When I first wrote my ableist post it was just for myself, my own little musings. Then I realized that even though it is controversial my opinion needs to be heard and I have this platform, so I posted it. I had no idea it would make this kind of an impact.
My words were not meant to represent the entire disability community. My opinion is just that: my opinion. The post was signed “- from a fed up disabled teen”. I know there were parts where I used “we” and “us”, but it’s because I feel disabled people as a whole are being used. I have had many interactions with both friends and strangers from the disability community who share this opinion. So while I’m not trying to speak for the whole community or put words in anyone’s mouth, there are quite a few of us that do feel this way. However, I acknowledge and respect that not everyone is of the same opinion.
It’s all about intentions. I’m sure there are people out there who are being genuine. At the same time though, there are those who use disabled people as some kind of a trophy. And the latter are whom my post is directed at. Of course we can’t always know the intentions of people. I get that. I think a possible solution is not giving people such praise simply because they treat a disabled person like a person. I’m not trying to tell people what to do, I’m trying to share my perspective and make people aware of something they might not otherwise be. Ask a disabled person out if you want to. Vote a disabled person for king/queen if you want to. But think about the intent and reason behind what you’re doing is what I ask of you, and be sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons.
We want to be treated like everyone else. The person who got asked to the dance; was he/she included during the rest of the school year? We want your kindness everyday, not just when it’s beneficial to you. Disabled people don’t need your saving or your pity. Don’t forget about us during the everyday moments – that is what life is made up of. You may not realize how significant those everyday moments are, but we do.
People got kind of confused about my use of the phrase “inspiration porn”. The idea originally stemmed from a Ted Talk by Stella Young. The main idea is that the disabled are not inspirational because we’re disabled. We didn’t choose to be disabled. If we are an inspiration, it should be for our accomplishments. I think this is an important concept to understand when talking about ableism. It’s also a big part of where my opinion stems from.
Lastly, I’ve gotten some horribly, vulgar responses to my post. People have told me that I’m going to go to hell. I’ve been told to kill myself. I’ve been called inhumane and a bitch. Many of these responses are from adults. I understand this is controversial and not everyone will agree with me. That is okay, but cyerbullying is not. I’m happy that this sparked such passionate discussions, and hope it continues to do so as long as people remain civil and respectful of our right to disagree on both sides. Being intolerant and disrespectful isn’t effective and will get us nowhere.
I’m not going to stop writing. I’m not going to stop sharing my opinion. I’m not going to stop being an advocate.