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Mindy is trying to think deep thoughts but keeps getting... oooh shiny thing!

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7 responses to “A thought experiment”

  1. orlando

    I definitely remember going out with a toddler when he was still at the age where he would get filthy in between getting dressed in the morning and getting out the door (and I sure wasn’t dressing him all over again) and thinking about how I could get away with it because people see a grubby white child and think “adorable urchin”, whereas if I was, say, Aboriginal, they would be thinking “she doesn’t keep her child clean”.

  2. Mindy

    Mothering while disabled via Lauredhel on Twitter.

  3. AMM

    OT: I love the picture you chose for this posting.

    Mindy: I thought the article you linked was very good and to the point, even though I’d never heard of Chrissie Swan. (I assume it’s because I’m on the opposite side of the planet.)

    Maybe it’s just my Western, over-educated, white male privilege speaking, but it struck me how many of the incidents that article described involved people acting like the rules of polite, decent behavior suddenly no longer applied. E.g., you don’t need to know anything about disability issues to know that making snarky comments about someone’s sex life — or someone’s spouse — is a jerk move. Or that snatching a stranger’s baby is (*shakes head*) just plain _wrong_ in more ways than I can count.

    I can’t help thinking that if somebody wants to not be a racist, classist, sexist, etc. (or not be accused of it), a good first step is to increase the set of people you won’t be a jerk to to include the whole human species. IMHO, this (don’t act like a jerk) shouldn’t even need saying. Isn’t this what you’re supposed to learn in kindergarden? Or maybe in Sunday School?
    \end{rant}

  4. Mindy

    @AMM – it’s a great picture isn’t it?

    I agree simply not being a jerk to people seems simple enough and certainly you would expect people to learn it in kinder if not before. Where is all goes wrong, I’m not entirely sure.

  5. Feminist Avatar

    Although the reason I think the ‘don’t be a jerk’ thing doesn’t always works is that I bet that women who picked up the child thought- ‘let me help the poor disabled woman’. She didn’t think she was being a jerk; she just didn’t realise that her actions didn’t accord that woman the same respect as would have been granted to able-bodied woman. And a lot of ‘jerk’ behaviour is about people who don’t recognise their unconscious priledge/preconceptions/*isms, and think their behaviour is unexceptionable.

  6. Mindy

    And a lot of ‘jerk’ behaviour is about people who don’t recognise their unconscious priledge/preconceptions/*isms, and think their behaviour is unexceptionable.

    Good point. I actually wondered if she realised that the mother was able to pick up and care for her own baby or if she simply assumed that the carer was also the baby’s carer.

  7. Aqua, of the Questioners

    Yes, this is what I’m coming to realise as I’m untangling (some of) my own racism and ablism (and probably sexism). I have learnt how to treat people well, but I’ve also been taught a bunch of racist, ablist, sexist special rules for how to treat “others”, and for so long and so thoroughly I didn’t even notice/realise and it’s subconscious/automatic.

    And it’s a lot of work to start to notice and try to do better. But it is very enlightening; I understand more and more why eg African Americans identify so many things as racism and not just ignorance/naiviety. It’s like that essay by Amanda Marcotte about how men who don’t respect women’s sexual consent do know the right thing to do because they’d have been locked up long ago if they applied that approach in other aspects of their life.

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