Friday, November 22, 2019

Article in The Philadelphia Inquirer

*Please don't harass the author of the article.  I realize she may need education in matters of the cripverse, but she's just doing her job in a society that fed her the same inspo-shit we grew up on. 

"These businesses are taking special-needs employees from Disability to ThisAbility, one hire at a time" the title says in black across the page of a Philadelphia periodical.  I'm already rolling my eyes before I even read the rest (click here for the article).  The term "special-needs" needs to have a gruesome, unmourned death.  And I love the implication of employment erasing our disabilities, as though working makes us "normal".

"Employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities are having a moment," boldly proclaims the first line of the piece.  Why are they having a moment?  Because they're finally starting to be hired by companies!  Wow, what a moment!  I'm so glad the glorious, sparkly spotlight of arrival was being treated like every other fucking person on the planet.  We have reached our zenith, fellow cripples, we're getting scraps of attention and treatment slightly on par with the ableds.  Hallelujah.

The article then has four snapshots of employees at different businesses with quick descriptions.  After the photos, it says:  "I could name the 'conditions' of these men and women, but that would be antithesis to what the hiring wave is about for a new brand of progressive employers..."  No, it wouldn't be "antithesis" because what you're hawking is that these companies are so incredible for taking a chance on this previously-unhired minority with all their overlooked skills and prominent drawbacks.  You might as well put the third ring on the circus and name their spooky "other".  Note:  Near the bottom of the article there is another photo with the caption, "Tom Byrne, who is on the autism spectrum, is known to be a friendly and well-liked greeter/attendant at Eagles games played at Lincoln Financial Field."

"They’ve learned that these employees don’t bring disability to the workplace."  Yes, they do.  This sentence is disingenuous.  Our bosses often don't want to legally accommodate us, so telling people that gimps are "normal" at their jobs is harmful to us.  Plus, this feeds the "overcoming" narrative which causes many disabled people harm because we injure ourselves and our mental health trying to be "better" than our disabilities or neurodivergences.

"They bring this-ability — a unique set of talents and gifts — the way all individuals do, while enriching a company’s bottom line — and making fans of their bosses..."  If it's truly the way "all individuals do", why the inspoporn slant of the article?  Why are we worshipping at the feet of the saintly employers if we possess what others do?  Hmmm...

"The knee-jerk discrimination they experience is as wrong as any that’s based on race or gender."  Isn't it sad that someone still thinks this needs saying in 2019?  Then again, it could...

"My hope is that business leaders who read this special section will sign on to strengthen the momentum — one inspired hire at time." Why would the hires be inspiring?  Oh, right... cripples.  We're really appealing to feel-good ableists to persuade them to hire disabled and/or neurodivergent people.  But, I thought we had things every other employee has!
Other notes:  
Autism Speaks was mentioned for creating jobs for neurodivergent people.
The word "special" appears four times in this article.
The journalist mentions "neurodivergent" in regards to everyone with a developmental or intellectual disability and, while I'm not an expert, I believe this is false.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Endeavors and Media Coverage

There is a huge difference between how able-bodied people who start an organization or program for disabled people are covered in media, and how cripples are covered for starting something similar for our community.  Ableds are seen as our selfless saviors, bringing culture/comfort/access to the pitiful "other".  Our start-ups get significantly less coverage... unless it's inspoporn.

Since our community gets less media attention (and a more skewed focus) when our own projects come to light, it can impact our chances to secure funding.  Newspaper articles can be a great way draw the attention of potential donors, especially on a local level.  Plus, disabled people might not know about opportunities available to them because of the lack of reporting.

The amount of gimp-led organizations and projects scraping by on small, crowd-funded efforts versus able-bodied ones getting large grants and corporate donations is huge.  Announcements of funding and partnerships abound!  Of course,  ableists will say we're too ignorant or lazy to properly get funded, but people who aren't bigots see a different story.

How our financial needs or efforts are narrated varies, too.  Eight different articles for able-bodied ventures (since January) have entire paragraphs on funding assistance!  Every one but two I've seen for our community mentioned it in the last line of the piece (if at all).  Maybe different periodicals have different policies on money.  Maybe a lot of the projects started by us already have all the backing they need... doubtful.
I'm not saying programs and things started by able-bodied people for our community don't help us or deserve the money and promotion they need to thrive, but the difference in the amount of coverage, the slant of the articles, and the disparity in attention to our financial needs is all bullshit.  An endeavor isn't less worthy because it's run by a wheelchair-user.  Journalists need to stop acting like it.

Friday, November 8, 2019

D&ND Creatives List

The words "Disabled & Neurodivergent Creatives" are written in blue in the middle of a white background. There is one blue paint splotch above the words in the middle, and two on the bottom of the words on each side. In the top right-hand corner, there is a small brown paintbrush with a swipe of blue paint dotting the i in "creatives". 
The list is here!  It's finally happening!  Introducing The Disabled & Neurodivergent Creatives List (click here for link).

For the last year, I tried to figure out how to create a list for disabled and/or neurodivergent artists.  I didn't want to do a disservice to our community by shoehorning it in a small tab on this space.  The thought of having it totally disconnected from The Handy, Uncapped Pen wasn't something I relished.  So, I just let the idea sit.  But, nothing ever happens if it stays a mere idea, so I decided to go for it.
Each creator will have a post with their name, types of art/creativity worked in, links to their social media, links to their work, etc.  After the post is made, the artist will be added to the page at the top.  Artists will be added to the page in alphabetical order by last name.

Want more information (including how to submit)?  We have a FAQ (click here).  The first post on the blog also gives the submission procedure.