Friday, January 23, 2009

Activist Kick: More on Cheney's Wheelchair Use

Justice for All has an action alert on its website, complete with contact information, to protest MSNBC journalist Chris Matthew's description of Cheney's wheelchair as a negative metaphor.

See http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/01/action-alert-let-msnbcs-matthews-know-people-in-wheelchairs-are-not-pathetic-or-lowly.html

One year ago I started using my mobility scooter. Although I encountered physical barriers and attitudinal barriers immediately, the scooter allowed me to do quite a lot that was completely off limits to me in the previous 5 months. I was no longer housebound. It brought me joy. How could it be negative?

That the jokes and jabs about Cheney's wheelchair spilled out of people so quickly and automatically indicates how deeply ingrained such prejudices are. While people claim not to mean harm, their prejudice slides on out, to which we have the right to say, "excuse me, your prejudice is showing."

Little wonder that so many with disabilities refuse to self identify and that we see people who can't walk any distance at all who refuse to use wheelchairs. They'd rather be imprisoned than have mobility. It's their internalized prejudice that keeps them from using a wheelchair or identifying as disabled.

2 comments:

Donimo said...

I think your recent posts show that your recovery is going well. It seems like you have a good fire burning inside!

While I hate Cheney, the wheelchair jokes have been just awful. The Daily Show now uses an image of him in his chair whizzing by as a quick visual joke. Both shows also have been "joking around" in other frat boy offensive ways. Have they run out of steam now that Bush is gone and they are going for the "easy" jokes? Grow up, people. Get past it.

We need more than hope; we need inspired and informed growth.

FridaWrites said...

Yeah, my pain level is down substantially (spine pain too) and so I can concentrate a lot more. I read 180 pages today too! That my productivity goes right back up when I'm healthier is a good sign to me.

These kinds of media depictions worm their way into people's consciousness, making people think it's okay to make fun of disabled people.

I like that--inspired and informed growth.