(The cover picture was intentionally cut off for all you judgy perfectionists ha! and yes, that IS me!)
It has been said many times that my chair ”disappears” when people engaged me in conversation. Although the reality of my scooter is so real that even Whodini couldn’t make it disappear. The spirit of the comment is that it becomes irrelevant to what I have to offer the conversation. I know, you’re thinking that it shouldn’t matter, but the fact is that it does. Ask the millions of wheelchair users who have difficulty getting hired despite their qualifications. Lets not even mention dating! Disabled people are unemployed and single more than any other underrepresented group. FACTS!
We all want to believe that we don’t discriminate but unfortunately, discrimination is a part of the human condition. We see the world based on our purview of experience and exposure. If the only people you have ever seen using a wheelchair have been helpless or any other adjective that you view as being weak, your brain will automatically categorize us as weak. If your mama told you not to look because that’s so “sad!” This creates Unconscious Bias. The key here is to notice it within yourself and make a different intentional choice to believe something different. It takes practice to catch yourself because these are long-standing beliefs you are challenging.
My scooter, whom I lovingly refer to as ”Bessy” is a very visible, necessary part of my life and independence. Without her, I would have to use a walker or crutches which would slow me down immensely and be unsafe for me in public. Truthfully when I am in public, it is difficult for people to separate me from Bessy. We are seen as an amoeba rolling along like a big glob of disabledness. People both stare and look away! That said, she (Bessy) is not WHO I AM! I am not my disability! I am not my scooter!
I believe my role (or roll) is to show those whose lives I touch a different reality. I want to represent the CreativelyAble community like a BOSS! I want to be a part of changing the perception and punch Darwin and his “theory” in the face!
If you cross paths with a visibly disabled person check your self! Think about the assumptions you make (in the privacy of your mind).
Click the link to re-read my blog post :
We are CreativelyAble!
- We are strong, intelligent, and beautiful!
- We deserve the best things in life!
- We are here!
- We want decisions about us to be about the content of our character, and/or our qualifications, not the complexity of our disability!
- We DO NOT want pity
- We DO want equality!
We appreciate that our disabilities become a non-issue when our intelligence, strength, and beauty are allowed to shine through. But, we should all acknowledge that unconscious bias is alive and well. Once YOU KNOW that you are making a biased assumption, or decision and continue anyway, you must accept your role in furthering racism, ableism, homophobia and other such societal nonsense!
Check yourself before you wreck someone else!
Let’s change the world by first changing ourselves.
Love, Light, and Non-biasedness!
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