Perspective On Inclusion With Respect To Disability: “What Does Kindness Look Like?”

👆 the title of an article in TIME that caught my attention.

As a culture, Americans are convinced that disability is something they’ve figured out. How could ableism exist when we’ve memorized the rules? Don’t say the R word; don’t make fun; disability doesn’t define anyone; try to be helpful; and the rule that guides them all: be kind. I’ve seen so many people perform these creeds in one form or another.

Like the folks who try to do me a favor by keeping me separate from this disabled body of mine: All I see when I look at you is a beautiful woman. I don’t even notice your wheelchair! It’s meant as a kindness, but it feels like erasure.

I think I understand how it happens: if you live in a community where disability is framed as tragic and inferior, then claiming not to see that so-called defect feels like a favor. We try to extract the disability from the person, because we think disability is ugly, and the rules tell us this separation is nice. But do we attempt to extract thinness, Ivy League education or wealth from a person? Of course not. We see these characteristics as inherently positive. …

—Rebekah Taussig

I’m definitely buying her new book, “Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body.”