Recommended Reading for September 21, 2010

Natasha Tracy at Breaking Bipolar: Stop Minimizing Mental Illness: Worst Things To Say

I feel, sometimes, that I am at war with the mentally-well world. This isn’t to say that many of them aren’t lovely or that I have a desire to harm anyone, but I do feel embroiled. And it’s mostly because the well population just doesn’t understand what it is to be unwell. They demonstrate this heartily by repeatedly saying the worst things possible to a person with a mental illness.

The Guardian: Letters: Living on benefits is in no way ‘a lifestyle choice’

It is quite possible for a person from a very rich and privileged background to genuinely care about the plight of the poor, and to do something constructive to improve it (Osborne to cut £4bn more from benefits, 10 September). It is much harder for such a person to have any real comprehension of what it feels like to live in poverty, with little or no prospect of escape, no matter how hard they work.

Michael J. Berens at the Seattle Times: Hundreds of adult homes conceal abuse, neglect [strong trigger warning for content related to abuse]

In fact, a Seattle Times investigation has found, such cover-ups by adult family homes are not unusual. The Times found that over the past five years, at least 357 of the adult family homes in this state have concealed cases of abuse or neglect of their residents. Many of those cases involved serious injury or death. In dozens of these cases, untrained or unlicensed caregivers mishandled residents’ medications, sometimes giving them fatal overdoses. In other cases, residents became ill after being denied basic care and hygiene.

Ally at Every Crooked Step Forward: Courage…And Other Things I Don’t Have

That I am a person with a disability who identifies as asexual is not a forgone conclusion. That I belong to both groups is incidental, and that both groups have been mistakenly thought, by people who are not part of that group, to denote a lack of maturation or inability to understand one’s social or physical development, does not mean I am, in fact, immature, or that I do not know my own body. The fact that I am asexual is not proof about the presence, or lack of a sexual desire in a person with a disability, or zir understanding of zir sexuality, or zir ability to express that desire, if indeed it does exist. The fact that I have a disability is, similarly, not proof that all, or even most, people who identify as asexual suffer from some kind of physical, mental, or chemical deficiency.

Blackamazon at Having Read the Fine Print…….: We’re supposed to be impressed

However

I get less and less likely to feel solidarity with it when THAT phenomena where in your experimentation , goals for what inclusion looks like , and execution are serious matters and the stuff you got it from , the places it came from aren’t even notable .

As well as EVEN less likely to believe it’s just experimentation or poking and prodding when certain aspects of those personae like your race,class, sexuality are seemingly

a) ignored

or

b) only poked in ways that continually exhibit you as a edgy for a member of privileged class or consistent appropriator or chosen vessel.

It’s not my job to tell you haw to do it but if you wish to explore why is THAT section so often missed .

About Annaham

Annaham is a feminist with several disabilities who occasionally updates her personal blog. She currently lives in California's Bay Area with her partner and a silly little dog named Winston. She is currently getting her Master’s in Women and Gender Studies; her research interests include disability and cultural/social attitudes surrounding it, the body, gender, nontraditional media, art of all kinds, and social equity. You can reach her by emailing Annaham at disabledfeminists dot com.

4 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for September 21, 2010

  1. Hmm, that first article is unsettling – although I think the aim is completely laudable, I dislike the way that people with physical disabilities or chronic illnesses are being used as examples:

    “Hey, diabetic, snap out of it.
    Hey, epileptic, I know how you feel.
    Hey, paraplegic, so you can’t use your legs, isn’t that always the case?
    Hey, person with multiple sclerosis, we create our own reality.”

    The author goes on to say that “No one would think that is reasonable”, but that’s an assertion that simply doesn’t match up to what I hear from people with physical illnesses all the time – nor to my own experience.

    I understand that there are different factors at play in the oppressions directed at people with different sorts of disability, but I think the point could have been much better made without using that kind of weak example. I know FWD doesn’t endorse all its links 100%, but this stood out for me as having some issues. I still really enjoyed the collection as a whole, though. 🙂

    (And it shouldn’t matter, of course, but I actually identify as having both physical and mental health problems – an intersectional category notably missing from the analysis.)

  2. fromutopie, I agree; I found the article interesting in addition to being a bit problematic, and that was part of why I decided to include it. The problem, of course, is that so many people DO actually think saying those things is reasonable, as you’ve said. Additionally, a lot of the things that are listed further down the page (ie: “Your pain doesn’t matter”) are commonly said about physical illness as well; personally, I have heard some of these things about both my mental health issues and my physical ones.

  3. I read the first article and I’m totally in. Last year I’ve finished psycology and I saw many cases like this, but what it’s worst, that people who are using those “unpleasant ” words, they don’t want to hurt the others, at least not consciously.
    If we want them to stop, we should answer tham, to put in front of them an imaginative mirror (using words) so that they can feel what people with disabilities can feel.
    We can “educate” them by saying : “Look at you”- or “He/she looks like thins outside, you look like thin inside”..
    Jorjette´s last blog post ..Cum poţi atrage succesul în afaceri utilizând Feng Shui

  4. Aye, being told that our pain doesn’t matter is so, so common. I remember, vividly, being in a special ed class because of my autism and having one of the teachers come up to me and, having expressed emotional pain, tell me that not only was I lying about hurting but that I, as an autistic person, was incapable of truly feeling emotional pain. My pain didn’t matter because, she assumed, my pain wasn’t like her pain. My pain wasn’t something she could identify with. It wasn’t real.

    … although I think if she had thrown off her bigotry she would have realized that I feel pain just like she does.

    Nowadays I sometimes feel that people minimize and ignore my chronic joint pain. It’s not pain they are familiar with. My pain is not like their pain. It’s not something they can identify with. That makes it, in their eyes at least, not real.

    As for minimization: I have yet to come out about my autism without having that person make some comment about how “high-functioning” I am, how there are so many people who are worse off than I am, or (the worst) how it’s “not really affecting your life that much, right?!” Yes, yes it does affect my life. In fact, it affects my life a lot, thank you very much.

    Actually, I have had people who have never made such minimizing comments to me about my autism. It’s no surprise that every single one of them is autistic!

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