I’ve been wanting to talk about Ferguson but I keep doubting myself.
I feel like if I am not black, if I wasn’t there, if I’m not part of that story, then I shouldn’t. I don’t have a right, none of us white folk do.
But then I take away the lens of race and replace it with disability and it’s all the same.
Michael Brown and Ethan Saylor are the same and the men who killed them walked away, it was the same process of jury, there was the same outcry in their respective communities and the hurt and injustice remains.
One man was black. One had Down syndrome.
And how do you reconcile that?
Or reconcile the countless other killings that have happened, of both blacks and disabled.
Blacks say that it’s a scary time to be black in America, especially to be black, male and large; I believe it. And I know that it’s a scary time in America to be autistic, or have Down syndrome or another intellectual disability.
It’s a scary time to be anything other than white, male and in power, frankly.
And why are we taking this shit? How can we even stop it? How can we not feel so powerless in the wave of something that we see or experience that feels so utterly wrong?
There was a great article on Quartz, 12 Things White People Can Do – I think most all of these are interchangeable with things people can also do to help the disability rights movement. They are simply things people can do to help understand another – including diversify your news source, examine the interplay of poverty and equity, learn the history of the oppression – what’s actually been going on, how it reached where it is. These kinds of tensions did not happen overnight.
Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.
This is a big one. It’s hard to be the only one standing up and speaking out.
I don’t know about you, but when I am the only one standing up and saying something, my voice shakes, I feel like crying or vomiting or both, I say the wrong thing and I kick myself halfway home on what I should have said or done. I am not an eloquent person, I am not articulate and I almost always offend someone by saying the exact wrong thing.
But I did not go through the windshield of a car when I was 4 years old and every other thing in my life to reach this point where I sit back and say that because I don’t say the right thing at the right time or because I’m not articulate, I’ll just sit back and not do or say anything at all.
That’s not the way it can work for me.
And I know that regardless of whether or not you have a disability or are a minority yourself, you have shit you are dealing with, because we ALL do. no-one is an exception to that rule.
I hope that you will read that article and find the ways that you can help, the things you can do. I hope we can reach across the divides that our bodies seem to bring – be it the way that we look, the colour of our skin, the way we hear, move, feel, think, breathe, see – these are our differences and yet – we were all created with the same materials.
Everyone is as they should be. I think if and when we truly get that, when we understand that from a fundamental, gut level, we’ll be in a far better place as a society. We can look at people who have Down syndrome or who are deaf or blind, paralyzed or using a wheelchair, people who have black skin or brown or caramel or butter – we can look at all of us in this human family and know that we all matter.
We were all created in the same way, with the same materials, only with infinitely different twists in the batter.
We are all as we should be.
Towards that, I want to share a video that perfects expresses that –
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. A day that is so full of ironies, I don’t know where to start. But the point of the day remains, right?
Be thankful for what we have.
I’m so thankful for you -reading this blog – thankful that many of you are opening up your hearts and minds to what I try to say in my fumbling way. I’m grateful that you give it – and me – a shot.
And if you take away only one thing from anything that I’ve said here in the past 7 years, I hope that it’s this: that we are all the way that we should be. That we all matter.