed.” You can reply, “Oh, do you like to cook?” Even if they don’t like to cook, the story about why they had to run out for an ingredient might be interesting. The point is, you get away from talking about the weather and get on to talking about ANYTHING else.

Even if they don’t give you that specific of an opening, you can still use a similar principle. If you say, “It’s so cold out! I can’t believe it!” And the person says, “I know! I can’t wait for spring.” You can respond, “Do you have plans to do anything special once the weather warms up?”

I know these examples are really cheesy, but I’m just trying to get across the idea that it’s often easy (or at least, easier) to get people talking as long as you ask them about things that they like. So if you’re stuck in a situation where you have to socialize with people you don’t know well, that’s one way to do it. The drawbacks are that you might end up in a conversation that doesn’t excite you all that much, but as I said, people are often at their best when they talk about what they love, so you might enjoy the conversation even if it’s not about something that *you* love. And it’s likely that later on the person will remember you as someone who was nice and easy to talk to.

Hope that helps!

anonymous asked:

I am sO here for autistic matt murdock!!!!

Matt Murdock is an autistic, manic-depressive, disabled superhero with sensory processing disorder and i will fight the Whole World About All Of It 

some facts tho, like, canon facts gathered from comics and show: 

  • matt murdock sleeps under a thick heavy blanket 
  • matt murdock sleeps with silk sheets because “cotton feels like sandpaper on [his] skin” 
  • matt murdock is generally very sensitive to texture and feel of clothing and fabric and can’t life comfortably in ones that are Wrong
  • matt murdock is very sensitive to taste and texture of food and can’t comfortably eat things that are Wrong (oysters) 
  • “What I wasn’t taking into account was maybe my greatest weakness: sensory overload.” 
  • in fact let me just quote that whole section 
  • “For me, it’s not just about warmer weather or navigating traffic. Because of my hypersenses, everything out here is new to me. But the human brain, no matter how smart, can only process so much data at any given time. The more there is to learn, the more difficult it is to maintain your normal level of concentration.” –matt on the difficulties of moving to a new city 
  • incidentally i’m like 900% sure this is a big piece of why matt continues to use a cane even after his identity is revealed (so that he doesn’t have to devote so much of his energy and concentration to orientation and mobility)
  • matt murdock gets sound and smell sensitive migraines 
  • matt murdock hates crowds 
  • matt murdock has frequently gone manic in response to traumatic events in his life and has stayed manic for months on end
  • matt murdock is known to both himself and his friends as someone who struggles with severe depressive episodes and self-destructive behavior 
  • matt murdock literally word-for-word canonically describes himself as having depression. he uses the word depression to describe his experiences. i’m not gonna put the panels in here because they stress me out. 
  • matt murdock (on the show) is a massive fidgeter. he fidgets extensively with the handle of his cane and continues to make those same gestures even when he’s not holding the cane 
  • matt murdock (on the show) uses a script to describe difficult situations, even if that script is not 100% appropriate for the situation (he uses the same script of “world on fire” to describe his supersenses to both foggy and claire, even though it’s not suited to foggy; consistently says “i’m blind” as an excuse for superhero behavior things even though it doesn’t fit the scenario- although lbr nondisabled people are so awkward about disability he probably does this because it works 99% of the time. still a script tho)
  • fisk on the show is So autistic-coded that many many of the things that are like “you’re like me, daredevil” that fisk says/does/the parallels between fisk and matt are actually autistic-coded things
  • when in college, matt wears huge ear protectors and a dust mask to sleep in to mitigate the sensory input of trying to sleep in a room shared with another living person (who is the ever-loud, ever-smelly foggy nelson)
  • matt murdock has super extreme empathy levels for the people in hell’s kitchen, but only hell’s kitchen- which helps to explain why he’s pretty chill with crime as long as it happens outside his neighborhood
  • matt murdock develops extremely close, strong connections with a very limited number of people
  • even though matt murdock cares So Deeply about the people in his life, he is truly terrible at spoken, neurotypical communication
  • matt murdock’s emotionality is Off given his circumstances and the traditional/typical neurotypical response to those situations. foggy comments on this when matt is happy-go-lucky after tragedy, and he’s so known for it that they literally call him the man without fear (it’s not that matt has no fear- it’s that matt presents fear differently, responds to fear differently)
  • matt murdock has developed specific coping mechanisms and behaviors to respond to certain sensory input:
  • “Three-hundred-some pulse rates just doubled. I can’t unhear them, so I use one of my mental exercises. I picture all those hearts as instruments in a giant orchestra.” 

it’s kind of hard to make distinctions between the things matt does because he’s blind (textured suits, specifically organized desk, routines, etc) and things that he does specifically because he’s neurodivergent, and i know folks are going to challenge me on that, because how dare i headcanon a character as autistic. especially how dare i claim a character can be disabled and also mentally ill and neurodivergent

 but i think this difficulty of distinction makes sense, a) because supersenses, and who says that supersenses can’t also be described as sensory processing disorder and in terms of neurodivergence and b) intersectionality of experience; because guess what people can be autistic and blind and you can’t always separate out specific elements of why people respond to their world in certain ways because brains are fucking complicated

inspirational disabled person … our most glorified disabled role models, lavishly lauded in the press and on television … [a] model deeply moving to most nondisabled Americans and widely regarded as oppressive by most disabled ones
—  Death, Disability, and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond