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.
I read this article and wanted to share it with y'all. I agree, our exposure to the Hearing World exploded with Social Media, but I admit we do have a long way to go to eradicate stereotypes.
So, what do you think? Did it help or do we still have a long way to go? Let's start a discussion in comments.
I was sent this post from the Complete Communication Blog & I want to share it with you:
Why I Will Never Stop Fighting for Language Equality
When you continually fight for a cause (or multiple causes), it can be easy to get discouraged when you see what you perceive as a lack of progress. In this post, I'm going to focus on the cause of language equality. Specifically, that all Deaf children are given full access to ASL (or the sign language of their country) as their first language from birth.
Full access to ASL from birth only happens for 1 out of every 4 Deaf children. Getting language access to those other 3 out of 4 children can seem like such an insurmountable goal.
There are doctors telling scared parents that their only option is for their child to use hearing aids or a cochlear implant and learn to lipread and speak. There are parents that become obsessed with the idea that they must "fix" or "normalize" their Deaf child. There are even entire organizations *cough* Alexander Graham Bell *cough* that are committed to denying the devastating effects of language deprivation.
Access to ASL for deaf children just makes sense. While some children may learn to speak as well, they will still never be able to fully access spoken English. How can giving someone a partial language set them up for success later in life?
So, we have to be even more committed than the forces working against us. Even more committed to continually educating ourselves. Even more committed to raising awareness. Even more committed to donating our time and/or money to organizations that promote language access. How do we stay committed? How do we keep fighting every day for what we know is right?
I was watching a few videos the other day of Deaf babies communicating in or being exposed to ASL. Little hands get me every time. I felt warm and fuzzy. When I see those types of videos or read those types of stories I know that that is the way it should be. It reminds me what I'm fighting for.
The day I stop fighting will be either:
Now, I'll share a couple of my favorite videos with you. There are plenty more as well, so feel free to search away!
This video of sweet, 22 month old Ayla is one of my favorites! This is what I'm fighting for! This is what all Deaf children deserve! There's also other videos in this series of Deaf babies signing ASL that are equally as heartwarming and fabulous.
And then we have this video of a Deaf grandmother teaching her Deaf granddaughter ASL. How sweet is THAT? This grandmother is passing on her language and culture to her granddaughter and it's beautiful.
If you would like to read more of her blog, head over to Complete Communication.
If you want to know more about ASL - contact me!
I was sent this post by a reader and have gained permission to share it.
It was posted on ZooMax.co
I hope you enjoyed this article and have a great week!