A Grass Roots Question

Cover of Planet of the Blind....man and dog....

Some days social media feels like the playgrounds of youth. I used to get beat up out there. Sometimes the abuse was merely verbal.

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I was a disabled kid in a “normal” public school long before the ADA. I knew about “trolling” before it had a name. Facebook and Twitter offer bullies playgrounds where they can name call anyone because the adults are smoking Lucky Strikes behind the bleachers.

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Happy the man or woman or trans person or non-binary or cripple or queer person who sees the playground for what it is: a mausoleum with toys.

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It’s easy but dangerous to confuse social facts with social ideas. Disability for instance is a societal arrangement driven by medicine. When physically arrested humans can’t be cured they become an idea—one might say an idee fix.

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I’m asked all the time if there’s a better term for disability and my response is to say the disabled should be called “citizens” for this marks the problem with the confusion named above.

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All physical differences are merely notional. Turn this on its head (so to speak) and you discover the steepness of disability is no more credible than other notorious social ideas—childhood comes to mind—before the Enlightenment children were nonexistent.

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One is forced to ask why there’s so little imagination going around—the idee fix is one great big muscle of confusion. Part of the problem is that in much of the world childhood is believed to be a matter of prospect. The child is a unit of probable production and so probability enters the idee fix—disability is presumed to be devoid of growth. its chilling when you see it.

What can we do about the broad confusion of disability and insignificance? This is a grass roots question.

Author: skuusisto

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

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