Should I Identify as a Beggar?

It’s axiomatic among disability activists and scholars to employ the term “cripple” as a useful identifier. The term is edgy, ironic, and instantly reflects the most egregious elements of ableism. As Nancy Mairs said famously: “As a cripple I swagger.” 

Lately I”ve been thinking that really, given the wholesale destruction of the safety net in the US, it’s probably time to move from being a cripple to embrace the obvious—I’m a beggar. 

As Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are ravaged, pillaged, set ablaze, there’s no better self declaration than “beggar” and if there isn’t any swagger to it, there’s at least a mirror held up in the faces of Republicans who, after all, want us disabled types back in the streets where they believe we belong.


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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