9 responses to “Dear Political Left: Enough With the Scooter Hate, Already”

  1. fridawrites

    Thank you. Time for a piece in the Guardian and an American paper? Most scooter users have to pay for them themselves because of the strict guidelines with both Medicare/Medicaid and with insurance–you must be 100% bedridden to get a wheelchair or scooter funded, even though you may not be able to work/get to medical appointments/get necessary errands done otherwise. And few would go through embarrassment willingly, if they didn’t have to, of using one, because people are just mean, everywhere. People are much kinder, though not 100%, when I use my wheelchair than when I have to use my scooter.

    I got several of the Facebook groups shut down when I was on it, discussing hate crimes and discrimination against a minority group (some of them encouraged violence), but apparently they’ve proliferated again.

  2. Ruchama

    That surprises me that you need to be 100% bedridden — my only information came from commercials, really, and I know that I keep seeing commercials showing people who are not bedridden but do have trouble walking long distances, and the commercial promises (with a bunch of fine print) that, if they approve you and Medicare doesn’t, then they’ll pay for the scooter. I would bet that a lot of people have seen those commercials and concluded that pretty much anyone who wants a scooter can get Medicare to pay for one.

  3. PirateFaafy

    “overweight man”

    Would it be possible to rephrase this?

  4. Amanda

    It seems to me to be a nasty combination of ableism, classism, and fat hatred.

    It also baffles me that they can’t see that when there is a causal relationship with fat, it’s usually the other way around. When you have a condition severe enough to restrict your ability to walk around or even to use a manual chair with your legs or arms, you’re not going to get a lot of exercise. I’ve gained 50 pounds since I’ve been ‘bedridden’, and I know lots of people in the same boat.

    Not that this is more “right” than other forms of fat, but when people are always equating your disability and your fat (except backwards), it messes with your body image in interesting ways. Like, I don’t have the option of trying to go with the illusion that lots of exercise would make me thin, because exercise isn’t there. So then I feel guilty about everything I eat, even though I eat “better for you” food than most thin people. And eventually it just rips through you in really awful ways. I try to fight it, of course, but it’s a known fact that when people read something often enough, they begin to believe it’s true on some level, and if you read stuff about people like you that is messed up and distorted, then it works the same way.

    (sarcasm) But that’s okay. Ripping into a disabled fat person’s sense of self-worth is just fine. Because some people want to laugh, and so they have to find someone to laugh at, and hey might as well be me, and their ‘right’ to laugh trumps my attempts to battle self-loathing. (/sarcasm)

    Even more fun as a cognitively disabled person when the assorted hipster ableists start defending themselves by calling people who disgree with them ‘ret#rds’. (headdesk) This just gets worse and worse the more I look at it. Eucch.

    And of course if I were to object to any of this, they’d say I was in a wheelchair and not a scooter so they didn’t mean me. But of course they do mean me. At some point in time I could have gotten a scooter, back when I was using a manual chair and still had the stamina to sit up in the ways a scooter requires. I even had an old used scooter someone donated to me, but the battery was dead so I never used it. But if I had, I’d have been a fat person on a scooter. But the “we don’t mean you” crap is just moving the goalposts. It’s like when they say they don’t mean me when they say ret#rd even though they do mean me, because ret#rd isn’t a diagnosis, it’s a sociological term and it’s one that people apply to me whenever I go outside. And I really seriously doubt they’d fail to rip into a fat person in a powerchair the same way they rip into fat people in scooters. Plus, the “we don’t mean you” stuff makes it sound like people in scooters are in some different class to me, and they aren’t. They’re mostly disabled people too. The difference between them being able to hold all their body parts up for extended periods and me not being able to is negligible and I seriously doubt these hipster ableist types even give a crap about the distinction.

    Another thing that pisses me off is the disabled people siding with the scooter haters. That just smacks to me of either cowardice (“hurt other people so the bullies won’t hurt me”) or else those sorts of disabled people who maintain all their ableism except against people exactly like them. Both of those things piss me off.
    Amanda´s last blog post ..WTFery in the art room

  5. Bruce Triggs

    Good one. It’s always good to critique people you mostly agree with. I figure there’s more hope they’ll listen. Or, you’ll find out if they’re worth working with in the future?

    I’d like to see more about hipster ableism. Certainly more hipsters need to hear about it. Damn, I know some pretty hip disabled people. Sucks when “your own crowd” disses you.

  6. lauredhel

    “overweight man”

    Would it be possible to rephrase this?

    PirateFaafy: I’m sure it would be, but you’d need to ask Bill Maher or his web designers/transcribers. That paragraph is a direct quote from his inaccessible transcription page, here.

  7. Sharon Wachsler

    This was such a good and *necessary* post! I hate seeing the scooter jokes all the time. I think Amanda summed a lot of it up quite nicely.

    I now use a powerchair, but when I was less disabled, I used a scooter, and I am fat. I gained 60 pounds due to my disability, and there’s always the fear people will see you using a scooter or chair as “you use that because you’re fat” (and therefore, lazy and/or not really disabled).

    And how about all the movies, TV shows, and jokes where the scooter user (gasp!) stands up(!!) and walks(!!!), thereby proving that they are just fat, cheating, lazy fakers. I always have a complex if someone sees me put a foot down or get vertical at all who doesn’t know me, because of this ridiculous stereotype that using a chair or scooter must mean (as a neighbor said to me recently): “I thought you couldn’t leave the chair.” (Sarcastic response in my head: Yes, I sleep in it and go to the bathroom in the chair, too.) This happens with wheelchairs, too, but I find it’s a particularly “hip, pop culture” thing to do it as part of scooter hate.

    And yeah, I bought my used scooter out of pocket. As many have said, it was already hard to get power mobility covered by M’care, due to their “four walls” rule of medical need. (i.e., if you can get to the bathroom/bedroom/kitchen, but you can never leave your house, you don’t need assistive equip.) But now, with the legislative “crackdown,” it’s even harder.

    Yes, more on hipster ableism! It is so hard to argue with that and get the point across, cuz, you know, if you have anything serious to say, you’re “lame”! I know “lame” has already been discussed here a lot, but it seems to be a particularly popular word in the hipster vocabulary. And that kind of response, which Mahr epitomizes (too cool to care), seems to be part of the central problem.

  8. Kali

    You know, I’ve had a really weird thing happen since I started using my scooter this summer. It seems like even more people smile and do the ‘aww how cute’ head tilt than I used to get. I mean, I’m a service dog partner, so I see a number of those every day, but it seems to have multiplied since I started using the scooter.

    My scooter is the only ‘inheritence’ that I’ll recieve from my grandmother, because there are a great many of us and it is my mother and her siblings who were named in the will, for what little my grandparents had. I’m the only one who had a real need for the scooter, so when I asked for it, no one objected. And with the recent damage to my knees, I would be in BIG trouble without it!