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.

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