44th DBC- Disability SuperlativesAugust 29, 2008
Apologies to all avid DBC bloggers for the somewhat late posting.
We collectively chose the topic “Disability Superlatives” because we figured it was broad enough for many people to participate and contribute, and would combine positive and negative aspects of society’s views of disability, and personal experiences.
For our part, one of the most interesting things that happened to us was 4 years ago while waiting to be picked up from class at our local community college. Unfortunately the details (the good part) of the conversation we had with a wheelchair user that afternoon have been lost to time, but the memory of how we felt remains for the foreseeable future. I (for ease of writing; refers to Athena) was chatting with the girl in the wheelchair…..I think her name was Jackie……about how people with disabilities should be viewed…….I told her at one point in the conversation that “just because you cannot walk doesn’t mean you can’t do many of the same things I can do” (that don’t involve walking, of course. I was talking about intellectual stuff, probably.) And she seemed pleasantly surprised by my declaration. I was like………well DUH, of course that should be the way to see it. I think she was surprised to hear the clarity with which I declared that she was just as capable as I was, despite not being able to walk. The experience made, and still makes us think about just how much disablism is still engrained in people’s minds, whether they know it or not. To be honest, I hadn’t been able to think about my experience in such detail until just after I wrote the first words of this entry!
Anyhow, that’s our bit, now onto the submissions! With superlatives of interesting and irritating both in the same short entry comes a piece from the BBC’s Ouch! Magazine. I must say I was more irritated than interested with the fact that a Paralympian was not given her dues in acknowledgement. Next, we have a description of a far more irritating occurrence from Abigail; of a nondisabled person occupying a restroom labeled with a wheelchair symbol. I must confess, we used to use them too, until just after we read that submission. Ya learn something new every day, it’s true.
I would guess that this next post, courtesy of Little Frumhouse on the Prairie, would take the superlative “most outrageous,” because it’s about society’s liberal use of the r-word, and how it’s perceived as acceptable. Cheryl went to town on disability superlatives, with an explanation of the “worst words” vis a vis disablism/ablism/disability culture, and exactly how and why she feels the way she does about those words. Excellent contribution, and an aspect of my topic that I hadn’t fully thought about til now.
Here’s a short and pointed post from Paula, about a very silly, insensitive game. This (the subject matter, not the post itself!) definitely fits the superlative categories of “stupidest”, “most ridiculous”, and “most outrageous” in terms of insensitivity to the disability community as a whole. Everyone ought to be offended, disabled and nondisabled alike, that kids even come up with these sorts of word games. We certainly are.
More from the category of “most irritating” from Tera at Sweet Perdition, who writes about her disdain for functioning labels. We agree, they do suck royally.
Next is another post about the Paralympics, and it starts out somewhat sarcastically referring to superlatives such as best, most, and others. It has more to do with sports and athleticism, but it’s notable nonetheless. Sarcasm is also a good segue between irritating and outrageous, and perhaps less negative or even more positive themes.
On a very different, more positive note, potentially fitting into the category of “most hopeful”, Bint Alshamsa of My Private Casbah shares a piece on disability culture and how some of us define our lives and the words we use to do so.
I’m almost done with this, but I’ve completely run out of energy so I’ll have to add the last three posts and the host name for the subsequent carnival later today.
Again, apologies for the delay. We have procrastination issues, and the Democratic National Convention, getting ready for school, and a bunch of other stuff kept us busy this week.