Saturday, June 6, 2015

Disabled People and No Pity (A Documentary by Drew Morton Goldsmith)

This film made by an autistic man explores the Disability Right's Movement and how people with autism and others are standing up today against discriminatory advertising by charity organizations.  The 1970s to me almost seem halcyon as I remember that was a time when the disabled were more welcomed into the job fields and there was some progress made. I do think there has been some regression since then. One thing that worries me is people judge the disabled very harshly and there is a stigma. The work world and other areas of society, have become less inclusive of the disabled though many within the disabled rights movement are working hard to change this.

 While some are kind if you have visible disabilities in American society it can be hard. Especially with the human potential/positive thinking movement, New Age thoughts and beliefs and consumerist society saying that you can "think" or "buy" your way into a more perfect way of being. Many Aspies know about the controversies with Austim Speaks. Most disabled people just want to be able to live life doing the best they can, and not having to overcompensate to keep people happy. It can be a hard balance. Many people with disabilities or severe chronic illnesses know they have to be "more together" to be deemed acceptable. We can't cry or have an off day. The judgments are far more severe.

One thing if someone is viewed via the lens of pity, pity wears out, you are not seen as an "equal" person worthy in your own human dignity. It is not having an equal relationship with people. You are seen as an "inferior". Remember pity is different from sympathy. It puts you in the place of begging for your inclusion. Here too people can fool you, you think you are accepted as a regular human being but you learn quite differently. Your differences remain central in their vision.  You are an object of pathos where they can kick you around. Having to try so hard all the time to make up for these things wears the disabled out. For an Aspie, it can be a nightmare. 

There are a lot of societal pressures on the disabled where they are viewed as "burdens" and for those of us too sick to make a living as "mooches". Many of us suffer greatly under these judgments. I think about those who are so much in a hurry to condemn me as a "slave" to the social security system and who said so openly.  This happened with the one friendship that recently ended. These people must want us to live in the gutter.

I get tired. You ask yourself, "Are you doing enough?". No one cares if you do art work or have volunteered or write blogs and try to remain active as possible, what you DO for a living matters most in this world. My husband the other day says he gets tired of people who only identify people by what they do for a living.  I worsened things trying to explain my life to people, telling them yes I have to take to my bed some days and about being housebound from the breathing issues whenever the weather was too hot or cold. I know now, most didn't get it. It was a waste of my breathe.

 I had the family call me a loser and a mooch, the Republican party joins in on that fray. I know these things have greatly hurt me badly but I will tell you this many of us disabled are getting frightened and privately talk about how society is changing and how we are hated.  If you are sick it is your fault. I have socially withdrawn some lately, I got very worn out. If I don't crack up from my 20 years of being an Aspie circus fat lady, it will be a miracle. The lines of chattering middle class types who don't even understand 1 percent of my reality have fatigued me. Society seems more and more conformist then ever, this is making things rougher on the disabled and those with any differences.

What gets me though, is no one ever speaks of making changes to the job system to make it more inclusive to the disabled. The growing narcissism in the work world is working against this. Today if you have minor health problems or are aging, many of the narcissistic employers don't want to bother with you. So what happens to the fully disabled? I really am in no shape to work but when I was fighting off going on disability, cloaking like mad too in the work world to hide the Aspergers, I went to Vocational Rehabs, and basically was just tossed out into the regular workaday world, there was no extra help. Most of them prior to my lipedema diagnosis just yelled at me to lose weight. I basically learned to stay off the streets taking jobs no one else wanted working with violent youth. That is how I formed an extraordinarily different career before the illnesses took over.

There are no job programs that are real for the disabled except some developmentally delayed job centers anymore. Non-profits are usually more open to the disabled who are healthy enough for work, but it's far harder in the private sector. I used to see more disabled employees there, 20 years ago.

One burden on the disabled is that you have to be "extra-special" or "talented" to be worthwhile, have you noticed in the media extremely talented and accomplished disabled people are marched out before the world? Sure heroes are a good thing to motivate, but we rarely see normal everyday disabled people in the media. To me that is a glaring omission. Why don't we see people of various disabilities presented beyond a person in a wheelchair that may pop up on Sesame Street every now and then?

Things need to change for the disabled more. Many are speaking up.

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