Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I am a member of disability culture

I'm finally at a place in my life where I'm fairly comfortable with who I am. I feel like I have found where I "belong". I'm not just a person with disabilities (PWD). I choose to be a part of disability culture. If we all had to pick a category of people that we would call our own and remain with them and only them for the rest of our lives, I'm pretty sure that I'd cast my lot with other PWD.

Yeah, I know. I've made the argument that the oppression I face is multi-faceted. I catch hell as a women, as a person of color, as a PWD, as an unmarried mother. Solving the issues of just one of these groups will not end the oppression that I struggle against. I also have no desire to stop defining myself as a person with all of these labels as a part of my identity. I don't want people to stop seeing me as a person of color and a woman and a PWD. I'm just saying that, at this point in my life, when I hear about what's going on in the world, I will almost always think of how this is going to impact PWD.

I care about and consider how events and conditions affect people of color and women and economically-disadvantaged people and I write about these topics a good bit. However, I have noticed that, occasionally, the issues that loom large on the black blogosphere just don't get me as riled up as they do others. Sometimes I don't even hear about what the hell has been going on until way after the storm has passed. Like this "Dog the Bounty Hunter" foolishness. How did I not know anything about it until yesterday?

I've come to the conclusion that it's because I have to devote so much of focus on my health care issues. I've got doctor's appointments to make and attend, tests to have done, medications to take, pain to deal with. It's a never ending cycle, so it's become the sphere that I've learned to feel the most comfortable in. When I go some place where I don't know anyone, I find myself looking around for other PWD to help me get a feel for things. They are the ones who are most likely to have the sort of information I'd need like where the nearest bathroom is located, where would I find a water fountain in case I need to take meds, and stuff like that. That's the stuff that needs to be figured out before I can move on to deal with how the establishment feels about black people or women.


cripchick said...

you're the best, bint--glad to call you my sister. i like the point you make about how your identity is comprised of more than one identity. ableism is inherently tied to issues like classism, racism, and heterosexism.

Lisa Harney said...

I hear where you're coming from, although I had to have a radical feminist yelling about how trans politics are bad because they don't place cis women first to really get it.

Plus, as you point out, disability can eat up a lot of attention and time, and it's hard to focus on stuff that's less immediately important when you have to constantly deal with appointments, medication, pain management, access, and so on.