Bad Attitudes: An Uninspiring Podcast About Disability

Episode 33: Shit The Ableds Say

April 04, 2022 Laura Stinson Season 2 Episode 10
Bad Attitudes: An Uninspiring Podcast About Disability
Episode 33: Shit The Ableds Say
Show Notes Transcript

The Ableds say a lot of shit. In this episode we run down some of their most popular verbal faux pas. Be sure to let me know what I missed so I can do a part 2!


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[rock guitar music]

MALE VO [00:03]
This is Bad Attitudes.

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LAURA [00:20]
Hello friends and strangers! Welcome to another episode of Bad Attitudes: An Uninspiring Podcast about Disability. I’m your host, Laura.

The last episode was pretty heavy, so I thought we’d go with something a little lighter today.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Stephanie Morley. Thank you, Stephanie!

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As always, I want to remind you that disability is not a monolith. My experience as a disabled person is going to be different from the experiences of other disabled people. I am one voice for the disabled community but I am not the only voice.

Non-disabled people have a LOT to say when it comes to the disabled community. And most of the time they should just keep their mouths shut. Today we’re gonna run down some of the shit the Ableds have to say and tell them where to stick it.

You don’t look disabled.

You don’t look like a moron, but here we are. It’s a pretty good bet that you don’t have the credentials to determine whether someone “looks” disabled or not. Invisible disabilities exist. Chronic illnesses exist. And there is no one way to be disabled. If you think someone doesn’t look disabled, keep it to yourself. It’s none of your business.

I don’t see you as disabled.

*Gestures wildly to her wheelchair* You don’t see this? Do we need to be having a conversation about your visual impairment, or what? When you say you don’t see disability what you’re saying is that you are CHOOSING to ignore something that is foundational to my existence, and you are CHOOSING to pretend it doesn’t exist. Just like saying you don’t see color in discussions on race, this kind of statement has the opposite effect of what you’re intending. You either acknowledge our reality, or you try to erase a crucial element of our development.

Have you tried…?

Yoga. Meditation. Essential oils. Standing on your head during the equinox. I mean, I’ve only been dealing with my disability for decades and thousands of doctors’ appointments, but sure, I bet you have a better idea than all those medical professionals and researchers and ME, even though this is my actual life.

I’ve mentioned before that I have osteogenesis imperfecta, which is brittle bone disease. When I was a teenager, someone asked why my doctors hadn’t just tried milk. Amazingly, even with all their medical degrees and living in the age of “Milk: it does a body good” commercials, it never occurred to us. Good catch.

I broke my leg once so I totally understand what you’re going through.

No, no you don’t. One thousand percent you have no idea. Stop talking.

You should exercise more.

Look, Tom Cruise, no amount of endorphins is going to cure a disability or chronic illness. Losing weight is not going to cure a disability or chronic illness. I’ll just be thinner and still disabled. Move along.

You are so lucky…

That you get to sit down all day. That you don’t have to go to work. That you can spend all day in bed. Hey, remember 2020 when you couldn’t go anywhere or do ANYTHING? Did that feel lucky to you? That’s what life feels like for disabled and chronically ill people almost ALL the time. You think it’s a privilege being able to do nothing, but doing nothing includes not getting to do things you WANT to do. You don’t get to avoid just the unpleasant tasks. You avoid ALL THE THINGS.

Any phrase with the word “speed” in it.

Speedy. Speed demon. Speed racer. Speeding ticket. That’s not the first time we’ve heard it, you are not clever or funny, and we’re only going this fast to get away from you.

Do you have a license for that thing?

Do you really think you’re the first person to come at us with these? If you’re going to ask a stupid question, at least make it original.

My friend is disabled. Do you know them?

There isn’t a CLUB. All the disabled people you’ve ever encountered don’t get together every month and talk about being disabled. Not all gay people know each other, not all black people know each other, not all disabled people know each other. Do you see a pattern?

Can I take a ride in your wheelchair?

I’m sorry, I think you’ve mistaken me for a used car lot. We’ve all done it. When I was younger, I let my friends take my chair for a spin. But these were my friends, not some randos off the street. Wheelchairs, especially custom chairs, are fucking expensive and they are NOT toys. I don’t care if you or your kid thinks it’s cool.

You’re really good at driving that thing.

Want to see my blood pressure rise before your very eyes? Say this to me about my wheelchair. OF COURSE I’m good at driving it, I’ve been using it for almost 40 years. Me maneuvering my wheelchair is not a talent, it’s a survival skill. It is how I get through the world. I don’t compliment you on walking without falling down. But I will push you over. 

You’re too pretty to be disabled.

What the fuck does this even mean? Are you saying all disabled people are ugly? Or that only ugly people are allowed to be disabled? Explain to me HOW this is meant to be a compliment. Explain it to me like I’m five.

You could walk if you tried harder.

And you could be smarter if you tried harder. Maybe.

You’re lucky you get to park so close.

You’re right! This bitching parking spot totally makes up for all the rampant ableism and inaccessibility across society! Score!

You could be worse off.

Yeah, I could be you.

I know I didn’t hit them all. Some I’m holding back for another episode, but I’m sure shit has been said that even I am not aware of. Tell me all the ridiculous things non-disabled people have said to you and maybe I’ll make a part two. After all, the ableds have always got shit to say.

Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you in the next one.

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