Thursday, 17 April 2014

Playing the Cripple Card

A couple of months ago there was a Change petition that I signed. 15-year-old Isabella Curtis who attends Brighton Secondary College was prevented from going on a school trip to Africa because she had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The petition succeeded with 25,114 signatures and the school reversed its decision.

Now the story should end here, but some people still have some resentment over this affair. With this comment left on her sisters Facebook page.

“It frustrates me how people want to have their children accepted into society and think it is OK to pick and choose when to play their child's disability to their advantage.”

Yes in 2014 there are still that think like this. Sad and incredibly stupid… Actually, fuck it. The person who left this comment is a stupid, disrespectful, fucking douche bag who deserves crucifixion (thanks Jesus).

Okay, now that we have got that out of our systems we can continue…

Having a disability or syndrome can suck. Now, you can make your life liveable by having a positive attitude - we are normal people and deserve to be treated as such. There are lots of negatives to disability and there are not many positives - but there are positives. One positive is what my brother and I call the Cripple Card.

We discovered the Cripple Card many years ago when strangers would come up to us and just hand us $50.00 for no reason that we could discern. Then we thought, maybe they feel sorry for us? So we would spend the next 10 minutes trying to give the money back with a 0% success rate. This happened so often that we eventually decided that being disabled, while it sucks, also has some quite bizarre advantages. Over the years we gradually became less cute and awareness of disability became commonplace so people stopped giving us money for no reason.

Luckily the Cripple Card has many other uses. Its primary use is for defending oneself against discrimination or harassment on the basis of your disability. Is someone trying to bully you because you are disabled? Most people have an irrational hatred of everybody that would dare tease a cripple. Tell the right people and the bullying will soon stop… violently. Another use is to defend those who can’t defend themselves. We were friends with this guy at high school who was repeatedly the victim of a particular bully. One day he broke every pencil, pen and ruler in his pencil case in half. I yelled at the Bully and rammed him with my electric wheelchair.

His response, “you’re only doing this because you know I won’t hit somebody in a wheelchair.” He was right. My response, “I use every advantage I can get.” That is my, consider that a divorce, moment.

Use number three is used for fighting institutional harassment. This is where a group, business or organisation creates rules or make plans that discriminate against disabled people. This is rarely done out of malice, but mostly out of ignorance, stupidity and commonly thoughtlessness. Many of these organisations will not immediately take measures to change their rules instead sticking to the rules because “they are the rules”. An example of this was when we were in year 11 it was time for us to do the debutant ball. The school picked a reception centre that had stairs. Now, I chose not to do the deb that year because it was a silly tradition, but what if I had thought differently?

Many years ago discrimination against people with disabilities was commonplace. They were kept in an institutions - sterilised and otherwise mistreated. They were segregated from the community lest they disturb the children. A karmic view of disability was prevalent where people thought that disability was punishment for their mother’s sin or for evils done in previous lives. This meant it was okay to mistreat the disabled. Even today, there are still people around who don’t give disabled people the respect that everybody deserves.

My brother and I realise that most people don’t have Cripple Cards and that is sad, but those people also aren’t disabled, so in my book they are still the winner. You may feel resentful when the Cripple Card is played, but remember it is our God given right as disabled people to play this card. It is the one advantage that cripples have and you will never take it away from us.

This is the way the world is now - get used to it.

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