I think this article is making two unrelated arguments. I agree that the slogan "the only disability is a poor attitude" is entirely offensive. But, I'm not sure it's so terrible and demeaning for able-bodied people to find a disabled person inspiring. I walk with braces and crutches, often painfully, and it IS more difficult for me to get to (and perform) my daily job than it is for most people -- a LOT more difficult. I find it hard to be offended if someone expresses admiration for my efforts.
Here's another example: Years ago, when I was in a particularly despairing mood about my disability, I saw Christopher Reeve appear on stage for the first time after his accident, on TV, smiling broadly. Did I demean him by feeling inspired by his smile, because it helped me to think that if he could smile like that, without being able to move most of his body, then maybe I would be able to find moments of happiness too? Am I a bad person for reacting that way?
I do like the article and the points that it lays out; all valid and well said, but I did get a little confused when the author went to make the closing argument. Maybe I just read it wrong or something, so maybe someone could help me understand what she was trying to get across at the end.
From what I understand, the article says in summary that, "My everyday life in which I do exactly the same things as everyone else should not inspire people, and yet I am constantly congratulated by strangers for simply existing." (P15 lines 1&2) But at the end of the article, the author says "The statement "the only disability in life is a bad attitude" puts the responsibility for our oppression squarely at the feet, prosthetic or otherwise, of people with disabilities. It's victim blaming. It says that we have complete control of the way disability impacts our lives. To that, I have one thing to say. Get stuffed." (P 20 lines 1-4) And the definition of the word 'disabled' to me (this could be my issue, that maybe I might be using a different definition of 'disabled' than the author), is simply "anything that puts one at a disadvantage in theory". Many times a disability is defined by oneself and not so to another, so again, in theory or theoretically a disadvantage.
Now, the part that confuses me is that the author originally said that people with disabilities living normal lives shouldn't be categorized as 'brave', 'inspirational', etc., and should be just considered as normal as anyone else. As she says with the 'normal' being defined differently for each person, such as the little girl drawing with her mouth being normal for her as drawing with our hands is to us, then wouldn't the quote from Scott Hamilton still hold true? If people with a disability can just as easily lead normal lives as anyone else, and have the right to feel and act as freely as anyone else without being criticized as "'bad' disabled people", then doesn't that mean that what we choose to be or how we choose to see the world mean that it is the only disability that matters (in this context)?
Again, got confused by the last couple of paragraphs, but this is how this article reads out to me. Am I missing a key part somewhere?
|German-English Dictionary: I only speak a little German English|
Which brings us back to Scott Hamilton and his mantra. The statement "the only disability in life is a bad attitude" puts the responsibility for our oppression squarely at the feet, prosthetic or otherwise, of people with disabilities. It's victim blaming. It says that we have complete control of the way disability impacts our lives. To that, I have one thing to say. Get stuffed.
You've heard of him, I'm sure. He's the one who said "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." You know, that quote that's plastered all over pictures of disabled people doing completely normal things and shared far and wide on social media.