Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Simple Words

Smart Ass Cripple explains his "pit crew":
"Those are the people I hire to drag my ass out of bed every day, make my meals, do my laundry, scrub my toilet, wipe my butt, etc."
Best way EVER to explain the role of Home Care Aides / Personal Assistants in the lives of people with disabilities. It's pretty simple, yet for some reason, when I worked at an Independent Living Center, it was one of the hardest things to explain to people unfamiliar with disability issues. I wish I'd known about Smart Ass Cripple then, because "Pit Crew" would have saved a lot of time and awkward groping for words.

"Keep Calm ..."

Keep Calm It's Only A Wheelchair

The "Keep Calm, Carry On" thing is almost played out, but I do like this one. I saw it at Wheelchairproblems, tracked it back to Awesomesauce | c5roller, and found what might be the original at Apparelyzed.

3 Kinds Of Disability News

3 in Ohio accused of enslaving disabled woman, child
Michael Winter, USA Today - June 18, 2013

When I read stories like this, I find it hard to maintain much interest in whether people use the "right" words for disability, or whether all the restaurants are wheelchair accessible. I know all of these issues are important and connected to one another, but maybe it would be useful to think in terms of three main kinds of disability issues or questions:
  1. Dignity, identity, and discrimination.
  2. Polices, economics, and independence.
  3. Life, death, and unspeakable cruelty.
The first category might be termed the "academic" or "theoretical" realm, or the personal category, mostly involving how we see ourselves as people with disabilities, how society sees us, and how these factors add or detract from our lives.

The second group of issues are where disability intersects with more or less traditional politics, plus "bread and butter" issues like money, housing, education, and employment. It also includes issues like physical accessibility, access to technology, and legal rights.

The third type of issue is harder to define, but is the most visceral and … for good or for ill … the most sensational. It's the dark underbelly of society's polite befuddlement about people with disabilities. It's where frat bros yell drive-by insults at wheelchair users, where teenagers … and sometimes adults … bully people who look funny, talk funny, or act funny, and where people with disabilities are literally exploited, mostly because they can be.

It's tempting to say that while the third type of incidents still go on, the first two are unimportant, even trivial. I think they are all important, as long as we keep in mind that they are different kinds of problems … connected, but calling for a different kind of thinking and response.

Late Night Music

My objective has been to keep this blog "on topic" about disability. On the other hand some my favorite on-topic blogs … like Eschaton and Balloon Juice … include off-topic bits and pieces, like cat photos and music clips that I think actually enhance the more serious, topical stuff. So, here we go. I'm going to start by posting my favorite performances from the last four years of the "AV Club Undercover" project. Here's my first favorite from the first year: