[image for Blogging Against Disablism Day is from here]
A few thoughts, questions, and concerns.
Why are all the "people" in the image above more or less the same size and the same gender? Why are there no heavy women represented in that graphic? Why are they all the same height, except for the "person" in the wheelchair? Why are a cane and a wheelchair and being black, brown, red, yellow, pink, and other colors considered THE graphic signifiers of disability? Moving on...
I live in a country in which there is a level of support from political, social, and medical systems one can get if one meets certain criteria, all of them determined by federal and state representatives with the authority to determine who is and who is not disabled.
In this country, you can only get this "Disability" support if you have worked a certain amount in a paid job, earning wages that are reported to the state and federal government. If, for example, you have been too disabled by childhood traumas to work at a pay job, you cannot quality for this "Disability" support. So, unless you are suddenly injured, or some illness suddenly alters your level of employable functioning, you have to show two things: that you have been disabled due to long-standing conditions, and that you weren't disabled enough to not work. And being able to work is one of the criteria for determining whether or not you are going to received this "Disability" support.
As if that's not fucked up enough...
In the U.S., the DSM-V is being prepared--the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel-Version Five, with its latest labels and names for conditions that afflict so many of us. Will it believe that people can repress memories of sexually horrific trauma that occur in isolation in childhood? Will it believe that Cult Ritual Abuse happens, and that it requires great sensitivity when being treated by a mental health care professional? Or will it refuse to believe children and adults who survive these horrors, because, well, they are too horrific to believe?
Will the DSM-V consider living in warfare "a condition in need of specific psychopharmacological protocols"? Will it consider living in poverty in a corporate capitalist-impacted society "a cause of depression serious enough to recommend banishing corporate capitalism and poverty"?
The medical establishment, since it has overthrown more Indigenous-friendly, holistic, spiritual-physical-emotional-mental healing practices (anti-genocidal practices), has turned medicine into a business and "health" into an industry. It has effectively snuffed out the possibilities of Indigenist medicine and treatment protocols being practiced "legitimately" in the U.S. within Indigenous societies that once practiced them.
Is living in a rapist society "disabling" whether or not you are raped? Is it disabling if you ARE raped? What about gang-raped, maritally raped, date raped, raped while inside systems of prostitution? Is being traded as a sexual slave among owners considered "disabling"?
Is living in a heterosexist and virulently lesbophobic and homophobic society considered to be a form of sexual abuse that is disabling? Why not?
Is being of color in a white-majority or white-dominated society, a white supremacist and deeply racist society, considered to do anything negative both to those oppressed and to the oppressors?
Is living without clean water understood to be a "disabling" condition, or is it only when one gets life-threatening dehydrating diarrhea that one becomes "disabled"?
Does living in a country that the U.S. bombs the shit out of, causing people who survive to flee, if physically possible, if they have limbs and can move... does living through that constitute a probably cause for significant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, because, you know, in the U.S. literature, it only indicates this happens to the ones with the guns who are invading the countries of color.
If the U.S. medical establishment cared about post-traumatic stress, wouldn't it make recommendations to the U.S. government that it end all its wars, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of civilians who are maimed and murdered (murder being a seriously disabling condition), and for the soldiers who are grossly manipulated by media and the military industrial complex?
Beyond rapism, will the medical establishment ever recognise in its textbooks and seminars, that patriarchy is disabling to women as a class, because it produces conditions of low self-esteem, extreme vulnerability to sexual violence, harassment, discrimination, and callousness from men?
Is being battered considered a mental health or a physical health issue? If it is never seen as a political one, how does that misperception, alone, function to keep women battered by men disabled by their batterers?
If incest and child sexual abuse are never named as endemic problems rooted in social structures and bound to systems of hierarchy, what is the impact on those who are harmed and disabled by that harm? If patriarchal and racist hierarchies, whether religious or secular institutions, are supposed to be comprised of unusually moral leaders who are white and male, predominantly heterosexual, and (therefore) good,
And if these allegedly very good, moral leaders are referred to as fathers (daddy, papa, etc.) and priests, who are also called Fathers,
And if these Fathers and fathers are placed in positions of moral and political authority by secular and religious laws,
And if these laws are made only by Fathers and fathers,
And if the whole of these institutions tells us that we are better off if we have these leaders, who must be male and predominantly heterosexual and preferably also white,
And if most of us are not adults, male, white, and/or predominantly heterosexual,
Is it understood that the institutions, themselves, with their laws and their leaders, are a fundamental egregious cause of disability among the masses, no pun intended?
If the rest of us who are not as good as the leaders tell us they are, how disabling is it for those of us who believe we are bad both because we are not white, are not male, are not adults, are not priests, are not fathers, or heterosexual? Does that mean that people who are female, of color, lesbian and gay, who are secularly, socially, and religiously (politically) subordinated, ought not consider their subordination to be, in and of itself, disabling of their right to be thought of and seen and validated as fully human and as good as anyone else?
What is the social, psychological, and political effect on the abuser of being told "you are good and moral and wise" when, in fact, you fuck your nine year old daughter at night? Or when you rape the nuns near you, or molest the children who are put under your care? If you wish, in courts of law, to claim some form of mental health condition for being so privileged and dominant, why then don't you condemn the institutions which uphold you being there and value you being there?
If Western Civilisation can be shown to be necessarily racist, genocidal, misogynistic, gynocidal, rapist, abusive and neglectful to children, predatory, violating, invasive, destructive to human and non-human life, contemptuously and callously ecocidal, please tell me: in what sense is the civilisation itself not "a disabling condition" one lives with or dies from?
I live in a very fucked up world, and yes, I am disabled. What I am "officially" disabled by has names that are meaningful to medical professionals. But what I am unofficially disabled by are systems of atrocity that are so normalised that the horror of them is publicly unseen, not reported by mass media, and is socially unvalidated as such.
I object to systems of harm that are designed specifically to oppress many people, to allow for all manner of injury to the mind, body, and spirit of those so oppressed. I object to institutions that are designed to only call some of the harm done politically socially harmful, while calling the rest of it a problem I seem to have, that thousands of others also seem to have, that pharmacies have pills to treat, as if a pill will topple an institution committing the atrocities that harm us.
I hope that's clear. It's difficult to be clear about something when it is denied right in front of your face by "good" and "wise" people who are legally and politically authorised to diagnose and treat you... as a thing that must fit into certain diagnostic categories, rather than a being impacted by systems of abuse unnamed and unchallenged.