Language is powerful and the words we use make a difference. That’s why we need to be careful to examine the words we use when we talk about disability and people with disabilities.
Ableism in its simplest form, is discrimination toward disabled people. But it encompasses so much more than what you might assume.
People are curious about what they don’t know. I get it. I’m curious to know what a wooly mammoth feels like, and how people can read my emotions so accurately just by the way I move my face. [How does one raised eyebrow say so much?]
It’s always puzzled me, when watching interviews with artists and musicians who’ve made it big in the industry, that almost without fail, the interviewer asks a question along the lines of, “What would you do if you hadn’t pursued music?”
My high school history teacher said there would come a time that I’d need to understand politics. And although I know bits and pieces of governmental bodies and systems, I can’t participate in dinner table discussions or understand news articles in a way I always hoped to. I want to learn more.
I was asked to give a speech to a friend’s Rotary club on accessibility this week. Having been given free reign within that wide-as-the-world topic, I decided to speak about something that is near and dear to my heart as a disabled woman.
I am not a good traveller. As a kid, there was nothing more exciting than waking up at 3 AM, dragging my suitcase down the stairs (and usually over someone’s toe, oops), and heading off on some grand adventure.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told, “You’re not made of sugar, you won’t melt” and sent out into the pouring rain. I have… looking at you, Mama! But you know what? Cover your ears Mom… but she was right. We won’t melt. I have never once melted from excessive moisture or soaked-sock syndrome.