Given the fact that as an adult, you have probably seen or heard of charity telethons, you have probably also heard the host of such telethons discussing horror scenarios about the individuals you could be, “helping with your generous donation.” These are the same kinds of scenarios many of us with disabilities grew up hearing about in relation to the future of our own lives. You’ve probably also seen at least one film that features a non-disabled person pretending they understood disability, so they became a cripacature, and relied on harmful stereotypes, which does nothing but hurt how disability is viewed in our society. You probably can even name some of the films that have been awarded because the non-disabled world believes their performances are inspiring, heartfelt, and realistic, all while ignoring the cries of indignation from the community such performances have misrepresented.
The way we talk about disability, the way we look at disability, and the way we think about disability in this society is highly problematic. All of these inaccuracies seek to do is harm the disability community, and make all of you who are not disabled, afraid to join our ranks.
The truth is, you shouldn’t be afraid of becoming disabled. The chances of you becoming disabled or having a loved one become disabled, at some point in your life, is quite high. I’ve heard many of you saying things like, you’d rather be dead than disabled, you couldn’t handle my life, and you don’t know how I, or my other disabled friends, do it. You shouldn’t be afraid of having a disability,