Marquis de Saydrah

Because I’ve moved from thinking, “I’ve GOT to blog that!” to doing it.

A Point is Made, Relating to My Good Neighbor, Jim August 12, 2008

This is the post where I make a point relating to my good neighbor, Jim, who has a disability. Do me a favor, particularly if you are a reader who is not familiar with the disability rights movement or the social model of disability: Recall my post about Jim, and think of a few words you would use to describe him. Okay, got a couple of adjectives?

 

Now, let me share two quotes from a forum. The person posting works in the prison system. Understand, she is not a bad person. She is a funny, snarky person who feels that she is doing a service to society through her work as a corrections officer, and she does, in fact, stand up for inmates’ rights if she sees them violated. Whether or not you agree with the US prisons system, she is an individual who believes in herself and her work, and she is a good person. These quotes do not reflect a complete person. They reflect a use of language by her, a person whom I like, that, in my opinion, was hurtful and shocking.

 

In the first, an excerpt from a transcribed conversation, the context is that an inmate has just endangered himself by doing something very reckless. “Me” is the person who posted this; “IM” is the inmate.

 

ME: Mr [Retard].
IM: Yeah.
ME: If you ever do that again, I will write you so many DR’s your children will do Seg time.

 

In the second quote, some inmates have been misbehaving by shooting spitballs.

 

The 2 cells I suspected were in the corner, so I watched them out of the corner of my eye. I asked the Porter (cellhouse janitor) if he’d noticed any retards throwing spitwads lately, and he said no, but he was tired of cleaning them up.

 

Would she– we’ll call her Sue– ever hurt my feelings, or the feelings of a person with a disability, intentionally? I don’t think so. I also don’t think she is aware that her words were hurtful. The forum I quoted these things from does not allow members to call other members out on their language.

 

The moderators require one to use a “report” button to report a post that is offensive. The moderators then make a decision amongst themselves about the complaint. I’ve reported similar posts for use of language in the past, and the decision has been that they will not take any stand against this word. In addition, I’m told that I’ll get an “infraction” for frivolously using the report button if I continue to report hurtful use of this word.

 

So, I can’t ask Sue if she would use that word to describe my neighbor. I can’t ask her if she would use that word within earshot of my friendly, gentlemanly neighbor, Jim. I can’t ask her if she understands that it’s a near-certainty that, at some point in his life, Jim has heard that word applied to him in a hurtful way.

 

That’s why I’m talking about it here, and why I asked you to think of a few words that describe Jim.

 

I think the point is made.

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A Good Neighbor

There’s a gentleman who lives in the apartments next door. I say gentleman not only because it’s the most polite way to refer to a person of the male gender, but also because my neighbor has never been anything but a gentleman. He never forgets a “please,” or a “thank you,” and even though I’m probably about half his age, he calls me, “Ma’am.” His first name is a common one, but I’ll change it anyway: We’ll call him Jim.

 

Jim has a disability. I’m not sure, exactly, which diagnosis he carries. He’s in his forties, so chances are as a child he was given some catch-all label like “mildly brain damaged,” or, though I hate to type this out, “retarded.” He speaks very slowly and walks with an unusual gait. Jim has a little bit of an accent similar to that which comes with Down’s Syndrome, but not quite the same. He converses using short words, and I find that he understands me best if I do the same. Jim has a job and takes the bus to work. He likes my dog, and my dog likes him quite a lot.

 

The first time I met Jim, he was on his way to the bus stop. My dog and I were in my front yard. I’d seen Jim around before, and waved to him a couple times, but we’d never had a conversation. But this time, my dog saw him too. Augustin– who knows where the boundaries of the yard are and obeys them– rushed straight into the street to greet Jim. I retrieved the dog with many apologies, rushed him inside for a time-out, and had a brief conversation with Jim. Since then, Augustin has behaved himself in the front yard, but he still greets Jim every chance he gets.

 

Anyone my dog likes is automatically on my good side. I’ve noticed the pooch has fairly good judgment. For example, he recently barked at the teenagers carrying beer who walked by the house at night, but not at a nurse walking home with her daughter. But this post isn’t about my dog’s common sense. It’s about my good neighbor, Jim, who always has time to compliment me on my dog’s behavior.

 

He asks, as Augustin gleefully whines and licks his hand before rolling over for a belly rub, “How do you get him to be so friendly? I know some people make their dogs real mean, but he’s not mean at all. He’s so friendly.”

 

I explain that Augustin has always been that way, and point out as a stranger approaches, that Augustin stiffens and barks. “He knows the difference between friends and strangers, but he only barks at people if it is after dark.” This impresses Jim, and causes him to erupt into another string of compliments.

 

That’s my good neighbor, Jim, and that’s all I’ll say about him in this post. In my next post, we’ll talk about Jim again; but I have a point to make, and it doesn’t have a place in this post. This post is about Jim, who is my neighbor, and a gentleman.

 

That Concert Picture August 5, 2008

Filed under: Photos — saydrah @ 4:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

Probably the only photo of me wearing makeup in existence.

Overdone concert makeup.

Overdone concert makeup.

Just so y’all have plenty of blackmail material on me if you ever need it…