Marquis de Saydrah

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

ADAPT March Followup– pics, video, and a media rant. July 9, 2008

Adapt Gathering in Civic Center Park
Adapt Gathering in Civic Center Park

 

 I promised you pictures and video from ADAPT’s march commemorating the Gang of 19’s bus sit-ins in Denver, and there’s one– but before I share others, I need to rant. See how, if you look closely at the above picture, the silver building says “The Denver Post?” You know, the building right behind the park where the ADAPT group is gathering, with many windows overlooking the park? Now, notice the large group of wheelchair users, and you’ll see from other pictures that there were around 50 people listening to someone speak over a loudspeaker system in front of an enormous ADAPT banner.

 

Now, would you think that someone from the Denver Post might, perhaps, notice this scene unfolding, and come write a story? I know ADAPT sent a press release around (I got a press release myself, so I’d imagine the Post did). I know the park is visible from those windows. I know, as a writer, I would welcome a group of people wanting to make my job easier by holding a story-worthy event right outside my office window.

 

So why the hell was I the only member of the media present?!

I’ll be writing a letter to the Editor of the Denver Post to this effect. It’s really frustrating to see things like this happen, then open the newspaper and find, on any given day, at least one example of bad disability journalism full of “inspires” and “despites.”

 

Anyway, on to the positive stuff: Photos and video from ADAPT’s fabulous event. First, my favorite video from the day:

 

Visual Description: The video shows a procession marching along the sidewalk. Many participants are using wheelchairs. Others walk, with or without assistive devices, and some users of manual wheelchairs are being pushed by able-bodied people. At the end of the video, a little boy runs toward the camera to catch up with the march.

 

And some more pictures (plus a bigger version of the first one), with descriptions:

Click each thumbnail for a larger image and a description of the photo.

 

Again, I had a great time– and congrats to ADAPT on 30 years of Denver activism!

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RE: Politically Correct Methods of Addressing the Able-Bodied June 27, 2008

ATTN: All Team Members
FROM: Timothy Q. Snorfleblark, Director of Human Resources
RE: Politically Correct Methods of Addressing the Able-Bodied

 

Team,

 

It has come to our attention that certain persons in this office have shown a marked lack of sensitivity in addressing able-bodied team members. Several complaints have been filed with Human Resources, forcing us to take action. The offending individuals have been warned, but insensitivity toward the able-bodied seems to be a company-wide problem. As a result, Human Resources has put together a simple guide to appropriate methods of addressing the able-bodied. Please read in full, and, when in doubt, consult Human Resources before doing or saying anything you feel could potentially be offensive.

 

Sincerely,
Timothy Q. Snorfleblark
Director, Human Resources
ACME Mega-Corp

 

ATTACHMENT: “ablebodiedsensitivity.doc”

 

Use of Appropriate Language

 

Using appropriate language in the workplace is essential to maintaining a harmonious work environment. All coworkers deserve to feel safe and accepted at work, regardless of their disability or lack thereof.

 

In order to avoid causing discomfort to able-bodied team members, please refrain from using terms like “social model of disability,” or “crip culture” at work. It is considered rude by the able-bodied community to create confusion and challenge preconceptions by asserting that people with disabilities do not want to be cured of their conditions.

 

In the same vein, calling coworkers “curebies” is also inappropriate, particularly as a reaction to the expression of a charitable sentiment or a request for donations to a worthy cause.

 

“Crip fashion” is also a term politically incorrect for usage in the presence of the able bodied. The able-bodied consider this term inaccurate and offensive. It is very impolite to insinuate in front of able-bodied team members that team members with disabilities are concerned with beauty, dating, and sex. As discussed above, this causes confusion and discomfort. Please be considerate of others.

 

When referring to your disability in the presence of able-bodied team members, do not call yourself a “crip,” “gimp,” “amp,” or any other term that could be associated with language reclamation. Many able-bodied persons suffer from a fear of change. In order to make your coworkers’ selection of appropriate verbage easy, refer to yourself as a “person with a disability,” if you must refer to your disability at all.

 

Making Conversation with the Able-Bodied

 

When conversing with able-bodied coworkers, remember that their condition may prevent them from understanding certain types of humor or relating to certain topics of conversation. Please do not discuss bodily fluids, catheters, colostomy bags, or assisted showering and toileting. It is considered polite within the able-bodied community to limit discussion of disability to positive and uplifting topics.

 

In order to converse politely with the able-bodied, try mentioning an exciting hobby like tennis or swimming. Make sure to emphasize how you’ve overcome your disability in order to compete or participate in this hobby. The able-bodied person may tell you that you are “an inspiration.” This is a compliment; please accept it graciously. Some people who are able-bodied may even be moved to tears by your courage. Again, this is to be considered a compliment.

 

Some able-bodied team members may make conversation by pointing out to you news stories about disabled persons, or by asking if you know another person with the same disability. This reflects the depth of their caring and an effort to reach out to you. Laughter is not an appopriate response to such a query. Nor is it polite to call an article brought to your attention by a coworker, “stunningly bad disability journalism, typical of the New York Times.”

 

If in doubt, limit topics of conversations to sports, crafts, and the weather. Discussing sex, health, politics, dating, friendship, work, or, worst of all, protests and activism, with able-bodied coworkers may contradict existing prejudices and offend a team member.

 

Meetings and Office Parties

 

Appropriate behavior during workplace gatherings is just as important as appropriate behavior during one-on-one interactions. Please do not scold coworkers for assisting you at office functions by preparing your food, pushing your wheelchair to an appropriate location within the room, or ordering for you at group lunches. It is important to allow the able-bodied to keep their sense of autonomy and control intact despite the presence of disabled persons within the organization. Thank able-bodied coworkers for friendly gestures such as those listed above, in order to help preserve their self-image as charitable and inclusive individuals.

 

Complaining about accessibility at office functions is frowned upon. Providing ASL interpreters, for example, might take away from the positive experience of others during parties. You wouldn’t want to be seen as selfish, would you? The same goes for requesting that team-building exercises be conducted at fully wheelchair-accessible facilities. The able-bodied community loves paintball and ropes courses, and it would detract from their enjoyment of these delightful activities if a disabled person were to come along and repeatedly emphasize his or her inability to participate.

 

In order to avoid offending a team member, it is best to excuse yourself from events where access could prove challenging. Use an excuse that doesn’t reference your disability if at all possible. A sick family member, flat tire, or salon appointment is a good excuse not to attend team building exercises. If you recuse yourself in plenty of time, you’ll avoid looking like a wet blanket while others are having fun.

 

During meetings, please avoid calling attention to your disability by objecting to the language or suggestions of others. The able-bodied are very sensitive, and scolding them in front of their peers could cause emotional trauma.

 

If all of these guidelines are followed, we anticipate that our workplace can be a fun and inclusive environment for all. Let’s remember our company motto: “What’s Good for the Company is Good for All!”

 

Disclaimer: This post is satirical and inspired by this and this. Please have a good laugh at the expense of ignorant ABs everywhere.

 

‘Days of Our Lives’ Tackles Autism June 24, 2008

So it seems that ‘Days of Our Lives,’ that bastion of fine contemporary drama, plans to “tackle Autism” with a storyline revolving around the parents of a 3-year-old child who receives an Autism diagnosis. I’ll give you three guesses which organization the show is partnering with to produce this storyline, and the first two don’t count.
 

That’s right– Dena Higley, mother of a child with Autism and Days Of Our Lives’ head writer, is partnering with Autism Speaks to “ensure the storyline contains realism and sensitivity.” Of course, that’s when Autism Speaks isn’t too busy sending their lawyers to intimidate real, live, speaking Autistic teens and adults and allies who criticize the organization.

 

A quick run down of questions that weren’t asked in the Today Show interview:

 

“Dena, how does your 19-year-old son, Connor, a college student and athlete with Autism, feel about the portrayal of Theo on Days of Our Lives?”

 

“Dena, how does your 19-year-old son, Connor, feel about the organization Autism Speaks?”

 

“Dena, did any person with Autism play a role in ensuring that the storyline ‘contains realism and sensitivity?'”

 

“Dena, has ‘Days of Our Lives’ ever hired a writer with a disability?” 

 

“Dena, doesn’t it strike you as strange that an organization called ‘Autism Speaks’ employs only neurotypical people to speak for Autism?”

 

Is it so hard to understand?  Really! I can be somewhat sympathetic to the neurotypical view that Autism must be difficult to live with, if one has never met a happy Autistic person, and I can understand that it’s not a big jump for many NTs from the reasonable ‘It would be nice if people with Autism could live with more autonomy if they wish to do so,’ to ‘Let’s cure Autism,’ but how is it that people just don’t even wonder why they’ve never heard someone with Autism thank Autism Speaks for their hard work in attempting to eradicate the condition that makes her who she is?