Thursday, January 23, 2014

Don't Wait, Don't Hide

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"I used to read about  certain countries in Europe after they threw bananas at some black soccer player, and say to myself, "I'll never go there.” But I am a little older now, and I am more confirmed in the fact of this one-shot life. And knowing that this is not a dress rehearsal, and knowing, too, that questions are burning in me, and feeling that my whole purpose here is to observe, I simply don't much care anymore. I am past the age where one can afford to sit around waiting for the world to autoliberate from its various hatreds. And I have had my hatreds too. Like most humans.” -- Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic.
Coates here is writing about no longer letting the possibility of prejudice deter him from exploring and engaging with the world. Mostly he's talking about racial and ethnic prejudice, but his words speak to me as a disabled person, too. If we rely on people to "autoliberate" themselves from ableism before we'll engage with them, we'll have a very long, boring wait. We should definitely speak out about ableism, but we should also try not to hide from it.

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