Tag Archives: pity

Recommended Reading for Wednesday, November 10

I am apparently a month behind as I originally dated this for October. Oh self. If it were October, I wouldn’t be so far behind! Wishful thinking?

Captain Kitt at A Gentle Nerd of Leisure: Our Mental Health System? More Mental than Healthy! (Note this post also includes discussion of eating disorders, self harm, and sexual assault but mostly focuses on experiences within the Australian mental health system) (via vass)

Thing is, often those services are really hard to access! I’m great with search engines – thanks to a librarian Mother – so it’s easy for me to find where the services are. Actually getting help from them? Not so easy.

Laura Hershey at Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Community: Fairness for Attendants: Enacting Justice in an Unjust World

We can start by acknowledging the profound disconnect between the importance of the work and the compensation it offers. In understanding and analyzing this, we can call upon a radical understanding of how disability justice and worker justice intersect. Providing hands-on personal care has acquired over the years an aura of sentimentality. People are assumed to do such work out of pure compassion (which translates as pity), or because “it’s so rewarding” (rewarding in a vague, emotional, non-material sense). Within this framework, disabled people embody neediness, while support workers cheerfully fulfill our needs. Disabled people are passive objects of support workers’ active “caregiving.”

Elizabeth McClung at Screw Bronze: Aren’t You Proud?

We are, disabled and Able Bodied, all types of bigots, and one of the most supported forms of bigotry is how we encourage each other to give in to our fear of illness, and altered human function and form. Drool, and averting the eyes is ‘doing you a favor’ – haha. Yes, because having everyone glace, look away and then talk about you, because your being alive makes them uncomfortable is helping me? No, helping them. It is no different than spotting who the odd one is in grade school, and somehow, they end up with no friends. They are stared at. They are, as you will well know if you were one, asked, “Why do you keep coming?”, and the idea of invitation to a party, or even having anyone show up at one you host is laughable.

crabigail adams at if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit here by me: i am disabled

of course, this is a fixed income. if i find one day that it’s not enough money to get by, i don’t have any options. i can’t apply for a better-paying job. i can’t further my education in hopes of a professional career & the attendant boost in income. this is it. & there are other caveats as well: if i ever decide to live outside the united states, i lose my disability money altogether. if i ever get legally married, the government will pull the extra money i get from the disabled adult child program & i’m back to just my $525 or so in disability money. i would have to rely on my partner to support me financially, which is a lot to ask of someone, & which is something that makes me very uncomfortable. i’m not sure what the rules are around having assets (ie, if i were to sign a mortgage, even if i wasn’t the sole person responsible for paying down the mortgage). i’m not sure how social service programs i may be eligible for if i were to have a child (ie, WIC) would impact my social security income.

Casekins at If My Hands Could Speak: Martha’s Vineyard – Utopian Society (Caseykins is not Deaf – I’m linking this because the history is very interesting.)

The prospects for deaf people on Martha’s Vineyard were completely different. Many of the former residents of the island were interviewed, and they paint an idyllic picture of what it was like to live in Martha’s Vineyard during this time. Because everyone had a deaf family member, everyone in the community knew sign language. Deaf people were farmers, store clerks, anything they wanted to be. Hearing people would sign to each other over the large expanses the island farms created, a deaf person could walk into a store and the clerk would always know sign. Deaf people were even elected to high political office, becoming mayors and council members for the island, a thing unheard of in the rest of the country. When telling stories about the community, the people who were being interviewed could only remember after much prompting if the people they were talking about were hearing or deaf.

I’m closing comments on this one because I’m hip-deep in alligators (do people still say that?) and I always feel bad when people’s comments sit on Recommended Reading posts for days until someone can look at them.

Open Letter to the Mainstream News Media

Dear Reporter,

Hi, how are you? I am fine.

Okay, that’s a lie. I am not fine.

There’s a certain type of “news” article that drives me up the wall. The “feel good” story about how the poor pathetic cripple, whose life was horrible and bad, has now been SAVED! by something miraculous, by which we mean “something that would be common place if we lived in a world that wasn’t full of disability fail and discrimination” and also “something done by non-disabled people so we can all talk about how Good and Kind they are to the pathetic disabled person”.

Here’s an example: Legally Blind Man Gets First Job

Debbie and Russell Ward spent a whole evening crying in silence when they were told their four-year-old son would never see again.

Fifteen years later, their tears were ones of joy when they saw the look on Bobby’s face as he was told he had landed his first job.

The shy but proud 19-year-old worked his first shift at the new Supa IGA yesterday morning, where he will work in the produce section.

The article [do read the whole thing] describes how Bobby has multiple certifications that would make him qualified for a variety of jobs, but everyone should be Very! Happy! because look! The poor blind boy has a job. Isn’t it so awesome of the “new Supa IGA which opened yesterday morning” get this free publicity – I mean, give this nice young man a job?

The whole article is structured in such a condescending way, too. I mean, all due respect to Bobby’s parents – I still get teary whenever it hits me again that Don may never get his voice back [1. Side effect of the OMG! Cancer surgery. They removed his thyroid, and hurt his vocal cords. They may come back, but every day it seems less likely.], so I totally get the grieving period and how it can be a total blow to find out your life has been drastically changed – the article focuses a lot of attention on their grief, how their life was affected, and what they thought about everything.

Notice, please, that there’s not a single quote from Bobby himself. Just the Nice Sighted People who work so hard for him.

Look, Reporters: I get it. You want to tell a story that makes everyone feel good, and really digging into why Bobby couldn’t get a job he had qualifications for because of his disability wouldn’t really make anyone feel good at all. Prejudice rarely does.

But these sorts of stories fuel people’s pity. “Oh, how sad it must be to be blind! A world of darkness, of dependency, of not being able to drive a car! WOE. I’m so glad I’m not one of THEM. And I don’t know how I’d cope if my child were one of them. Oh, Bobby’s parents are so brave! And that nice man who gave him a job! So Nice!”

You can do better than this, really. I’ve seen you do better than this.

Do better, okay?

Hugs & Kisses,