My wife points out that often when I meet someone for the first time I often will announce that I’m a university professor before the conversation has gotten ankle deep. This drives my wife nuts, not because she thinks there’s anything wrong with being a professor, but because she sees me trying too hard to overcome the cultural bias that people with disabilities lack accomplishment. She’s right about this. Like so many people with disabilities I’ve overcome many obstacles both in acquiring my education and in the thing we call “the workplace”– as if the latter was a single location. And in turn I have some fears that my apparent visual impairment may mark me (to new acquaintances particularly) as being insufficient. What’s interesting about this from my perspective is that I know tons about cultural theory and disability; know lots about psychology and the importance of personal irony in the pursuit of professional and personal goals. But here I am, still working too hard (as my wife puts it) to hit people over the head with the ivory tower. The kid inside who had such a hard time with his disability still says over and over “take me seriously dammit!
Caught in this way you might not notice that people are taking you quite seriously– in effect you may miss the fact that you are properly understood.
In Disability Studies we call this the “Super Crip” phenomenon. It’s very hard to get out of in a society where 70% of people with disabilities remain unemployed.
If you want to get free, get free.