Thursday, August 7, 2014

Abled Privilege Is...

#abledprivilegeis is a discussion about the privileges able bodied people have, and it's going on  (mostly on Twitter) but I thought I'd add my own insights...

Abled privilege is having people listen to you, not ignore you, when something terrifies you as a toddler.

Abled privilege is not being called "cute" in the same way a puppy is called cute for all of second grade.

Abled privilege is being able to go on all the school field trips, and never being arbitrarily banned at the last minute without an explanation because of accessibility issues.

Abled privilege is going to the bathroom whenever you need to, in middle school, not having to hold it all day until you get home because of accessibility issues.

Abled privilege is never even having to entertain the thought that a guy in high school Spanish will get up from his desk and take the vocabulary word you were given for a game, and replace it with his (because it's more difficult and he wants an easy one.)  You don't have to think about how he gets away with it in front of the teacher because he knows it will take you extra time and energy to go get it back.

Abled privilege is being able to attend all your college classes, even when it snows, because your access isn't blocked by the fact that the plows inexplicably pile all that snow in front of the ramps on campus.

Abled privilege is being able to talk about having your personal space and dignity violated as if it's only theoretical.  It's asking people "what they think about that" and not "how can we stop it?"

Abled privilege is being able to go wherever you want.  On grass.  On gravel.  Through narrow doorways.  Up stairs with no railings. It's taking for granted the unlimited access you have to the world around you.

Abled privilege is not having to choose between the mobility aid that is smaller (but means you will move slower) and the one that is bigger, and will give you more freedom (but can't fit into your friend's car.)

Abled privilege is never being told that there is not a place for you, at a public event you paid to attend.

Abled privilege is the ability to go out in public without being stared at, approached and asked invasive questions, or talked to condescendingly.

Abled privilege is never being told you're "so brave" simply because you are out in public.

Abled privilege is never being told "It's a shame you're in a wheelchair.  You're so pretty."

Abled privilege is saying no, and knowing that it will be respected.

Abled privilege is never having teachers discriminate against you, or think you are less because of what you use to get around.

Abled privilege is being in control of the amount of pain you experience.

Abled privilege is not having to attend meetings as a child, that are focused on all the areas you struggle in, through no fault of your own.

Abled privilege is not having to worry about a stranger touching your person, or taking you somewhere without your permission.

Abled privilege is not being on the receiving end of dirty looks and comments for using the stairs when the elevator is out of service.

Abled privilege is never being trapped on one floor because while you were there, the elevator broke down.

Abled privilege is having a whole audience worth of seats to pick from when attending a tour or a concert, not just the highest, most distant tiny row.

Abled privilege is not being told by the behind the wheel instructor (with 20 years' experience) that you could never learn to drive, despite it being only the second time you ever drove a car.

Abled privilege is never being hurt or humiliated on purpose, in the name of "overcoming"something that is integral to your own identity.

Abled privilege is not having to be degraded with ableist names, or have chewed up food spit on you.  Never having to prove that, actually you read and write four years past grade level.  Never having to deal with the person testing you, seeming shocked by your intelligence.

Abled privilege is not having to jump through hoops to get the things that are necessary for you to navigate every day life.

Abled privilege is getting a job as a summer camp counselor (overnight for a week at a time) AND being able to take showers there.

Abled privilege is not having your startle reflex intentionally triggered by family or friends, and having them laugh at you.

Abled privilege is having unlimited access to AND accurate representation of people like you in the media.

Abled privilege is never experiencing the subtle (or overt) pressure of having to justify your existence.

Abled privilege is knowing that your life has value to society, and that if someone hurts you or kills you, the person responsible will be held accountable.  Your perpetrator will not receive mercy or have their crime justified because of how hard it was to have you in their life. It's knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that your life matters.

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