Amandaw is kicking arse and taking names when it comes to able-bodied privilege

Amandaw has been writing an absolutely white-hot series of guest posts at Feministe about invisible disability and her illness experience. I intensely, wholeheartedly urge you to make an effort to set the time aside to read them all. Start at the bottom, read the comments, and work your way up.

If you had to pick just four, though, try

* OK, folks, it’s time for a privilege check,

* PSA,

* On a meta note, and

* Is it worth the risk?

Amandaw here confronts the forms of ableism that some might consider to be more “subtle”. She is tackling the death of a thousand cuts. If you’re temporarily able-bodied and you’ve never thought really deeply about your privilege, you will find something here to confront your assumptions. Please do it. It’s worth it. If you’re on the disability activism road already, her posts will extend and deepen your understanding; if you have a similar disability yourself, you may find a kindred spirit. There’s something for everyone, I reckon.

The latest is “Is it worth the risk?”, following on a series of conversations about drive-by cure-talkers. An excerpt:

A lot of people took this tack in response to my PSA post. If I minorly annoy 49 people, but save one life!, isn’t it worth the risk?

Psssst: your privilege is showing.

See, here’s your thought process: If there’s a one-in-fifty chance my drive-by suggestions will help, it’s worth it!

But aren’t you forgetting someone? Forty-nine someones?

What’s the risk?

Here’s the risk. People with disabilities face a constant affront on their personal autonomy.

[snip lots of great stuff, go read]

What makes it dangerous when someone tries to sell me one of these treatments, and hell, not even just the “alternative” ones, is very similar to why it can be dangerous for a sexual assault survivor to read past a trigger warning. It chips away at the defenses you have built to protect yourself from future trauma, and it whisks you back to the trauma you have already experienced, and abuse survivors will know what I mean when I say it returns you to the frame of mind that you had when the abuse occurred. You don’t just remember the event(s), you remember the way you thought around the time the event(s) occurred.

In my case, it takes me back to the frame of mind I was in when I was first diagnosed. It’s the frame of mind that says, you’re normal. The frame of mind that says, nothing is wrong with you. The frame of mind that says, push forward. The frame of mind that says, you’re imagining things. The frame of mind that says, you can’t trust your own perception.

And really, that’s what it boils down to. It’s an assault on the protective framework I have built for myself. It tells me that I can’t trust myself and the way I see things right now. It tells me that other people’s perceptions are more important than my own. It tells me that other people’s opinions override my own. It tells me that other people get to decide my life.



Categories: health, language, social justice

Tags: , ,

3 replies

  1. Her posts have been awesome.

  2. Those posts have been great, not the least because there are so many people coming out of the woodwork to share their own stories in solidarity.
    I feel way too often like I’m pushing a bloody stone up a really big mountain when it comes to talking to people about able-bodied priviledge. Amandaw is doing such an outstanding job.

  3. What a very brilliant and right series of posts. Thanks for the heads-up, I would hate to have missed them!
    Ricky
    Ricky Buchanans last blog post..Save Time With Leopard

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