The Disability Dialogue: Why the Public Has Turned the Random Act of Kindness at Qdoba Unkind

emily

Why the Public Has Turned the Random Act of Kindness at Qdoba Unkind

By Emily Ladau
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

In the past week, the Internet has bombarded us with constant commentary on stories ranging from the earthquake in Nepal to the Amtrak crash to the former Qdoba employee helping a disabled woman eat. When I consider these stories side-by-side, I find myself struggling. The world needs reminders that there is good to be found amidst the pain and heartbreak. And I am a huge believer in the importance of random acts of kindness. Society is sorely in need of more of them. But it raises a question I ponder time and again: how can we celebrate and admire kindness in a way that avoids treating certain people like props in society’s quest to feel warm and fuzzy?

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The Disability Dialogue: Disability3

LSmithDisability3

By Leah Smith
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be disabled, and, consequently, what it means to be a ‘good’ disabled person, a ‘not-so- good’ disabled person and when to blur those lines. 

If we were to put disability in a box, what would it look like? Who is ‘disabled?’ Stereotypically speaking, a disabled person is that paraplegic sitting in his half broken wheelchair panhandling on the street corner. Maybe he’s sitting there because he would rather be there than in a nursing home, but, nonetheless, all society is willing to see is him begging for money. Disability is that man, needing more and having less. Disability is a broken wheelchair, displaying so evidently that the richest country in the world cannot provide even this man with a new wheelchair. Thus, disability, in this nice little box, often becomes about guilt to those not sitting on the street corner, and him hoping for a little more than a smile. 

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The Disability Dialogue: Sorry, I'm Not Sorry for Using My Wheelchair

EmilySorry, I’m Not Sorry for Using My Wheelchair

By Emily Ladau
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

Sometimes I feel like a human traffic cone, sitting in my big old tank of a wheelchair, creating a roadblock that people have to navigate around. Or maybe I’m the giant couch that no one wants to drag up the stairs to their 10th floor apartment, huffing and puffing and complaining that the elevator broke for the third time this week. My life tends to be an unchoreographed tango, with people climbing over me, sliding around me, trying to lead me to move, or awkwardly bumping into me. And when the surroundings are especially tight, I might even find myself the recipient of an unintentional lap dance.

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The Disability Dialogue: Disability Lost and Found

L SmithDisability Lost and Found

By Leah Smith
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

Women with disabilities are three times as likely to be raped, physically abused or sexually assaulted.

70-80% of people with psychiatric disabilities and 40-80% of people with intellectual disabilities experience their child (ren) being removed from their custody

Young people ages 31 to 64 with a disability now make up the fastest-rising proportion of nursing home residents.

With headlines such as these, why would anyone want to identify as having a disability? These types of statistics are ones that none of us want to be a part of.

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The Disability Dialogue: Bridging Generation Gaps in Disability Rights Activism

Emily LadauBridging Generation Gaps in Disability Rights Activism

By Emily Ladau
Regular Contributor
The Disability Dialogue

If you want to seem relevant when discussing the importance of technology as a tool for younger generations of advocates, I don’t recommend comparing laptops and iPhones to memories of your first refrigerator when you were a little girl in the early 20th century. Sure, I like my drinks cold and my food safe to eat, but I can’t use a fridge to connect with people across the globe. This sounds like a silly point to make, but I sat through this exact out-of-touch lecture at an event a few weeks ago, and it made it seem like using technology as a tool for activism just doesn’t matter at all.

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