Today I want to talk about something that annoys the Hell out of me every time I see or read about it - CSJW!
Here's the dictionary's definition:
A SJW or Social Justice Warrior is someone who who expresses or promotes socially progressive views.
"these social justice warriors want to apply their politically correct standards and rules to others' speech"
A CSJW on the other hand is a bit more, here's my definition:
A CSJW or Clueless Social Justice Warrior is someone who expresses or enforces their social progressive views on others BUT have no freaking clue about about the group or people they're "advocating" for.
Here's several stories on what I mean:
You get the idea now?
The first thing people need to learn is that all disabilities have a spectrum! They even range day to day too, one day someone may be feeling good and able to walk around a bit, other days its debilitating and need a wheelchair. Blindness never means "totally blind" - 9 out of 10 "blind" people DO have some type of vision. Deafness never means "totally deaf" - so many variables to deafness I'm not going to go into.
So, before you SRPs (Self Righteous Pricks) decide to accuse anyone faking a disability you should read these books:
Just like the title of the last book I listed....Mind your own damn business! We have enough BS to deal with without you adding to it and ruining our day.
Now, let's talk about the RIGHT way to be an ally or an advocate:
As you can probably tell, this topic pisses me off and if any of you CSJW have a problem with that y'all can KMA (Kiss My Ass).
How many of you that have a friend or relative with a disability and when you introduce them to other people it goes like:
"This is Steve, he's [insert disability]".
Right off the bat you let a stranger know the other's person's "faults". (as it feels to us).
This was posted on Facebook a while back by J. Sims:
"Disempowerment by disclosing something personal like about an individual's disability without consent is a thorny source of feeling under-privileged!"
It's that individual's sole right to disclose their disability or not. Many are pro-active in telling the general public what they need for accommodations and we have done fine before you and will continue to be fine after you.
When you do that, it automatically changes the mental perspective of the other person before they've known you. Is that fair really? For example, friends and family would introduce me and go "she's Deaf", I can physically see the facial changes to awkwardness and other expressions and then they're "How....are....you". If you left out that part, they'll just greet you like everyone else and if I missed something I just simply say "sorry, can you look at me when you talk please" and the conversation continues without batting an eyelash. See the difference?
If you or I don't directly point my deafness out, it will become obvious to them, the ask to repeat, the deaf accent, and so on.
Let's turn the tables a bit:
"This is Joe, he's incontinent"
"This is Sue, she has 15 parking tickets due"
"This is Don, he has 3 mistresses"
See how freaking uncomfortable (and no one's business) it is now?
So, stop disclosing things about us without our consent. I know you want to help us, but I promise you, it doesn't.
Any People with Disabilities (PWD) have suggestions for alternate ways around this? Let me know in comments.
Yeah, I know I sound like Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory", but seriously how many times those of us with handicap parking placards try and find a parking spot and find some idiot in it instead?
The excuses these people give:
One large misconception is that people seem to think that because there is a picture of a person in a wheelchair on the sign, if you're not in a wheelchair you're not entitled to park there.
C'mon folks there are a multitude of reasons those that seem to be able to walk need a placard too. Some are:
Now for those of us who do have a legit parking placard, what can we do when we see people parking in our spot?
One way is to use an iOS app called Parking Mobility - Report disabled parking abuse to your city in less than two minutes. When you see a vehicle parked illegally, simply launch Parking Mobility, take 3 photos and submit. We tell the city and they ticket the vehicle’s owner.
If your city isn't located in the app above, or you don't want the app, the way to report illegal parking is:
Let's make it easy on everyone and park where you're supposed to!
Tell me your parking stories!
No, not you political reporters - go back to your petty squabbles.
I'm talking about those reporters who write about people with disabilities. Yeah I called you dumb and ignorant. Hurts don't it?
Then maybe you should stop using such bullshit terms when writing about us, hmm? The words you use to describe people with disabilities are very patronizing and paint us in a negative light.
Let me give you a few examples:
Forget the stupid "clickbait" title. Here's some of the wording that's cringe-worthy:
I already shared my disdain about the viral post of the student helping the Deafblind man on the flight. It was great she helped, but the writing was blatantly patronizing and belittling of the Deafblind man.
Some other words I've seen used are:
When you're writing these words you're saying -
"glad it's not me"
"I wouldn't be able to do that"
"how can they live like that"
"Look at what we nice people did for them"
"Look at how special and different they are"
You get my point?
So, if you want to write about people with disabilities it's best to 1) interview them and show their story as they tell it, or 2) Learn the proper terminology - read blogs by people with disabilities, look at web pages of various agencies serving people with disabilities, or ASK that group!
Because all it comes down to is that people with disabilities are just like everyone else that do things just "a bit different".
So just stop putting us in a bad light and using us to make yourself feel better!
Now if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me. I'll be happy to help!
Following up to yesterday's post about the bad wording and treating the deafblind man as a prop, I came across this article from The Mighty that is really helpful to remember for the Deafblind as well.
And if you notice #10 - I do not exist to make you look awesome.
- Don't make a big show out of helping me to look like a hero.
- Don't talk about me patronizingly - Look at what she can do.
- Don't treat me like a trained seal - Show everyone what you can do.
One more thing that's the bane of many people with disabilities - condescending praise or "false praises" - "good job on (mundane task)", "Woooow that's great you can do that!", "- it's the tone behind the message, you get the idea?
This happens so many times (I've lost count myself) that many are veryal and leery of compliments as we're not sure you're being genuine or not. As one online friend said "I've been patted on the head so many times that one of these days I'm going to bark 'Woof'."
So, next time you meet a Blind, Deaafblind, Deaf, or Disabled person - treat us like everyone else - it's that simple.
This week in June marks Deafblind Awareness Week and a Facebook post that spread all over social media last Friday has me upset and irritated.
Here's the Facebook post:
The wording throughout is very patronizing and "ableist" and painted the deafblind man as totally helpless.
"The gentleman next to him did his best to assist him with things like opening coffee creamer and putting it in his coffee" - I'm sure Tim could handle his own coffee - many Deafblind can do many things independently - cook, clean, and even hold jobs.
"When Tim (the deafblind man) made the attempt to stand up and feel his way to the restroom, his seatmate immediately was up to help him" - I've traveled alone on airlines thousands of times, common sense dictates the bathrooms are at the back or the front, walk to the where the seats run out (or for some people - follow the smell). If the door is locked, wait til ya feel a burst of air from the door opening and then go in. The wording "attempt to" paints helplessness.
"someone suggested paging to see if anyone on board knew sign language. That's when this lovely young woman came into the picture....For the rest of the flight, she attended to Tim and made sure his needs were met" - IF the wording was along the lines of "an ASL student kept Tim company and chatted with him for the rest of the flight" GREAT! I wish more people learned ASL and attempted to communicate more, BUT - "attended to Tim and made sure his needs were met" - Is she his nursemaid now? See how patronizing that sounds now?
"I don't know when I've ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being" - so ableist - look at what WE did for the poor man.
I'm not saying never help someone with a disability, but don't you think if they got there on their own they can manage to go on their own? Just assume they're alright until you actually see them look confused or like they actually need help.
the oooohs and awwws of this post was just over the top.
Here are some quotes from other Deaf and Deafblind in response to this as well:
"A large portion of the Deafblind community is annoyed by this classic example of inspiration porn. DB people fly independently all the time and have various ways to manage themselves. This was hard-fought when for years (and sometimes still) we were not permitted to fly alone."
"So often, help is forced upon us that we didn’t ask for or need so that people may congratulate themselves, but it perpetuates ideas of low expectations and ablism that affects other aspects of our lives, such as employment, independent travel or housing."
"She took a story that was not hers to tell and made it viral. If she simply posted something about being frustrated about lack of accommodations, might be different. If HE posted about how people were cool about helping, very different."
"These words seem nice but actually disenfranchise people. We should be angry that a grown man was infantilized. Furthermore, this story is written like he is a prop not an active participant in this story. It’s not that kindness and help are bad things but the interaction should be a reciprocal interaction where power is shared equally."
Of course I received negative responses from people for my comments such as:
"Your awful!! My mom is DEAF BLIND and there is "NO ONE" to help her but her children. I have not read the story but I believe more people need to be aware of this type of situation. It was very kind of the young lady to help with the communication barrier." - I was commenting on the wording used and not about the help offered.
"I loved the story and I'll remember next time I ever meet you not to help you or give you company. You're on your own." - *hat tip* that's fine 'cuz you missed the point.
"I doubt you'll read this or hear it....but I hope someone rearranges your furniture when you're having a bad day." - LOL!! My favorite Helen Keller joke, thanks for the laugh.
So, it was not the acts of the people on the airplane or the wonderful ASL student helping out and chatting, it was the wording and "inspirational porn" feel of the post that got me upset.
When will the world learn that people who are Deafblind are fully capable of leading their own fulfilling lives and we don't need your pity, patronizing attitudes and be objects for your "good deed" checklist.
If we ask for help, just help us with what we asked for without the assumption that we're incompetent in everything else.