Disabilities

nondy2

New member
There was a discrepancy on my post about my son about whether it is OK to use crippled and so on. Almost no one defended the issue. And regard this as a matter of opinion.

Reading through the Trans thread - someone called referred to a "real woman" versus a trans woman. Other posters jumped to the rescue and chided him. So, I guess it is up to other posters to take up against "perceived prejudices."

Since disability rights in a new movement (30 years) and many people here are abled, but aware of gender issues, I shouldn't expect them to defend the issue.

How does this relate to poly? From what I have read poly folks are very into defending their sexuality, as well as the rights and terminology of people who are cis/pan/etc. However, when it comes to defending the rights or lingo of other groups, this is called personal preference. (A problem with disability for generations, unlike gays, it is regarded a "personal issue" on the person to solve).

I find this hypocritical, but it is the 'norm" and speaks to how mainstream the poly "culture" is in some ways. Being sensitive about one issue and naming another issue a personal problem, I think creates a division between minority groups who are all vying for attention. I saw this in inner-city high school students who were black, but put down Jewish people or Hispanics.

Due to all of this, I have been thinking of doing infactractions just so I get kicked off the board (which I am may anyway!) but I do find some conversations helpful.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I find that issue to be true at the college and in general life as well.
People defend what they are personally aware of-and the rest is a matter of preference.
I don't think being angry helps much.
But-educating others about how their words hurt can.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Oh-and in fact, a lot of it is personal preference.

I got RAILED ON this summer for using the term black (vs african american). Unbeknownst to the person who railed on me-who is a visitor to our community-my group of close friends AND family-include MANY blacks who DO NOT appreciate being called African American because they aren't from Africa, nor were their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc... There ARE other countries where black people come from besides Africa.

So preference does come into play. Some people prefer black, some people prefer African American.
Some people prefer lady, some woman, some (like me) don't give a shit if someone calls me a chick.
I have a lesbian friend who PREFERS dike and that's pissed off other people too-who insist she shouldn't self-identify that way.

It really comes down to asking individuals what THEY wish and as individuals-letting people know when some label bothers us.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
MANY blacks who DO NOT appreciate being called African American because they aren't from Africa, nor were their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc... There ARE other countries where black people come from besides Africa.

Wasn't there some study done where they figured out that the first humans came from Africa? If that be so, then we're ALL "African-American". And African-Asian, African-Australian (going continent-by-continent here), African-European, African-Antartican, African-African, and last but not least, African-South-American (that last one was awkward. Should "South American" be hyphenated or not?). EVERYONE should be referred to with the prefix "African-".

Sorry to hijack the thread so soon. I didn't do it on purpose. Please don't hurt me that much.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
LOL! We did that with our family this summer. My mother in law was the difficult one.
She's from Brazil (South American), now "American" in North America.
That resulted in a "what the fuck does the American in African American mean anyway? Does it mean US citizen (annoys a number of our Canadian friends under that circumstance) or the continent? In which case it isn't clear as to North or South American.
And then

Is the African meaning CONTINENT of Africa or the COUNTRY of Africa. :)

It was quite the cluster-fuck (but fun) conversation.
 

Helo

New member
Oh-and in fact, a lot of it is personal preference.

I got RAILED ON this summer for using the term black (vs african american). Unbeknownst to the person who railed on me-who is a visitor to our community-my group of close friends AND family-include MANY blacks who DO NOT appreciate being called African American because they aren't from Africa, nor were their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc... There ARE other countries where black people come from besides Africa.

So preference does come into play. Some people prefer black, some people prefer African American.
Some people prefer lady, some woman, some (like me) don't give a shit if someone calls me a chick.
I have a lesbian friend who PREFERS dike and that's pissed off other people too-who insist she shouldn't self-identify that way.

It really comes down to asking individuals what THEY wish and as individuals-letting people know when some label bothers us.
This. So much this.

Its largely why I wont get into conversations about race with anybody. People are so diverse about their preferences with labeling and many automatically take anything that isn't their preferred set of adjectives as a direct insult.

You also have to look at the spirit of what something is said in. If someone isn't intentionally trying to be insulting then there's no reason to take gross offense. If its that intolerable, a kind word with someone can go much further than chopping their heads off for a perceived linguistic slight.
 

nondy2

New member
Yeah. I see what you mean. Though in terms of African American issues -- using the word crippled versus disabled it's more akin to calling someone nigger than calling them black or African American. Some people suggest that if you are part of the minority reclaiming a word like cripple, nigger or fag give people who are not part of the minority to use it.

Part of the issue is the educational system. No matter one's prejudice, most kids know who MLK is by 3rd grade, and college is loaded with information on feminism and gender studies (or many are). But disability studies is not taught anywhere.
 

BrigidsDaughter

New member
Nody, disability studies are taught in many universities. Today I took a course on Autism, which counts towards 3 credits for the New York State special education credential. Next week I am taking a course in Managing Challenging Behaviors, again related to various developmental disabilities. As they said in our course today, behaviors are a form of communication.
 

Derbylicious

New member
Yeah. I see what you mean. Though in terms of African American issues -- using the word crippled versus disabled it's more akin to calling someone nigger than calling them black or African American. Some people suggest that if you are part of the minority reclaiming a word like cripple, nigger or fag give people who are not part of the minority to use it.

Part of the issue is the educational system. No matter one's prejudice, most kids know who MLK is by 3rd grade, and college is loaded with information on feminism and gender studies (or many are). But disability studies is not taught anywhere.

You say yourself that disablity studies aren't taught and then in the same breath expect people to know that "cripple" is an insult (when you used it yourself in another thread). Educating us in a pleasant manner will go a lot further than attacking us when we get it wrong. People who are on the defensive tend to shut down and don't hear what you have to say at all.

I also don't quite understand what you hope to accomplish by getting infractions and getting yourself kicked off the board. Getting kicked off isn't going to help people to understand you or where you're coming from at all.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
I also don't quite understand what you hope to accomplish by getting infractions and getting yourself kicked off the board. Getting kicked off isn't going to help people to understand you or where you're coming from at all.

It would certainly affirm a person's persecution complex, though, if there is one to begin with. Not saying anything about any specific individual on this forum, but it has been known to happen, this being the internet and stuff.
 

redpepper

New member
This topic has come up before for some of us here. At least in part anyway. I have chimed in at least 3 times in the last fours years when people have used slang terms that they don't realize some find offensive. Specifically the word "retard" comes to mind. Or better yet, "fuck-tard."

While people have taken offense to my offense there has been nothing more that I can do except say my speel over and over again in the hopes that SOMEONE is moved to change their language or at least consider their audience.

I don't bother so much now as its rather time consuming to go on and on about how people feel when called "fag" or "retard" etc.... *insert hurtful words" and frankly, I get tired. I advocate on behalf of people with developmental and cogantive disabilities every day IRL. Doing it on line also is just too much some times.

I totally get your frustration and lack of patience nondy. However.... getting infractions while those who you are addressing don't, is not going to solve the problem. I think that its best to step away from the computer, plan what you are going to say and then say it in as calm and accepting a manner as possible... you never know who you are affecting. I believe that you are and will make changes by expressing the issue you have in a calm, informed, educated manner. Blowing a stack might also create change, but if you get banned from the forum then you will have done nothing.

I had a PM once from someone that read what I wrote month after I wrote it and thanked me for what I said. She had not thought of the terms I was objecting to as derogative and I had caused her to think. These threads last a very long time. Checking one's attitude and really thinking about what legacy you leave behind is, for me anyway, really important.

I want people to think because of my words, not react negatively because of how I present them. What is it you want nondy?
 

redpepper

New member
How does this relate to poly? From what I have read poly folks are very into defending their sexuality, as well as the rights and terminology of people who are cis/pan/etc. However, when it comes to defending the rights or lingo of other groups, this is called personal preference. (A problem with disability for generations, unlike gays, it is regarded a "personal issue" on the person to solve).

I find this hypocritical, but it is the 'norm" and speaks to how mainstream the poly "culture" is in some ways. Being sensitive about one issue and naming another issue a personal problem, I think creates a division between minority groups who are all vying for attention.
You're right, it is a personal preference which rights one wants to defend and which right one doesn't feel the need to. Should it be like that? I don't know. Is it just like that? You bet it is.

People only defend what they know something about and that comes from experience. If someone has not experienced what it is like to be challenged by a disability then they are less likely to defend it. If they know someone who is they are far more likely to. If they are given information that makes sense to them and hear other people's stories about their experience and how they felt about their experiences then they are far more likely to defend someone also. That is how humans work. We all work like that.

Bridging the divide between minorities takes patience and useful, informative, civil, communication.... People that are poly, gay, trans, disabled, whatever, all have to learn this too. There is no "normal" person out there. Quite the opposite I think. We are all freaks and should be proud of it. Describing how that manifests in the world should be a source of pride not a reason to complain that people don't get us and they are in someway bad or wrong because they aren't defending us when we think they should be. They are just ill-informed or don't care. It shouldn't change our course in life to live and let live. If someone is ill-informed, educate. If they don't care, move on.... That's how I operate any way.
 

Vixtoria

New member
Part of the discussion that is missing is that YOU, OP, used the word crippled. Then you stated you were taking it back so that you could use it, but others couldn't. That's the kind of hypocrisy I don't go for. You rail that no one teaches their kids about people with disabilities, well you know you can't really make people raise their children one way or another. What I'm getting though is I'm supposed to tell my children t hat the word cripple is wrong, except when someone who is disabled uses it. Oh but then what about those with invisible disabilities? Do I stop and ask when they use the word cripple if they are disabled? Is there only certain disabilities allowed to reclaim that word? Or only a percentage? My husband is a disabled veteran, they use percentages, so is it like that? At 20% you are disabled but that's it, at 40% and higher you get monies, education and are allowed to use the word crippled?

The crux of everything seems to be that YOU can not get over how you have been treated so you go looking for people to judge you on things even when they aren't. If all you do is look for something, you are going to find it. Keep looking at how wrong you feel disabled people are treated and you will find it. Meanwhile you are missing how many people don't see disabilities AT ALL. How many people raise their children to not see them. If you wish to live in negativity by all means, have at it. Just don't tell me I'm not doing enough because I didn't stick up for you.

Little side story, I ran a site and had someone show up and berate me. Misogynistic crap that was so horrible it left me shaking. I can't even repeat things he said and honestly it upset everyone, even as it was aimed at me. I finally mentioned to my staff that I didn't understand why no one was sticking up for me. You know what they said? "We know you are a strong person and can handle yourself. You don't need someone rescuing you from every little insult. We figured you are an adult and if you needed help, you would have asked."

It took me back but I realized it was a great compliment. They were trusting me to handle my problems myself AND to be mature enough to ask for help. Instead of berating how the internet allows people to be more violent verbally than usual. If you need someone to stand up for you, then ask. Don't complain because you don't feel it's 'fair' that people don't automatically assume you need to be helped. I'm pretty sure that feeds into the whole prejudice of assuming you are disabled/a woman/whatever you need others to step in FOR you without being asked. Can't have it both ways.
 

nondy2

New member
Fixed the typos!

Thank you all for your wonderful posts.

Actually, what I am trying to speak to is a Movement (and personal to a smaller extent).

Here is the stance of MANY people with disabilities:

When people say things like a person with a disability is "unhealthy" or "having a disability would be my worst nightmare" people from the disability community feel the need to speak up. These are things that the abled-bodied have been saying for many years that PWD are trying to change - for example. people will go up to folks and say"If I were like you, I'd kill myself" or "God bless you." Harriet Mcbryde Johnson explains it a lot better than me in her article with Peter Singer:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/ma...ted=all&src=pm

The disability movement thinks that saying such things (or using crippled or retarded) leads to PWD not getting equal rights - for example, there is no affirmative action for PWD and a 70% unemployment rate. Well into the 1980's PWD were institutionalized and abused in places like Willowbrook http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_sYn8DnlH4


I hope this is clear...I don't want to go on a soapbox. I am just trying to get at where I am coming from seems like a PERSONAL argument when it is in NOT MEANT to be. I also stood up for the person on the Borderline Disorder post because I felt like a person with mental disability was being reduced to symptoms. When I hear ableism, yes, I feel compelled to say something, not so much for myself, but in resistance to a culture that demeans and marginalizes PWD. And PWD are commonly ignored because disability is still considered a 'personal problem." When people tell me that I am taking this too personally, that is what I tend to hear- it's not a social issue, but me just being defensive.

Again, IT IS NOT ABOUT WORDS. It is about rights. Why would you hire someone with a disability to be your lawyer or accountant or accept a child of your own if you think of disabled people as unhealthy or the worse nightmare to be in THEIR body? How can those thoughts lead to equality? How can using "that's retarded" lead to thoughts beliefs that mentally impaired folks deserve an equal life and have just as much a place in society than people with typical mental processes? Perhaps I am wrong - perhaps folks can go around saying fuck-tard and would still view a person with Downs as valid person, not sure.

What the Movement is about is having others view a "disability" as another type of movement or thinking, and not less than or unequal. We are all better at certain things than others. Many PWD think of disability as a social construction -- people are not "disabled' because of their impairment , but because there are not curbs cuts, or equal education and so on. I myself view disabled people as stronger rather than weaker, because it's hard to maneuver a impaired body than a typical one.

However, the personal thing was this, when I tried to defend myself in the other post - it got really nasty. Someone said a insult (a very strong one) directed at me personally with was "against the rules" however, when I made my argument both on the board and in PM, the mods, ect took the side and defended the person who called me a disgrace to humanity LOL. THAT is why I lost my temper.

As far as crippled, we will just have to disagree. Some people think you can reclaim a word, others don't. The folks I work with have a poetics called CRIP POETICS and there are many crip bloggers. It is actually a word I don't use - I used it here to be cheeky and that was a BAD choice. There is much discourse in Disability Studies whether or not one should use Crip...but I don't know of ANY PWD who likes to be called crippled (or retard) by an abled person.

I actually like LAME because it is accurate. I am lame. I walk "funny" and I think it's funny that people don't know what the word means.

Vix, thank you. I understand where you are coming from. Another thing is people with disabilities largely don't want people to not 'see disabilities" they want people to SEE them and give the person validity anyway. My friend who has rickets told me it took her a long time to realize that people saying "I don't even see your disability" is actually an insult... it's like telling a person I don't see you as black.
 
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Rhaenes

New member
Bridging the divide between minorities takes patience and useful, informative, civil, communication.... People that are poly, gay, trans, disabled, whatever, all have to learn this too. There is no "normal" person out there. Quite the opposite I think. We are all freaks and should be proud of it. Describing how that manifests in the world should be a source of pride not a reason to complain that people don't get us and they are in someway bad or wrong because they aren't defending us when we think they should be. They are just ill-informed or don't care. It shouldn't change our course in life to live and let live. If someone is ill-informed, educate. If they don't care, move on.... That's how I operate any way.

Building off the "there is no normal" person statement, and how describing ourselves should be a thing of pride; I try to avoid using terminology in general. Just a personal example is when asked my sexual preferences, I don't like to say "bisexual," but prefer to say "I'm attracted to both sexes." If I was asked about my relationship, I would prefer saying "Sonas is like a sister to me, and BoyF loves her and me, and we're all very happy together" than saying "oh, we're polyamorous" and then having to perhaps explain exactly what that means. Why not skip over the terms and just say what the actual situation is? Terminology only serves to make things the same, when in reality, no situation is the same. Simply describing what things are often works so much better, and I would think (and correct me if I'm wrong, because now I'm completely speculating) that someone who has a permanent leg injury would prefer being described as such than a "cripple" or "lame." Why lump together a diverse group of people with very different ways of functioning under the extremely un-descriptive and insulting title of "mentally ill," when in reality someone with schizophrenia is likely extremely different than someone with autism, and even two people with autism can be completely different from each other? Why is there even a category for those who are "ill..." compared to what, exactly?? Compared to how happy and healthy and whole the majority of people in the world are? Honestly, I've met a lot of people with "disorders" who are in a much better place than "normal" people.

Ok, rant done :rolleyes: Sorry haha, that's just a personal philosophy of mine when it comes to terminology - I'm against it in any way shape or form, frankly, but when it is necessary for me to use it, for the sake of time or clarity, I always try to be a specific as possible!
 

nondy2

New member
I want people to think because of my words, not react negatively because of how I present them. What is it you want nondy?[/QUOTE]

Ultimately, RP, I'd like people (as you have) to acknowledge that this is a political issue of prejudice, not just about one person (me) with a bee in her bonnet. And I think, due to my loss of patience, it came off that way...so that when I attempt to speak up for disabled people, it comes off as someone insulted ME and it's just ME - which is not what I'm shooting for at all.

I'd also (not you RP) but would like the moderators to use some equanimity.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
I only have two things to add:

A friend of mine who uses a wheelchair gets LIVID when someone tells him, "You're so brave! I couldn't do what you do." Regardless of how much the perpetrator meant it as a compliment (and I think they honestly do usually), his mental response (though I don't think he's said it aloud to a perpetrator. Yet.) is basically, "I'm not fucking BRAVE, you half-wit! It's just LIFE! I deal with it because I HAVE TO, because the other option is what, to kill myself? Is that really what you think you'd do?!? Idiotic asshole..." So, while I get that people who say things like that don't intend to be insulting, I also get that it must get REALLY OLD listening to that same thoughtless attitude day after day. Much like I get tired of people assuming that me being pan and/or poly (because I get it for both) means that I'm promiscuous. It's really, really sad that in our society asking people to not assume and to give some basic consideration is seen as such a major undertaking.

And as for "I don't even see your disability", I think that's another case of thoughtlessly mis-speaking. I'll admit that I've used phrases like, "I don't see race" or "I don't see gender". Do I really mean that I don't see it?? No, of course not. I mean that I don't take someone's race or gender into account when I'm determining how I feel about them as a person and if I'm interested in getting to know the person better. Nor do I consider their ability or disability status (or economic status, or...you get my point). Sometimes "not seeing" a disability can make things difficult. I have to remind myself sometimes that I have friends affected by things that I have NO CLUE about, and I can't put the same expectations on them that I would on someone not dealing with that issue. Same goes for my friends and family members dealing with various mental health issues. As I see it, it's on ME to continually keep in mind that what I've learned from personal experience is not necessarily at all like what others have learned from living their lives, and any assumptions I end up making because it's what I know are only my assumptions and don't necessarily mean anything to anyone else. With that in mind, I've stopped using the phrase "I don't see X" because of reactions I've seen that are in no way my goal. I can say what I mean another way, which is something I think many people need to keep in mind. Coming at something (anything, really) with an attitude and a closed mind doesn't help us learn from each other. And if we're not trying to learn from each other why are we even here?? (on this forum or on Earth in general, take your pick)
 

Tonberry

New member
I think the reason people jumped to the defense of trans-women in another thread and might not do the same for disabled people is that being trans is a bit more specific, defined, and trans people are a bit more unanimous in not wanting to be called "not real".

Disabled people I know are all over the place. For instance a relative of mine mentions pretty much daily how lucky I am not to have her disabilities and how she wishes she didn't have them (daily might be exaggerated). One of my close friends, also in a wheelchair, uses his disability to tell everyone that he's the living proof God can't exist (although he never straight out complains about it).

My relative takes offense when it's implied that she's disabled, but does say she is whenever it's practical (I'm not kidding here. She'll ask someone to go get her something from the fridge because she can't do it, and five minutes later goes out to buy cigarettes).

My friend uses the word crippled and says that the word "handicapable" is an insult to anyone's intelligence.

I don't think either of them would have found the sentence in question ("I'm lucky not to be disabled") to be insulting to them. I think both of them would have reacted with "Thanks for understanding, most people can be so cruel" and "No kidding, next thing you'll tell me the sky is blue".

So it's hard to jump to your defense when we don't know that you need defending.

And there are so many different things we call disabilities, with different causes and different symptoms. So it adds to the complexity of the issue. How do we know the way you want to be treated? Well, we know because you tell us. But in that other thread, you told us by insulting other people, not by politely stating something we had no way of guessing. So that wasn't very helpful.
 

AutumnalTone

New member
... and many people here are abled....

That, I believe, lies at the root of your troubles here. You assume that everybody else here is "abled" and you're the only person who can speak to experience with disabilities and that you can speak for all folks with disabilities. That's a problem.

That's a problem because you have no idea how many folks who show up here have some form of disability. Some may indicate that they do, others will not.

My experience when reading your posts is the same as when I met a woman in a wheelchair who claimed that the only acceptable term to use is "differently-abled." I have to wonder why in hell anybody would presume to speak on behalf of a whole lot of people they don't know, many of whom are known to disagree.

That assumption you seem to have made is inherently inaccurate and simply rude. It would be good to remember that your movement, much as it likes to think that it does, does not speak for everybody with disabilities. It's the same as the varied groups in the men's movement don't speak for all men and the same as one variety of feminist group doesn't speak for all feminists or women.
 

nondy2

New member
Hi Autumn,

i absolutely do not mean to speak for ALL people with disabilities. Absolutely not, I totally understand where you are coming from, there ARE many people who hate their disability. There is is a real hot topic in Disability Studies. There seems to be a real division between folks with congenital disabilities and people who become disabled. I have not met, for example, anyone with cerebral palsy who wishes to be different. And there is a big thrust in the Deaf community not to give conclear implants to their Deaf children because some, not all, feel this is a loss of a culture. Of course, a composer going Deaf would feel very differently than a DeaF person who went to Galladet and believes in Deaf culture.

I, in fact have a friend with MS who hates it. And I totally respect that.

I think that as long as people think of people with various disabilities as valid and deserving of jobs, education and repect..it doesn't matter what people call them. As I said, if a person can go around saying "that's retarded!" it ultimately doesn't matter if they believe people with autism or Downs deserve equal rights.

I just got a call from a friend the other day who has a caregiver in Vermont. The caregiver works with a 26 yr old. She is trying to push this person into sterilization because SHE believes that he should not have children. I have another friend who has a slight genetic disability and she was hassled by her family NOT to have kids. She did anyway, and the kids are great (and yes, disabled).

I just think it is important for everyone to have a chance as the same resources and the right to own their own body. Many people aren't going to accept their disability and that is VALID. As long as people who use wheelchairs can get in the store and be considered for jobs. As long as people with autism are not forcefully sterilized (which happened up until the 1980's) these differences do not matter.

I totally respect people who wish they weren't disabled. I just want others to have a voice too. When PWD are in the mainstream media (which is rare) the story is always a pity story. There is another side to things.
 
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