Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Legitimate Disability

Here's an interesting essay about the hierarchy of disability and how people abuse each other with it. 

I think about this a lot.  I have some distinct limitations, like needing glasses.  But most of mine are obscure, and I have learned that there's rarely any benefit to be had from trying to get other people to acknowledge them.  It is simpler just to wait until the damn thing blows up in their face.  "Well of course your phone died.  I told you that I kill electronics; you handed it to me anyhow; it is now a brick." "I thought it was all in your HEAD!" "That is not my problem."  So I tend not to describe myself as disabled, that being a legal category, but I can easily describe some of the limitations I have.  

Society would be much more usable if accommodations could be more often had for the asking of them.  This is not something I can change directly.  It is something I can practice, and reward.  If you're coming to my ritual, and you need to sit down, I don't need to know WHY.  I don't care why; it's none of my business.  I especially am not going to ask if you have a card for it.  All I need to know is your maximum standing time, that if the ritual runs longer we'll need chairs, and that a seated ritual would probably work better than a dance for you.  I don't need to know what's up with you; I need to know what you want me to do about it.  Because I'd like everyone to have a good time and not faceplant at my event.  Conversely, I'm alert for restaurants that are or are not accommodating of dietary needs.  Mine, someone else in my party, the total stranger whose argument I can overhear -- doesn't matter.  If you accommodate the requests with a smile, it bumps you up my "let's eat here again" list.  Ditto places where my partner and I split something and folks bring an extra plate instead of bitching or surcharging.  Fight with me or anyone else about the food, and I will not only not come back, I will pan your slop trough restaurant to my friends who also have food issues.

You get what you permit; you get what you reward.  Use your influence -- and your folding vote -- where you can.

And don't be an asshole.  
Tags: activism, community, holiday, reading
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