Monday, September 14, 2015

Wheelchaired Anger- for somebody else.

The response to our Wheelchaired For A Day challenge from the disability community has been overwhelmingly positive so far. In a manner that feels more like punishment or payback some have pointed out, that now the able-bodied get to experience what they've had to endure for years. Finally, someone will show them what it's like type of feedback. Others have asked about the program guidelines and how to launch it in their city. That their city should be next- a reaction we got from places across the country. The only people who have not gotten it and have a hard time getting it still, are the ones who themselves can walk. And this is strangest thing- those are the people that typically have a brother, a father, a best friend who is in a wheelchair. Through interaction or osmosis they believe they have absorbed the disability perspective without having to experience it themselves. They watch from the outside, so they assume they know what it's like. Yet, they refuse to try it and find out for themselves. Because they feel that being curious about what it's like is wrong. Like it takes away from what the brother, father, or friend experiences. These are the people that get outraged- but somebody else's behalf. And I have no use for that. I mean if a person in a wheelchair reached out to me and said- I don't like it when someone who walks tries to experience what I go through we could definitely talk about it. But when you get upset over experiences of other people because you assume you know what it's like, not something you know first hand but your interpretation of it, what you believe a person in a wheelchair should feel, well I don't know how to argue with that. Because I draw from my own life, things that actually happened to me and how they made me feel. I know I don't get enough understanding and empathy from my community for these types of causes so I'm trying to built up what I'm missing. The best way to have someone think of something is not talking to them about it, it's having them experiences. Those who refuse to do it because of the father, the brother, the uncle or a friend basically see a wheelchair as a taboo, as something shameful, as something we must tolerate because there's no alternative- but it seems to me, whether they admit it or not- they feel that being in a wheelchair itself is shameful. Most recently, our Drag Queen participant was nearly denied admission to the club and the DJ threatened to not play her music. And you have to wonder: What is this pushback? Why are those angry, negative reactions from non-wheelchair users so strong? Is it because they fear it? Is it because they see it as something final, they point of no return? I see it as a tool. One that helps me get around.

No comments:

Post a Comment