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  • Tag Archives disability
  • Stigma Around Pointing Out the Obvious

    One of the things in the NT world is there is blow back for pointing out the obvious.  For example:

    “Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not. All sensation and consciousness ends with death and therefore in death there is neither pleasure nor pain” – Epicurus

    An after life is an NT thing, people on the spectrum generally only believe in things that have been shown to be true by scientific evidence.  My grandma just died and I’d like to think she is in heaven but you know what, heaven is a fantasy.  That doesn’t mean that people don’t have the capacity to believe it is real.  It’s just that that takes faith which I do not have.  If there is no evidence for something, it’s not true.  The thing is, if I pointed this out to my immediate and extended family who are mostly all Christian, they would have a fit.  I think this is because they know deep down that faith is the only thing keeping their belief in heaven intact.  If they were to let their guard down and lose this faith then they would be back to where I am believing only in things that have been shown to be true by scientific evidence.

    The other thing I wish people would have let me know that I would never get a job above a janitor job because of my visible visual impairment physical disability.  My dad did mention this once in 2002 after me talking to him for a long time but I didn’t take it to heart.  The thing about unwritten rules is NT’s want the world to appear more just than it really is so when someone outs some unwritten rules that show it to be less just, they are not looked kindly upon.  If I would have known I could never get a job because of my thick glasses I would have invested my time and energy elsewhere.  No point in learning programming if you aren’t going to be able to get a job in it due to a disability.



  • Disability… in Slow Motion

    Pretend intelligence is smartphone quality.  The better quality the smart phone the faster frames per second it can record.  So for example you can do super slow motion shots of people jumping off the diving board with the most expensive phones.  Now bring it back to intelligence, the smarter you are the more information you can process in the same amount of time.  So you could say a smart person trusting their “instinct” is processing a huge amount of information on the fly.

    So what does this have to do with disability?  Well, unlike racial prejudice, disability based prejudice doesn’t go down as much as IQ goes up.  I think this is because disability introduces some additional negativity and fries people’s sacred cows on the griddle.  During the process of encountering a person with a disability, intelligent people are unconsciously thinking things like the below.  It’s kind of like a row of balloons being popped in this OK Go Video.

    • I have innate worth.  A person with a disability really puts to the test the idea that everyone has innate worth which deep down most people know is a lie.  But this person is shoving this lie in your face by showing you a test case of someone who, if innate worth were true, you would think would be worth something.  But in acknowledging this individual’s worthlessness you acknowledge that your worth is based on function and nothing more.  But this is not something you appreciate being shoved in your face.
    • I can express myself in any way I choose and still be accepted.  Individuals with disabilities also test the limits of free expression.  What you find is that just like tan skin is tolerated but only if you’re not a minority, disability is only accepted if it is seen as temporary.  So for example if you have a cast on your arm but are expected to heal people will treat you well but if there is something wrong with you they perceive to be permanent then they won’t.  “You do you” only applies to things that aren’t irreversible (for example a funky hairdo).  As an individual with a disability you understand how life giving conformity is and see through the “be yourself” ruse normal people are never required to.
    • I want to bring children into this world.  Almost everyone becomes a temporary antinatalist (someone who thinks procreating is cruel) when they encounter an individual with a disability.  I always thought “I wish you were never born” was communicated through disability based prejudice (as opposed to race based prejudice which is “I wish you’d die”). Disability reminds people that their life, on balance, could contain way more suffering than joy. And why would you bring anyone into this world if that was what was waiting for them? Of course after the encounter with an individual with a disability ends instead of moving towards antinatalism these people project their negativity on that individual. And why not? Cognitive dissonance is experienced as emotional pain by most people.
    • Medical science can fix people good enough to function as good as new in society.  As an individual with a disability I have gotten this one a few times.  On a diet of seeing shiny new smartphones we’ve been brought up on this narrative that science is going to fix everything which is far from the case.  For both my disability and mental illness I’m basically using treatments that were invented in the 90’s.  And I’m the lucky one, for others there are even less treatment or none at all.
    • God can heal people.  People of faith (particularly Charistmatic Christians) do not like encountering individuals with disabilities because they demonstrate God’s inaction in action.  A question mark is an enemy of most people of faith and a question that gets brought up is, “what does God really promise?”.  If nothing, is the faith really worth it?


  • The Myth of Disability ‘Sob Stories’

    Insightful post on disability:

    But most people with disabilities will not be remembered by history. They are usually living challenging lives with little to show for it: Unemployment rates are disturbingly high, health care costs are often debilitating, and the emotional toll of living with an “aberration” can rend families apart. The only thing that a fidelity to positive stereotypes accomplishes, then, is to absolve society of maintaining commitments to the disabled, like making places more accessible, since it would be ridiculous to aid people who already have a leg up with added perks.



  • Prayer

    Praying in Faith
    Long ago, I lost the luxury of being able to pray without faith.  While you may think praying in faith is a sign of spiritual maturity, for me it was just a sign of desperation.  I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere in this ableism-soaked world without Red-Sea-parting divine intervention.  I don’t think praying in faith is expecting what you get, I think it is more akin to the analogy below:

    Imagine feeling quite ill with some kind of a disease; you have no idea what it is.  Fortunately that day you are visiting a friend who is a doctor.  During the visit you never successfully steer the conversation towards your illness.  After the visit you’d most likely experience emotional pain and this would show that you had faith in your friend’s ability as a doctor.

    And therein lies the gotcha–it HURTS to pray in faith.  It is a lot less hurtful to pray without faith and if I had that ability I think it might have saved me from leaving Christianity.

    Public Prayer
    Imagine a basketball team with players so insecure that they never attempted a shot unless it was at such an easy vantage point that they were sure it would go in, or so far from the basket that it wouldn’t hurt their self-esteem if they missed because there was no chance of the ball going in anyway.  I feel the church is like this with prayer.  They tend to reserve prayer for crises that are likely to be resolved and situations so desperate, no one will be offended if the prayer goes unanswered.  The chronic conditions (which generally don’t respond kindly to prayer) get overlooked.  When was the last time you heard your pastor pray for someone with chronic unemployment, chronic pain, or a disability that continually destroyed their livelihood.  Chances are, you haven’t, and for a good reason.  If we prayed for things like this, it would give us a more realistic picture of prayer’s effectiveness.  A picture none of us would like to see.

     

    Why Prayer is Counterproductive

    Prayer makes you think you did something when you didn’t do anything.  Doing something that does nothing is not harmful in and of itself.  What is harmful is when you think the thing you did (that didn’t do anything) did something.  You do this thing at the expense of things that could have done something.  For example, you think, because you signed an online petition to recall a Republican governor (which does nothing) you don’t have to sign an actual paper petition (that does something).

    Prayer engenders a frame of mind not conducive to solving problems.  Rationality and goal-orientation are generally agreed upon ways of tackling tasks.  Prayer teaches us to “have faith”.  Specifying a timeframe for a prayer’s answer or progress targets is considered a lack of faith (and can nullify the prayer).  However, these things are just what are needed when one goes about approaching a problem logically.  Worse, the frame of mind prayer produces can often cause us to gloss over others’ problems–”God” must be taking care of it–as opposed to the skeptic who might ask for an updated, rationality-generated progress report.

    Prayer engenders this pernicious idea that life is not a zero-sum game.  A zero-sum game is this idea that there are limited resources–that we all can’t have everything because the cosmos would have no way of sustaining it–and that me having something often necessitates you lacking it.  For example, you and a spouse are sleeping together on a cold night and there is one blanket on the bed which is only big enough to keep one of you fully warm.  The idea of prayer is that God is some celestial chef ready to cook you up anything out of nothing.  But in most cases when your prayer is answered it is at the expense of someone else.  For example, when you get that good job, someone else stays unemployed.  When you get that nice house, you outbid someone else who has to rent, when you get that beautiful wife, someone else ends up single for longer if not indefinitely.  On a more global level Christians have been taught to subdue the earth and that God creates good things out of nothing.  This idea has permeated American culture to the detriment of the environment.

    Prayer adds to the weight of ableism.  Individuals with disabilities in Christian circles are often looked down upon because they somehow couldn’t get their disability prayed away.

    More on prayer.



  • if you have a visible disability it’s your responsibility to make others comfortable with it

    With a visible disability your every interaction with the world is an incursion.  Your disability makes others in the room uncomfortable and it is incumbent upon you to put them at ease.  My little brother actually brought this to my attention when he hurt his hand a couple of years ago.  The hand looked awkward while it was healing (he called it an alien baby hand though I couldn’t tell anything was wrong). Now my little brother has good social skills so has no problem scoping out the room and finding a fitting way to put the people in the room at ease with this hand.  Unfortunately as an aspie I do not have this skill.  When I was a child people were more direct about my disability (very thick glasses) so I could clear the air and then they were fine with it.  As an adult people are more obtuse, without the directness I’m lost—and I lose.



  • Pay

    Here is an email I wrote to a company that discriminated against me on the basis of disability.  I was fully qualified for the job but did not get it.  They kept the position open awhile after so I know they didn’t find someone better.

    You may or may not remember me but I applied for a job at your shop in ’08 and was not hired.  At the time I thought it was disability discrimination, now I’m not as sure, but the whole process of being fully qualified for a job and not getting it hurt and demoralized me so much that, after another year and a half of unsuccessful interviews, I gave up and went on disability.

    All this to say you pay an individual with a disability either way.  You hire them and get an honest day’s work from them or you don’t and your taxes go to keeping them on the dole.  I have cost the government ~$20k in payments and ~$32k in insurance expenses.  I’m not particularly proud of this either–I’d rather build a life in a way that would elicit respect from my fellow man.

    You guys do good work and I’m sure will stay in business for a long time.

    I actually still work some but don’t get insurance with my job so to keep my insurance I have to claim I’m disabled.