A List

The other day I came across this:

This is my unsurprised face  :- l

Showed it to Awesome Carer and she said: “I can’t believe people don’t realise what they’re saying.”

My face went  :- / (That’s skepticism, I swear)

I know educating asshats isn’t my responsibility, but I’m feeling magnanimous today.  So here are some things I’d quite happily never hear people say by “accident”/out of ignorance/as a “friendly” joke.

How Not To Be An Asshat: Disability Edition *

  1.    You got a license for that thing? I don’t know, do you have a license for your legs? I am not driving a car and I have as much right to be on the pavement as you do. I know, I know you’re just trying to be funny. Clue: ITS NOT.
  2.  Blah blah blah women drivers… Moar funny jokez- with bonus sexism- yaaaay!
  3. Don’t run me over! – Okay, my spatial awareness is non-existent and I might nudge you slightly, and be highly apologetic afterward, but you, Random Stranger, don’t know that. Say it with me: Not. Funny.
  4. What’s wrong with you? Do you want a list? Oh, you mean why can’t I walk? Why does it matter? What gives you the right to my medical history? However,  I will accept this question under  certain circumstances

a)      From a friend, if the subject comes up in conversation

b)      Instead  of Creepy Staring- I’ll take pretty much any question over Creepy Staring

5.  What does {she} want? I get this one a depressing amount. What exactly abou wheelchair + carer= person unable to make decisions for themselves? Go ahead, ask- but expect stare of death from awesome carer, and an exaggeratedly polite response from me

6. You’re so inspirational– because I’m a great friend, occasionally funny and a fount of random knowledge?  Or because I exist. For a more in depth and articulate explanation of why this is a problem please read this

7.       You’re so brave– Actually, I’m almost pathologically avoidant- just ask my therapist. Those obstacles I overcome, those times I fight to get the things I need, that’s  what is necessary for existing in an ableist world.

8.       I’m sure you can manage {to get in random building/do this thing} If friends say this, I know it’s because they’ve scoped out the situation with me in mind. If you tell me this after  found out that I can’t and I’ve told you I can’t, it’s implying I don’t know what I need/ am able to do. Don’t

9.       Anything- in a loud and slow voice–  leaving aside the  problematic assumption of physical disability= mental handicap, why do people think loud and slow= understandable? If someone doesn’t understand you, state it differently. In a normal voice.

10.   Anything accompanied by random patting.  DO NOT touch strangers without their permission. Surely that’s a fairly basic life lesson?

11. Aww, bless- I’m neither a toddler doing something adorable nor a fluffy baby animal. CUT IT OUT

*Please note this list is neither universal nor exhaustive. It is reflective of my experience as a small town dwelling white ciswoman with a visible physical disability, it shouldn’t be taken as gospel)

I don’t think anyone that’s ever done/said these to me or anyone else is necessarily being malicious. But they are being annoying and tiring and I really wish they’d stop.  Please.

ETA: put in the link to the “inspiration” article

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