Monday, July 27, 2009

What do you mean when you think "people like me?"

Disabled? Who? Me? �
from Education On The Plate
"People are always asking me silly questions. Well, they’re silly to me and I doubt the questions, or any answers I might give, have any real import to the inquisitor.
. . .

I’m talking about questions like,
“What is your favorite song?”
“What’s your favorite fruit?”
“What single malt whisky do you like best.”

I answer questions like that by saying it is a matter of context. When selecting a whisky to sip on during an evening of conversation with friends (defined as people who have never asked me anything like one of the questions above) I sometimes enjoy the peppery flavor of Talisker, but on a damp foggy night in late autumn when I am sitting in my chair reading and listening to the muffled sounds outside, the iodine-laced Laphroaig appeals to me. Or when looking for a light refreshment….

At some point I’ll really hit my stride and say something like, “you see, context determines everything, even what we call disabilities.”

A long time ago I was involved in the disability rights movement on Cape Cod. This was long before the American with Disabilities Act. I belonged to an organization whose main activities involved teaching what I then considered to be “normal” people (I know, but I was young and foolish and this story is about how I learned better) about disabilities.
As a commenter to the post, I said,
Kids and editors looking for copy are always prowling around for the top ten, top 100, top 1000. It’s very satisfying because it’s about “me” or “people like us.”

It always feels good to be part of a tribe. As long as you don’t mix up “me” or “people like us’ with everyone else.

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