Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Doing the Disability Drag (Get Your Cripface on!)

Oh, yeah, this is an official BAD CRIPPLE blog entry. Bad Cripple says, "Only you can stop kicking wheelchair wheels during movie viewing. They did not let me in for free because I brought my own chair, asshole!"

A blond, blazer-ed PatientC trying to look casual for a wheelchair picture.

Recently, after I mentioned a crip face issue on Facebook, a friend asked me to point her towards resources on the topic. I am usually happy to do that for anyone interested in a social justice topic, especially folks I know (given the usual: spoons available, respectful request, all that sort of thing). I was only able to point her towards an article on the fantastic but defunct FWD. Most of the resources I had compiled way back when are all gone. So come with me and we will make a new one here.

Disability drag/crip face/cripface/crip drag all describe the same thing: the act of behaving as if one has a disability that one, in fact, does not have. Usually this is done by TAB (temporarily able bodied) person, but it can be done by anyone. A person with a disability cannot cripface their own disability, but can cripface one that is not theirs. It is not usually considered cripface to temporarily take on the qualities of a disability that one has had in the past, as they are pulling from their own lived experiences and not demeaning someone else's life experience.

Crip drag is always a display of privilege and is always ableist/disableist

ProTip: if you are not yourself disabled, you should stay away from using the word cripple (and that word family). Stick with disability.

Cripface is part of a long tradition of people with institutional & social power, with privilege, appropriating the experiences and lives of those without it. It is on the same field as yellow face, black face, poverty drag and other tasteless and hurtful impersonations of the very social structures that cause these inequities. I make no moral equivalencies here, I leave the Oppression Olympics to other folks! I am only pointing out a general category of people pretending to experience the problems and therefore somehow the lives of other people. 

This has come up recently in discussions about The Fault in Our Stars, a really good movie and an even better book. I think that both are worth the time. And I can enjoy an entertainment product while also understanding that it has a cripface issue. Hell, House, MD helped me through a rough patch in my life when I was newly dealing with using a cane as part of a bigger package of suck that came from a misdiagnosed infarction. Except it was my life and House was crip drag. Frequently patient characters were, too. Yet I was a big fan for years. The new Ironsides was totally cripface no matter how awesome Blair Underwood is in everything he does. I estimate that about 90% of disability I see on major media is fake. Oh, shout outs to Game of Thrones and CSI - you know why you rock.

Yes, it is disability drag when committed by a major motion picture the same as it is one of those empathy stunts. You know the empathy stunt (my phrase, but I would love it to be common use): where someone wears a blindfold for a week or uses a wheelchair for a month and learns valuable lessons. Usually done in service of a good cause, but almost always a bad idea.

Because crip face is still so commonly practiced and accepted, we are mostly just forced to deal with it or never dig anything. I have a lot more to say about the politics and power around cripface, about how you respond to the subject says more about you than about the problem, all kinds of things. There is so little out there, and I want to help fix that. Discussing this is part of the solution to it. Looking at these systems that benefit from disability drag should be something we all do together. Dismantling this problem should not be the sole responsibility of the people victimized by it. 

Avoiding using accurate terminology because you like something or give the creators a pass for being good people is part of the problem. Bad Cripple says, "Stop it. Stop it right now." 

I am in the middle of a medium evil classic lupus flare with some bonus avoidance activation, but I decided to write anyway. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope you are free from suffering and the root of all suffering.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

This Post May Be Crap

This post may be crap. Every post here may be crap. Maybe every once in a while I get to be the millionth monkey and write something not crap. But I know this for sure: every single thing I decide to not write is definitely crap. So, I am going to side-swipe the little hater, the self censor, and work on the assumption that crap happens, that crap happens to me, and it is better to get it out and get one post closer to something good. Right now I am in flare management mode, so what the hell!

PatientC, a middle aged white women with silver/blond hair taking a rare bathroom selfie before a feared massive hair loss that did not occur.

Right after killing sprees and mass shootings may be the hot iron for gun control and gun abolition activists but it is the worst time to try to convince someone that they should give up what they see as their personal defense against such things. These folks sometimes lack the ability to use basic empathy as much as the NRA does (almost all the time). I use the phrase gun abolitionists to simply indicate activists with the goal of eliminating civilian gun ownership, no baggage. I think that control activists would do well to separate themselves from the abolitionists folks if they want to get more done. My heart aches for these folks, today in Oklahoma and who knows where tomorrow - so I want something right, something real, that will help. There is a lot we can do to make the 2nd Amendment a secure right that also respects the rights of others to live without them. But the secessionists, the militia/"states rights" folks, the NRA, the gun abolitionists - they are all going to have to sit at the kiddie table of ideas until they show they can do better.

The Fault in Our Stars is a great movie, you should go see it. You should read the book too. I got into some hot water trying to address the crip face/crip drag issue - but as I said then, if that was all I noticed I would never get to like anything. It is daring to put crippled and dying folks out there, to treat those stories as even worth the telling. Particularly telling tales with disabled/dying kids - we like to pretend they do not even exist. Also please note that Indianapolis is not as white or straight as the movie makers seem to think it is. Overall it is really good and worth the time and almost as brave as the book.

I am over 100 days cigarette free, thanks to vaping eCigs. Which is good, because they found antiphospholipid syndrome and have added that to my list of crap I fight every day. I am glad they found it, it can cause blood clots and kill people, so I would definitely rather know. There is just kind of a shell shocked reaction now a days that comes with new bad news.

(I am trying an app called If That Then This, please pardon duplicate announcements while I get used to it. It could be really useful!)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Case You Noticed

If you have time to fit it into your reading schedule, I suggest this from American Prospect. It is spot on, and can help explain why I talk about certain things the way I do.

I talk about acquiring things, or things brought into my life, but I rarely discuss buying things. One, I rarely actually buy things myself, and I am a sucker for accuracy. I am involved in more purchases than I make myself. It is hard for me to get out, so I am not the retail hound my mall rat early years would warrant.

Two, we live in a surveillance state. I am disabled and poor, so I participate in programs that have made headlines the past couple of years for spotting "fraud" in their programs by monitoring the online lives of folks forced to depend on them. I worry about mentioning that I felt good enough one day to go to a park, for fear that someone will decide that I am jerking the system for fun and profit. 

Since the beginning of the Earned Income Credit, while the rich bitch about their taxes, the working poor have a minor holiday. Bills get paid, folks  that usually use SNAP/EBT can eat a little better for a while, kids get new shoes... the bleeding edge grows a bit of a scab for a while. And you know how it works, the very rich hit the cable channels bitching that the poor are not suffering quite enough. It is so tiring. 

So when I say I was involved in a purchase, you may have to read into that a bit. Or when I say a new thing came into the house, a new thing came into the house, one way or another. But I do not lie to the institutions that help me and mine get by (barely), and I do not lie to you. I simply require a little more reading comprehension. Well, a little bit more than my obtuse way of discussing things needs anyway.

Oh, and not using contractions - that is just me.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bright New Year 2014

A picture of a white woman outside in winter, bundled up in coat, hat, scarf.
PatientC, winter style. 

Ready to start the New Year? Well, the first month of it is almost half over already! What are you going to do with it? That is what I am asking myself, and taking stock of where my ambitions took me last year.

The smoking cessation quest is at an end. I have one or two clove cigarellos (cigarettes) a day, thanks to vaping, eCigs, lots of support, and a lot of willpower. 

This blog turned four, I think. I did better than the previous years regarding getting posts up for your reading pleasure. But I am nowhere near where I want to be. I want to post at least twice a week, that is my goal again for this year. I wrote about a lot of things, and while I think it is important to show that disability is just a way of living and not life itself, I do want to get back to some basics on that front.

I finally invited Buddhism into my life in a more serious way, and that is probably one of the most wise decisions I made this past year. It feels like a natural, right direction for me. The Boyfriend and I attend regular meditation! It is the perfect event for the avoidant girl: get together with folks to sit and be quiet and well, meditate. That makes me giggle, but I am also socializing and learning. I am going to continue to travel down this path this new year.

Weight was a bother. I started the year wasting, so I spent a big part of it eating what I could, when I could, and the more filling the better. When I stopped wasting I put on more weight than I wanted. I am battling social pressures about weight and expectations about weight and disability. I need a solid weight/fitness level that will help see me though not just regular life, but my myriad illnesses/conditions/etc... With better pain management I can move about more, so I have hope that with effort I will be better able to not just manage but own my own form.

I have become a better advocate for myself when dealing with the healthcare community, but I still need some work here. It is so much easier to stand firm for my Minions (daughters) or the Husband than it is for me, and that is problematic.

Speaking of the Minions, things have been hit and miss there. One Minion is doing so much better in school, but the other is having difficulty just getting out the door to attend class. They both need help, and I feel I am just not getting them what they need. Our relationships are shifting to interacting with them as actual folks while also maintaining child/parent relations - it is confusing and frustrating when it is not exciting.

I will talk about all this and more in the upcoming year. I plan on seeing you more often, Gentle Reader!