Today is the “beginning” of Blogging Against Disablism Day 2010. I put beginning in quotes there not just because the day is done in Australia and the West Coast of Canada is still waking up, but because Diary of a Goldfish, who hosts BADD every year, acknowledges that people with disabilities are not necessarily able to post precisely on the date of a blog swarm – that there is inherent disablism in demanding that disabled people write a post on a specific time table.
Every year since I started participating in BADD, I’ve had many people ask me how they – both as currently non-disabled people, and as people with disabilities – can best participate in BADD if they don’t want to, or can’t, write a post, put up a photo, or create a video or podcast. Here is just a short list of suggestions:
Check out the ever-growing list of BADD posts over at Diary of a Goldfish. Even “just” (there’s no just about your time/energy investment!) reading people’s posts and learning about their experiences contributes a lot to BADD. Blogswarms like this are all about raising awareness, and raising your own awareness is just as important. As well, you may find a whole new set of blogs to add to your blog-reading lists. There are so many bloggers with disabilities out there, fighting the good fight against ableism every day.
Comment on some BADD posts. I know that every time I write something and it gets no comments, I feel like I’ve put effort out for nothing. [This is not a demand for more comments for me! I'm just sayin'.] If you have the time/energy to do so, I would really encourage you to leave comments in support of BADD posts. They don’t have to be lengthy: even just “This post was great, thank you for writing it” can make a difference. If you’re up to writing more, go for it! But just leaving words of support can be a big deal.
Tell people about the awesome posts you’ve read. If you have a blog, link your favourite BADD posts so others can check them out – if not today, then over the next few days, or even weeks. Months. They’re not going anywhere, and although we all hope the prejudices against people with disabilities are going to disappear, that’s probably not going anywhere anytime soon, either. There’s nothing saying you have to only link to BADD posts this week. If you’ve got a twitter account, tweet some links to your followers! The hash-tag for BADD seems to be #badd, but I like to also tag my tweets #disability as well. (This is selfish on my part – I follow the #disability tags on twitter.)
Think about dis/ableism in your every-day life. This one is mostly for the non-disabled people, or for people like me – I always need to remind myself to think outside my box of “what disability looks like”. There are huge swaths of my workplace that someone in a wheelchair can’t get in, and I went to a university last week that claimed it was impossible to put floor announcements in their elevators. Many [not all - I've heard very good things about some places, like L'Arche] of the group homes in Canada for people with cognitive impairments are more like prisons than the “home-like” environment they claim to be. The websites for each of the major political parties in Canada are inaccessible to many people with disabilities, and events that are held for “all Canadians” have no captioning, no visual description, and no way for Sign users to participate.
I think BADD is a great opportunity to see just how much is out there about disability on the internet. For disabled people who may be feeling isolated, it’s a great time to see just how many people are out there that struggle with similar issues. For the non-disabled, it’s a great way to start educating yourself about disability issues.
The Blogging Against Disablism 2010 Page will update throughout the day. Here’s just a tiny selection of posts that I’ve had the chance to read, and highly recommend.