When I first saw this article, I expected either a lesson in politeness or a scolding of disabled people who are too proud to ask for help. Instead, Ghenis effectively balances the practicality of asking for help in a pinch, with recognition that pride and independent accessibility are still important. I especially appreciated the idea that “Respectful Thanks” means both respect for the person who helped you, and also for yourself.
This young woman has a better grasp on how she feels about her disability than I did until much later in my life. Even so, it’s hard to identify how her experiences match up with her suggestion. Her encounters with ableism seem to involve very specific misconceptions, while she attributes all of it to a very broad devaluation of disabled people that she says must change. I agree with her, but I get the feeling people will continue to do and say annoying things, even if they think better of us. It’s all a work in progress.
I enjoyed getting a taste of English football culture … which seems to be fundamentally different from other sports fandoms. But the real reason I posted this article here is item 5. People still question whether “ableism” is real, just as others unfortunately also doubt the current relevance of “racism.” If anyone tries to tell you that disabled people aren’t systematically treated like a different species, ask them to explain why sports mascots and other giant costume characters glom onto disabled people at every opportunity. And don’t say it’s harmless. It’s certainly a lot better than a beating, or losing a job opportunity, but let’s not underestimate the power of public humiliation, okay?