Wanting to write a blog surrounding disability is one thing, deciding what to specifically write about is another. Why is that? Disability covers the gamete from inspirational super-disabled person over-comer stories to the medical aspect of disability (ummm, this blog won’t cover those).
Also there’s the social/political/cultural aspects of disability that few media venues cover, or when they do cover these topics, most mainstream media do not fully understand or analyze the disabled community’s point of view.
Another aspect of disability is the common day-to-day life of people living with disabilities – not the over-comers – but those who are “treading water” just to keep their nose above water, in a world that doesn’t welcome their differences as an equal life. To some, this may sound like the “pity aspect” of disability, but that’s not the intent. The intent is to show living under oppression becomes “normal”. We (people with disabilities) are so good at adapting to oppression that the people who we work and play with have no idea how we got out of bed, the energy it took to get our attendant to cook breakfast, the argument we had with the insurance company who wants to amputate our leg because we never could walk anyway, instead of paying to determine if we have a blood clot (which can inexpensively be cured with medication ), and the fact that the paratransit was 45 minutes late and we had to ride for an hour and a half on the bus, all this before we get to our job at 9 AM. In spite of our good planning, we’re still 15 minutes late for work and take a scolding from the director. This is not a “bad day” for a disabled person — this is a “normal” day in our life.
Most non-disabled people (including those in the mainstream media) would read the above and feel “pity” because they believe that that’s just the way it is for people who are disabled if they can’t be cured. We know that our life would be less stressful if we had a lift to assist us out of bed, had the right to hire and fire our own attendants, insurance company’s didn’t treat us as a liability but as persons, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was readily enforced. People’s pity will kill us because pity does nothing to foster the willingness to understand living a life with a disability. Pity just widens the gap between the “us’s” and the “them’s”.
Instead, I hope this blog will help bring people together a roll/walk a nanosecond in one another’s cyber space.