OK, what if?

Regarding that video going around about how “what if we talked about physical health the absurd way we talk about mental health”(*link at bottom) that’s going around… another version of similar things i’ve seen over the years:
i get that it’s an important conversation. i know intimately that the ways so many people talk about mental health is fucked up. But this “what if” framing is not how i’d want to build connection across disability, and i don’t think it helps move the conversation forward, Here’s a piece of why:
People DO talk this way. It isn’t a “what if” at all.
More often than not people DO talk about disabled people’s physical health this way. They literally DO tell us to just try harder! think nicer thoughts! buck up! just don’t focus on the pain/ cane/ fatigue/ disease/ wheelchair/ inhaler/ torn cornea, regularly dislocated whatever, etc! you’re just imagining it! just be a better person and all that negative energy will drift away! etc. They look right at us and say these things, with absolute certainty in their trembling tear-filled cartoon cat eyes.
But because the truths of disabled folks’ lives are routinely dismissed/ erased/ minimized/ used as cautionary tales/ etc, huge swaths of inconvenient disabled people can easily be removed from these “what if” experiments to tidy them up to try to explain it to non-disabled folks; and so sure, the reality of these kinds of comments might seem absurd to some. But as a multiply disabled person? i gotta tell you that i and many others regularly experience these same comments about our physical disabilities (which includes the erasure of other stuff we have going on).
We don’t have to imagine it. We live it.
But what if we didn’t have to? Do you think that could have an impact on mental health? What would it look like if -on top of the other stuff we have going on- we didn’t also have to constantly navigate the erasure of our experiences? Didn’t constantly have to defend our right to exist? Weren’t always being pitted against other disabled folks for crumbs and clicks? Imagine that!
i have more to say about this, but will leave it here for now.
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*re:  facebook.com/attn/videos/1391599620875493/
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taking some more time off

i’ve been taking it much easier on the conducting-audits front the past year+, and while i miss doing it, it’s actually really helped me take on some other things, including taking better care of myself, reducing stress, offering more energy to take care of my heart and body through some very rough stuff. i really like the space it’s opened up, and need more of that, so am going to expand that to say i won’t personally be performing any audits at all -including data entry, mapping, or other bits and pieces- in 2017. That’s a good goal for me, and an attainable one. What it means is that i’d love if more people took on doing audits on your own, including all the data entry and drawings and really thinking about it beyond a simple list of things to check off and be done with. If you perform an audit, i’d love if you sent me the link to it so i can add it to the website.

Well, we’ll see how this goes. i think my heart and guts and bones will thank me <3

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Ableism isn’t simply a *result* of capitalism, or even just bound up in capitalism. i believe they are one and the same. i often struggle with screwed up messages about productivity and worth, even things like continuing to do access audits, creating captions for films/videos, or trying to regularly maintain this blog or the facebook page for Radical Access Mapping Project, etc. What happens to me when i can’t do those things anymore at all? i’ve already had to cut back hugely on auditing and captioning, and already feel the tangible impacts of it. When we’re not producing something that’s seen as being of any (even temporary) value in a world that continually devalues and ignores disabled lives, if we can’t produce something that can be crow-barred into the range of acceptably “productive” things, if it & we can’t be itemized, listed, named, shown, PROVEN… what happens to us? If ableism and the system of valuing/devaluing supposed productivity or lack thereof is to end, capitalism has got to go too.
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Here’s an excellent article by Gillian Giles on The Body Is Not An Apology talking about experiences with ableism and racism:

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/you-are-more-than-what-you-do-dismantling-ideas-of-productivity-in-life-purpose/

“Combinations of my blackness and lack of productivity caused by disability resulted in teachers and peers marking me as lazy, or a problem; one teacher going so far as to advise me to copy the student beside me, just so I could keep up with the pace and production of the class. Isolation and shame resulted out of these experiences.”

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“Can Broken Be Whole?”

i’m sharing this beautiful conversation titled “Can Broken Be Whole?” between a dear friend and another sick and disabled queer femme. Thank you so much to Jennie Duguay and Kara Taylor for this important work <3

“…Through writing to each other we co-conspire to reveal the truths that exist within our experiences: to dismantle ableism. As we support each other to find and share our stories in an inherently ableist society we recognize that this act, in itself, is an act of love….”
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SFPIRG Statement on the VQFF 2016 and Pinkwashing

Here is an update from SFPIRG (simon fraser public interest group) regarding the Vancouver Queer Film Fest’s (VQFF) continued failure to accept a resolution on the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). The Radical Access Mapping Project continues to support the ongoing boycott of the VQFF until this changes.

http://www.sfpirg.ca/news/sfpirg-statement-on-the-vqff-2016-and-pinkwashing/

 

SFPIRG Statement on the VQFF 2016 and Pinkwashing:

Continue reading

On distinguishing the individual from the system, removing policing from Pride.

Sharing this again, with some thoughts…

blacklivesmatter handpainted sign

Image: dark skinned hands hold up a white sign with thick painted black lettering “BLACK LIVES MATTER”

One of the many things i appreciate about the Black Lives Matter -Vancouver BC open letter to the vancouver pride society and the vancouver police department (specifically thinking about the distinction they make re: individual cops marching in the parade out of uniform vs the cop-float and military presence etc) is that it explicitly recognizes what so many folks either can’t or won’t: that policing is a SYSTEM. That recognizes it’s not about individuals who just happen to be cops like some people just happen to be plumbers and so “what gives you the right to “discriminate” against them?” and “by demanding they not march in the parade aren’t you doing the exact same thing that you claim they’re doing to you??” [pro-tip: no]. That recognizes that yes, like any job there may be individual cops (etc) who aren’t power-hungry abusive asshats while at home bathing their dogs/ watering the plants/ wearing matching pajamas watching a movie with their dear old auntie; but that as *cops* they are an armed and integral part of a violent colonial state system that goes well beyond the individual, that is and always has been seriously messed up, and which is not capable of reform[*].
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That explicit recognition is important. No, not as a way to say “not all cops!”, but as a means to better understand the roles policing plays in our lives whether we want it or not, whether it’s positive or negative or both, the ways it’s woven into our every day experience, the ways we absolutely *must* listen to and take leadership from those folks who are hit the hardest by it, and the incredible amount of work it takes to undo that tangled mess.
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[*Full disclosure: i personally don’t want cops anywhere, ever, uniformed or not; i want policing (etc) as a system and the state it rode in on to be dismantled and burned to the ground.]
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