(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 06:36 pm (UTC)
leora: A girl in a garden on a swing. The setting is dusky and somewhat fantasyish. (reveries)
From: [personal profile] leora
I think there are a few key issues.

First, it's annoying when people make assumptions, so the rules are different when discussing yourself versus talking about someone else. If you're talking about yourself and saying, "it won't hurt me to do that" or "it's easy for me to read that sign from here" or whatever, that's less likely to be annoying than if you tell someone else what they can do. It's really annoying to be told what you can do when the person is wrong. So, if someone else says, "you'll easily be able to see the building once you get off the train" well, that can be an obnoxious assumption. And even worse if they have no vision at all. Likewise, telling someone else that a place is easily affordable rather than telling them the price range is really annoying as "easily affordable" is highly variable.

Next there is rubbing someone's face in it. This isn't likely to be an issue if you just say something like, I'm really enjoyed my trip to the art museum. But if you're regularly discussing the stuff you do and the other person can't, well, then you may want to ask them how they feel about it. Personally, I just accept it, because if I asked my friends to not tell me things about their activities that I can't do, then there would be hardly any communication at all. Sure I get envious now and then, but I can handle it. And my disabilities are so extreme that it would destroy most ability to have a conversation. For example, you couldn't talk about school, work, sports, going for a leisurely walk, working through interesting math problems, playing on swings, riding most rides at an amusement park, leaving the house on a regular basis, etc. It just becomes ridiculous. I accept that life goes on for other people, and I don't want to be entirely cut out of it, although I don't really have the energy to be much a part of it.

Finally, there are metaphors. Different people with disabilities have different feelings about this. Most blind people will find it more annoying if you avoid expressions like, "Nice to see you again". But most other disabled groups seem to dislike these. So, saying that something is "lame" to mean it's bad or pathetic is disliked by some people. Similarly calling someone or yourself a "spaz" or a "retard" is often considered rude (unless you actually are spastic, but don't call someone who is a "spaz"). Me, I turn a blind eye toward most of those things. But some people dislike using disabilities as metaphors for badness or ignorance.

Honestly, I'm going to think, "if only I weren't disabled" whether you actively state things you can do or not. So, I'm not too worried about being reminded that I'm disabled. I'm really not about to forget. And I do try to focus on the good aspects of my life. Disability sucks, but it didn't remove all of the goodness from my life.

On a side note, the first issue means that really it should be taken into consideration when talking with anyone. What's annoying isn't that someone didn't know I was disabled when they assumed that I could do something, but that they regularly assume that everyone is as able-bodied as they are when they talk. I want people to not make that assumption in general. To not assume they know what someone else can or can't do. To say things like, well, it's 4 blocks away and I consider it easy walking distance, you can decide if that's a comfortable walking distance for you. Rather than people saying, oh, it's definitely within walking distance. "walking distance" is an annoyingly variable concept, much like "reasonably priced" or "affordable".
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