Sunday, July 20, 2014

Disabled Person Competes in Something, What Happens Next Is Completely Normal but Gives Society Misguided Hope.

We've all seen those "news" articles that talk about a disabled person "beating the odds" or whatever, and now with the ubiquity of social media, these things are going viral. Stop it, please, just stop it.

Inspiration porn is bad enough on its own.  If you're not sure what inspiration porn is, the quickest explanation is Scott Hamilton's ridiculous quote, "the only disability is a bad attitude". That quote has been plastered on so many pictures of disabled people doing normal things, and it sickens me. Stop trying to convince everyone that either people like me are not disabled or that our disabilities should motivate you for some logically impossible reason. "Oh, look at him, if he can live a normal life, why can't you?" First things first, no life is normal. Secondly, I am not your measuring stick; I'm not here for you to realize that you "need to be" like me, or better than me. In fact, if you aim to be better than me, please get as far away from me as you can before you reach your goal.

If I somehow invented my own adaptive equipment that let me play golf with one arm, go ahead, please spread the word of my invention, I hope it would help others as much as it would help me. However, don't act any different than you would act toward anyone else who would check a very minor item off of their bucket list.

That brings me to the clickbait bit. "Disabled person competes in sport, what happens next is heartwarming", no it's not, or it shouldn't be. If it is heartwarming at all, please ask yourself why. If it's heartwarming because the disabled person got to play, it's misguided. If it's heartwarming because out-of-the-ordinary things happened to flat-out let the disabled person make a play, it's misguided. If it brings about any thought that starts with "if they didn't give up...", then it's REALLY misguided. If it's a story of someone being "nice" to the PWD, it's probably grabbing attention for every wrong reason in the book.

You will find some disabled folks who intend to inspire people; by all means, let them inspire you, but don't believe for a second that that is a universal attitude. If I don't want to be patronized for trying to live my crippled life to the best of my ability, don't patronize me. To borrow from an old Nike ad, "I am not a role model." Also, yes, I use the word "crippled", don't tell me how to identify myself. To hammer the identity point home, suppose you offer to help me with something and I tell you once that I'm alright, I can see that you're just trying to help, but if you ask five times, you'll "self-identify" as "just trying to help", while I may identify you as an intrusive asshat. I may not want your help, but I won't tell you how to identify yourself, even if I identify you differently, please don't do that to me.

"Disabled man finishes writing blog post, inspires no one, and likes it that way"...I truly hope you're not inspired, but rather educated, and hopefully in agreement as well.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The "Perks" of Being Accommodated

Some companies are actually very good at accommodating their employees. Many of us need these accommodations just to make employment necessary let alone a career. Sometimes though, the most necessary things can backfire.

I get picked up by Paratransit every morning and driven to work. Finally, things are almost going as they should be (after two months at my job), but there is still something that has bugged me since before I even started working. I knew it would happen, too. "Can you stay late?" No, no I can't. I have to be in that vehicle 5 minutes after it gets here or I missed my ride home, and they'll charge me for it, too. Not only that, but I actually have to leave at least fifteen minutes early every day, just because that's when they're "available" to pick me up. They also take me to work in the morning. This creates a bit of a problem. Basically, I get to work when I get there, and I leave when I leave. It's not necessarily the best way to look when I want to move up, how does this look for me?

No matter how hard I work, this hangs over me. It's not legal for this to figure into any decisions on me getting raises or promotions, but it still looks pretty bad, to say the least. My employer also created a position for me. Sounds awesome, right? It did to me, too, but then I found out how they created it. On one hand, I need my job, I like my job and I thank them for accommodating me. On the other hand, these accommodations slap me in the face to remind me that I still depend on them to have a job at all.

I need to shut my laptop down so I can wake up in a few hours, roll out of bed, boot it back up and go to work.