I think I have identified another one of my personal Disability "Red Flags":
It is when people with disabilities say how much they wish or hope for a cure or significant improvement in their conditions, not because they want to live easier and be more functional, but because they want to look more normal and be more socially accepted. I’m not against medical research, new therapies, or miracle technologies. What troubles me is the idea of a person taking all the responsibility for ending stigma and discrimination on themselves ... like a gay person answering homophobia by trying really hard not to “act gay”, or like an African-American who hates her heritage more than she hates racism.
Either way, it’s a choice, and I try not to judge anyone’s personal choices or motivations. I also believe it’s quite a different matter to pursue improvements that stand a decent chance of making your life easier and freer in a practical sense. Walking is, in many cases, (though not all!) more convenient than wheeling. It also helps to be able to control your disability-related quirks and oddities at times, in order to make necessary interactions easier.
But when you read articles and hear news stories about new treatments and technical breakthroughs that promise "hope" for disabled people, you tend to hear more about people’s self-image and social acceptance than you do about practical benefits.
I just feel it’s galling for people with disabilities to feel like they have to “fix themselves” to fit in better, a priority that seems to relieve everyone else of the responsibility for, you know, being shitty to disabled people. Sadly, it seems like I hear this the most from parents of little kids with disabilities, and from older children and youth with disabilities. Shame and self-loathing runs deep, and “hope” for this or that condition seems to be all about a vision of some perfect “normalcy” that’s mostly a mirage, and not even a very important goal in the long run.
Disability life, ideas, identity, culture, commentary, and politics.