The Disability Dialogue: Sip Your Filet Mignon Through a Straw

Leah Sip Your Filet Mignon Through A Straw

By Leah Smith
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has recently announced that it will no longer be hosting its annual ‘Jerry Lewis Telethon’ to raise money towards finding a cure for those with Muscular Dystrophy (MD).  Thus, this Labor Day will be the first time that we, as society, are choosing not to cultivate pity towards people with disabilities and the systemic internalized ableism of those with Muscular Dystrophy. I say, 'we' as society, because according to the organization’s statement regarding this decision, it was, at least in part, due to receiving an all time low donation total in 2014. 

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," you say. Did you really just blame Jerry Lewis for the systemic internalized ableism of those with MD? Yes, in fact, I did. I might even go as far as saying that he could be responsible for the internalized ableism of thousands of disabled people that don't have Muscular Dystrophy. Before I make such huge accusations, let me define internalized ableism. 

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The Disability Dialogue: Why the Public Has Turned the Random Act of Kindness at Qdoba Unkind

emily

Why the Public Has Turned the Random Act of Kindness at Qdoba Unkind

By Emily Ladau
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

In the past week, the Internet has bombarded us with constant commentary on stories ranging from the earthquake in Nepal to the Amtrak crash to the former Qdoba employee helping a disabled woman eat. When I consider these stories side-by-side, I find myself struggling. The world needs reminders that there is good to be found amidst the pain and heartbreak. And I am a huge believer in the importance of random acts of kindness. Society is sorely in need of more of them. But it raises a question I ponder time and again: how can we celebrate and admire kindness in a way that avoids treating certain people like props in society’s quest to feel warm and fuzzy?

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The Disability Dialogue: Disability3

LSmithDisability3

By Leah Smith
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be disabled, and, consequently, what it means to be a ‘good’ disabled person, a ‘not-so- good’ disabled person and when to blur those lines. 

If we were to put disability in a box, what would it look like? Who is ‘disabled?’ Stereotypically speaking, a disabled person is that paraplegic sitting in his half broken wheelchair panhandling on the street corner. Maybe he’s sitting there because he would rather be there than in a nursing home, but, nonetheless, all society is willing to see is him begging for money. Disability is that man, needing more and having less. Disability is a broken wheelchair, displaying so evidently that the richest country in the world cannot provide even this man with a new wheelchair. Thus, disability, in this nice little box, often becomes about guilt to those not sitting on the street corner, and him hoping for a little more than a smile. 

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The Disability Dialogue: Sorry, I'm Not Sorry for Using My Wheelchair

EmilySorry, I’m Not Sorry for Using My Wheelchair

By Emily Ladau
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

Sometimes I feel like a human traffic cone, sitting in my big old tank of a wheelchair, creating a roadblock that people have to navigate around. Or maybe I’m the giant couch that no one wants to drag up the stairs to their 10th floor apartment, huffing and puffing and complaining that the elevator broke for the third time this week. My life tends to be an unchoreographed tango, with people climbing over me, sliding around me, trying to lead me to move, or awkwardly bumping into me. And when the surroundings are especially tight, I might even find myself the recipient of an unintentional lap dance.

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The Disability Dialogue: Disability Lost and Found

L SmithDisability Lost and Found

By Leah Smith
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

Women with disabilities are three times as likely to be raped, physically abused or sexually assaulted.

70-80% of people with psychiatric disabilities and 40-80% of people with intellectual disabilities experience their child (ren) being removed from their custody

Young people ages 31 to 64 with a disability now make up the fastest-rising proportion of nursing home residents.

With headlines such as these, why would anyone want to identify as having a disability? These types of statistics are ones that none of us want to be a part of.

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