Ableism in Action – These are comments from my recent CNN article on Kanye West. These are not trolls. These are people genuinely trying to express their thinking. Italics are me. Many of the issues here relate back to my post on “Hidden Disabilities,” featuring longer comments from readers.
hgflyer lollardfish • 7 minutes ago
While I can appreciate your article, and while I am mostly sympathetic, I cannot get on board with handicapped parking. I feel that item should be removed from the ADA, thinking that if you’re disabled to the point that you need a special parking spot, then you probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car.
If you need a special spot, you shouldn’t drive
Aaarghhh! These kinds of articles are so irritating. It’s obvious to anyone but the most rigidly humorless that George Takei wasn’t accusing a woman of faking a disability (who would choose a wheelchair over walking?) but rather MAKING A JOKE! Kanye, clumsily, was doing the same. Part of the reason that people recognize those names (along with those like George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, and hundreds of others) is that they don’t conform to your uptight standards of what is verbally permissible. A real society needs that, not your neverending list of nonos and restrictions.
People give dirty looks to people who walk comfortably from their handicap spots because they support the handicapped, not because they think they are all faking. Many of those people use their relatives’ handicap tags, some of whom have already died. The bureaucracy is lax and we all know it. As the son of a person in a wheelchair, I had to park many times in a regular spot and struggle to get her out because the handicapped spots were full. I didn’t give the young healthy people in the handicap spots dirty looks, but I had a few choice thoughts for them. If you actually know a person with a serious physical handicap, they will tell you being “forced to prove their handicap” is the least of their worries.
Please stop trying to correct everyone’s behavior and stop comedians from making jokes. You’re a bore and an annoyance.
Interestingly, the people with serious hidden disabilities tell me that being forced to prove their disability is one of their most stressful worries. “It was only a joke,” furthermore, is the cry of the abuser or the enabler of abuse.
Few months back, I saw some young adult park in a handicap spot at the grocery store, get out of his car and run into the store as he was apparently in a hurry. This is not an isolated incident. Getting a handicap sticker for your car is very easy – and I’ve seen too many folks who get out of there car and move just fine abusing the process. There should be some stricter standards.
Again, parking is the the thing everyone focuses on. It has a semiotic value that’s fascinating. The wheelchair symbol carries power but limits our understanding of what disability /is/.
Lilly Que • 44 minutes ago
Stupid! I’ve never seen or heard ANYONE question a person’s disability. You are making a problem where one does not exist. And Kanye is nothing but a pathetic narcissist. Those people paid for their seats not the other way around and if someone wants to sit, lie, or jump up and down on that seat, or not, it’s none of his business.
Kanye is the problem, not society
It’s a two way street. There are those that claim disability that are not disabled so they can get free money. In turn, this causes many to question the actual disabled because of the stigma associated with it. Claiming disability has been the new form of welfare since the late 90s and many of us that have worked in the field have seen it first hand. It’s unfortunate but it’s also real. I feel bad for those with “invisible” disabilities but I believe you’re pointing the finger at the wrong people. It’s those that abuse the system that have caused the crooked stares.
Come to my Facebook page, read the comments from people with hidden disabilities, and you’ll see that these people above are mistaken.
4 Replies to “Highlights from CNN comments – #AbleistAbuseIs”
Handicapped parking is not necessarily for the driver, it for the handicapped person that might be in the vehicle. Whether that person drives or not, the general public does not have the right to dictate the level of disability, nor the right of that person to drive. Some of these comments show absolute ignorance about the subject.
I read this one the day you posted it, and it's come back to me a few times during the week. What I don't get is why parking spaces are so valued. It's a parking space. To most of us, a few square feet of real estate temporarily occupied while we run into the store for a few minutes, or shop/sight see for a few hours. It's not a treasure, it's not a winning lottery ticket, it's not an investment. It doesn't matter to me, as an able person, if I take THIS one here, or THAT one 20, 50, 70 feet away. Why would I have any objection to reserving the space for a person who perceives themselves as less able and more in need of it? Why would I bother to police just who that person might be and try to qualify them?
Thanks Mary. In some contexts, for commuters, a accessible parking tag could save 5 grand a year or so (I did some research). Generally, though, I agree – it's just a spot a little closer!!