Thursday, July 3, 2014

Advice: The Harm In Inspiration Porn

// this is a weeper! here is what true parenting and love is.

These types of videos are difficult for me to watch because of the utter lack of regard and respect for a human being. Having CP myself, it's really hard to hear about the way Rick was treated and how no one believed he was smart. It's hard to see videos like this, of accomplished people like Rick and yet in the voiceover, he's "Ricky" and whoever's narrating is speaking for him - about how he'd want us to tell you such and such. Why wouldn't they end with something else he, himself said? I just feel like this is another way to hold us as people with disabilities, back. Rick's a human being, who likes to run races with his dad. I just...don't know. He's seen as an inspiration BECAUSE he's in a wheelchair. That's not a reason to be seen as an inspiration. Sorry. This is just a raw nerve for me.

I respect your feelings! thanks for being honest! the reason I do find this to be inspirational is that there are stupid people who really do look at those with disabilities as less than human. rick's dad was advised to put his own son away in an institution. the horrid thing is that people still think like this! when I went in for my first prenatal appointment I was told that I could have some tests done to determine whether the baby had any deformities or disabilities and that then I could "make an educated choice on whether I wanted to keep the pregnancy." I nearly barfed in my mouth. it would not matter to me what the results of those tests were. it is still a child who deserves life. (I never went back to that clinic again) anyway, I feel there may be two sides to this coin. I see that, 1) those with disabilities (say, those who have cp, for example) just want to be treated as normal and not given any time in the spotlight for their differences, and yet, 2) it is something to celebrate overcoming a disability and sticking it to those who look down upon those with disabilities. I so see what you are saying, but yet I want to be able to celebrate life and those who accomplish immensely great things! sorry if anything I said was insensitive. I tried to be very sensitive! love you bunches!

I'm so glad we're able to talk about this because it's so important to me. It's absolutely atrocious that people are advised in that way regarding pregnancy (specifically that way, because it is so discriminatory toward those with disabilities.) To address your points 1) YES, ABSOLUTELY. People with disabilities want to be treated like people because we ARE people. We are living our lives in the same way you are living yours. We don't want you to applaud us for running a race (at least any more than you would root for any other runner) or opening a door, or having intelligence, or simply existing around you. (I'm saying "you" in the collective sense, btw, not only directed at you.) 2) Disability is not something to "overcome." It's a part of my identity as a human being, and it's not negative. To say you want to celebrate overcoming disability is like saying I want to celebrate NOT being everything I am. Having CP is not everything I am, but it's an integral part of my identity and how I experience the world. The notion of "overcoming disability" feeds this perspective that people have to be able-bodied to have value. I don't want my everyday tasks celebrated like they are miracles, but neither do I want to feel shame in what makes me who I am. Disability is not something to overcome. It is not inherently bad or wrong. And it's not something to be healed of. I am enough. Rick is enough. Every person I know with a disability IS enough. Celebrate us when it's our birthday. When we experience something fantastic. When we graduate, get promoted, have families, get a new home. But don't celebrate us for existing. For getting up in the morning. For being seen. Because that sets the bar so low. It's so damaging, because it means you see us as so much less. We don't need your pity. And overcoming harmful attitudes ABOUT us is much more important, frankly than overcoming our own disability.

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