28 November, 2011

why no one counts

Something I've noticed: a person with a disability having a conversation about the value of people with disabilities (which you can call whatever you want, but usually something more tactful than "the value of people with disabilities") can never actually be disabled.

The reason this is true is pretty obvious!

Someone who is talking about how reasonable it is for a parent to not want a kid with a disability, or how it's wasteful for kids with disabilities to get the best possible education, or how they'd never date a person with a disability, isn't thinking of fully formed and complicated disabled people.

They're not saying it's reasonable not to want a blind kid who becomes an anarchist and can't go to a family gathering without getting in fights with your more conservative relatives. If they say the word blind, they're usually referring to a kind of blindness that doesn't actually exist--a kind that is not attached to a real person.

This is why people who believe things like that can care about you even if you are disabled. You actually are other stuff besides a disability floating in space, so you don't resemble their version of a disabled person.

So, you know, someone is talking about how super hard it is to have a kid with autism or Down Syndrome or CP and how much sense it makes for people not to want that. And you're like, "But I have autism, it makes me feel bad when you say that, aren't we friends?"

"Well, you have to admit your autism is different. I wouldn't mind having a kid like YOU."

Well, duh, because I wrote you letters, and you told me my hair color is uneven, and we eat Oreos together, you eating the cookie sides while I scrape out the paste with my teeth.

But you have to admit that the way you talk about disabled people, you never let them far enough in your mind to know if they would write you letters too.

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