1 May 06
Blog Against Disablism Day
Thanks to Diary of a Goldfish for hosting this.
I had a lot of ideas for what to say for this post… to talk about what it was like suddenly to have an injury that required me to navigate the world on crutches, the instant appreciation for the path that is taken not just for two or three months but a lifetime of a lot of people. About how with this same injury, if I had been born in the sixteenth century, it would have become my own lot for a lifetime.
I wanted to talk about my friend Donna who insists that disabled students, if supported, face the same likelihood of success or failure as other students based on their socioeconomic backgrounds. Their disability is not their limiting factor: it’s our ignorance and stupidity.
I wanted to talk about the first time I ever saw a man ski with only one arm. It was in Spain. He was obviously not Spanish. It was a strong contrast to the message of the signs on the metro reserving seats “para mutilados de guerra.” (Not for anyone with a disability, just one acquired on the winning or losing side of a civil war.)
I wanted to enter into a conversation with Jenny and my own relatives who have worked so hard on this issue.
I’m at the end of a day that began yesterday for Jenny and other antipodeans; most bloggers have already said their bit on this. What can I add?
This, I think: owning up to our own disablism is even more unlikely than owning up to our racism, because it’s so plausibly in all our futures. So I’m thankful for everyone who works on this: to stop discriminatory policies, to advocate for equal access to buildings and public transport services, to design better and more ingenious gadgets that seem trivial until you realize that for someone, it can make the difference between browsing the web—this blog, for instance—or having to ask someone to do it for you.