liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
May 1st was Blogging Against Disablism Day. I didn't contribute anything, not because I care more about Dreamwidth anniversaries than about disability, but because I didn't have any thing useful to say. Sometimes awareness-raising days just annoy me, because they encourage slacktivism; I don't think it would have done any good if I'd made a post saying "Discrimination against disabled people is bad, mmmmmkay! Reblog this if you're a caring human being who cares about disabled people!" And actually, BADD stands out from the crowd of awareness days because it is run as a really high quality blog-fest with a majority of writing by disabled bloggers, rather than a lot of "yay, cause!" stuff.

I thought the most useful thing I could do as an able-bodied blogger was to read articles and hopefully learn something. It's grown into a really big fest, so there's a lot of material. I've picked out a couple of articles to pass on further, namely:

[livejournal.com profile] diceytillerman: FAT CRIP! about having an "invisible" disability which nevertheless impacts on her appearance and presentation.

Amanda Baggs at Ballastexistenz: Pulling back curtains Not at all a happy fun post, it's about serial killers who specifically prey on disabled victims.

Apparently May is also Mental Health Awareness month, which I only know because I happened to see a post about it (although that was a particularly impressive post), and frankly "awareness" in my corner of the internet doesn't seem to be very high! One could argue about whether mental health really belongs in the same category as disability, but whichever side you come down on, this is very well worth reading: [livejournal.com profile] siderea: Mental health awareness

And I can't omit [personal profile] green_knight's commentary on a horrifying news article about police brutality towards a man with advanced Alzheimer's Disease.

To add a snippet from my personal experience, I recently went on a course led by someone from the counselling services about "managing boundaries". I'm not entirely sure why I did this, because I kind of knew it was going to be too touchy-feely for me, but anyway, it I did pick up some reasonably useful tips about how to say no effectively. At one point the tutor made what I felt was a really off-colour joke about how a particular word was politically incorrect these days because it could be taken as offensive to people with neurological illness, and wasn't it ridiculous that people could be so sensitive about these obviously trivial things! Since I was in a space of practising expressing boundaries, I decided this was a good opportunity to try out my skills, and during the break I had a quiet word with her, pointing out that her "joke" was much more offensive than the term she was referring to, and that if anyone in the group had felt upset or excluded by it, they would likely not have been able to speak up when they were already pre-ridiculed. The tutor claimed she was not joking (although she'd delivered the whole remark through fits of giggles), but expressing her frustration about always having to tread on eggshells and go to impossible lengths to choose non-offensive words. It's like how you can't say "gay" any more because they've taken over the English language and made a perfectly normal word all about sexuality, she explained. So I felt this was not really a win, though she did in fact apologize to the whole group later on for appearing flippant about the topic. But if my experience in requesting more sensitivity was that embarrassing and miserable, I can only begin to imagine what it would have been like for someone actually affected by the condition she was mocking!

The Three Weeks fest officially ended yesterday, though honestly it more petered out than anything else. I had hoped to post more pointers to interesting material and less wedding blablabla, but I didn't quite make it; hopefully this post is at least a step in the right direction. I certainly don't think my wedding is more important than disability rights; in fact it's way way down in the importance scale compared to everything that's going on at the moment, but it is taking up nearly all my time and brainpower. This week was also a really bad time to get into an intense debate about the whole efficient charitable giving thing; I'll come back and make a proper post about that once this life-consuming event is over...

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-16 02:00 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
But yay for saying something to the course woman, even if it was difficult: I think a greater number of small reminders that people might like you to avoid something can be more effective that one or two giant set-tos, even if there's no immediate result.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-16 02:01 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
Wait, is it ok to use "gay" to mean "happy, carefree" or not? :) I've very rarely heard that used any more (maybe only twice in my life), and I wouldn't think of that meaning first devoid of context any more, but I automatically understood what it meant.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-16 02:02 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
*hugs* Thank you for good links!

PS. What? Surely someone teaching how to manage boundaries is the last person who should be making jokes about how much people with disabilities suck?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-17 02:00 pm (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
The only time I find having to avoid potentially offensive terms (once I know about them) sucks at all is when I want to offend someone without collateral offence. I just don't get what's supposed to be so hard about it the rest of the time?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-17 04:48 pm (UTC)
atreic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] atreic
I noticed I had a couple of annoying verbal ticks that I didn't like - saying 'that's so lame' and 'I'm such an idiot' - and it was quite hard to get myself out of them (I don't think I've quite managed it yet). Firstly, because habit is habit and breaking it is difficult, and secondarily because many alternative derogatory words also have bad connotations (cf 'I'm such a moron'). So I get while it's worth doing, but I think changing your low-stress default colloquialisms _is_ hard[1], particularly if you didn't realise they were potentially offensive when you first learnt them.

[1] I mean, hard as in 'takes a bit of effort', not hard as in 'compared to many other even harder things'

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-17 09:29 pm (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
Yes, I've mostly substituted non-verbal irritated noises and scatalogical swears... I'm not always successful.

But in a seminar, um.... I probably wouldn't want to be insulting *anyone*, seems unprofessional I guess.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-05-16 02:12 pm (UTC)
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
From: [personal profile] wildeabandon
This week was also a really bad time to get into an intense debate about the whole efficient charitable giving thing;

Sorry! I'll look forward to reading your post when you have time to make it.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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