RSS Feed

Category Archives: disability awareness

I Am Here To Be Me – Not Your Inspiration

I Am Here To Be Me – Not Your Inspiration

I’ve been sharing my Bar Exam GoFundMe now for a couple of weeks on social media. And I appreciate every share. I really do! But what I don’t appreciate is being made into the star of a #fakespiration aka #InspirationPorn post, esp when it centers the poster.

So, someone, for whom I have much respect, shared my campaign added their own caption to the post. That caption said:

“One of the bravest hardest working individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Tiara was born in a wheelchair as well as missing several fingers due to circumstances she could not control.

Though she was not one of my students at [ABC College], I was her supervising professor when she helped create the [ZYX Legal Clinic]. Her Professor M[], and I never once saw her handicap to the point that we were applying to positions for her and were confused when law offices called stating she did not meet the requirements for lifting case files, which were a certain weight. Tiara is one of those people that is so hard working that you don’t notice that she’s in a wheelchair.

What’s even more amazing is she NEVER ONCE stated she was not able to do something because of her handicap. She still inspires me to this day!”

I read this three times and could only think: WHAT THE ACTUAL F*&K
4WheelWorkout WTF
First off, who is “born in a wheelchair”? Second, why was ANY of that backstory necessary to sharing my GoFundMe campaign? It just wasn’t.  Why not just focus on my accomplishments as someone who was there and witnessed it ALL from the beginning of my time at that school?
What were those accomplishments?  WELL! This person saw me come in, make President’s list upon graduation (perfect attendance and perfect GPA for the entire length of the program).  This person saw me not just get accepted into a national honors program, but within a few months become it’s president. This person saw me plan and execute an entire voter registration drive in the school. Saw me advocate. Saw me not just found a whole behind legal clinic, create training curriculum for that and some other things.
Saw me say one day “I’m going to law school” and then made that sh*t happen.  I didn’t just get in, I graduated.

They saw me accomplish every freaking thing I set out to do in my 10 months in that program.

They saw me “talk the talk, and roll the roll”

But do they talk about ANY of that? No. They talk about my disability and the struggle as if it were their story to tell. They center themselves and how I was somehow less disabled because I didn’t act disabled even tho I was/am hella disabled.  They focus on how hard I work and on them not seeing my wheelchair yet, it’s all they talk about.

They completely erased me to the point where I, the person raising funds, am a plot device. I am the reason they deserve a pat on the back.  I “inspire” them to this day. Because I was/am what? Doing sh*t? Living? Reaching goals? Not being the way they thought disabled people should be?  And after ALL of that harping on how I’m so disabled but less disabled, they didn’t even say “Hey! Let’s help!”

Because that is what inspiration porn is: A vehicle to focus on the “director” and give them the accolades but making it appear to be about the “star”
Look, I am not here to live “despite” my disability. I let go of the need to impress “despite” my wheels along time ago. That’s ableism. I am not here to make you feel good about knowing a disabled person and treating them like…a person.
I am not here to be your inspiration if the only reason you feel inspired is because the “girl in a wheelchair and missing fingers” woke up and ate breakfast. Not if you’re inspired by me just…being.
I am here to make waves. I am here to buck the system. I am here to advocate. To be an extra voice in the chorus of marginalized folks who shout in their own ways to be heard and respected.
I am here to learn the law, so i can use the law to change the law.
Let that inspire you

I am here to be Tiara. An educator. An activist. A wife. A mother. A fighter. A role model. An advocate. Just another Disabled Black Girl navigating this ableist society we call home.

Not your inspiration

Advertisements

Stop Interabled Before It Starts

A couple of months ago, I shared a Now This tweet that included a video by a white man in a wheelchair. The text read: “People in interabled couples are often stereotyped as a burden or a hero, but this man offers a real, intimate look at interabled love.” This may sound harmless enough. 

When you click on the video, you can hear the man speaking. He says, “Our society is accepting now of interracial, interfaith, same gender couples, all kinds of situations…” In his own words he tells us this idea of interabled couples is piggybacking off of the language surrounding and the stigma attached to interracial relationships.

We must not cease critically analyzing a message simply because it’s being delivered by a disabled person.  Here is why that is harmful, a form of hate, and this term should not be mainstreamed. Read the rest of this entry

Can We Talk About Disability and Net Neutrality?

Can We Talk About Disability and Net Neutrality?

It seems every month or so there is a new call to action for a new cause.  Whether it’s defeating a racist, pedophile in a Senate race in a very red state (I’m looking at you Roy Moore), or saving healthcare, or saving the internet.  One thing that I notice is that in all these movements and, I guess protests (?), is that no one ever talks about how losing any of these would affect the disabled. At least not really.  It’s usually the disabled population who bring it up.

So I want to share with you a thread which focused on net neutrality and the impact that loss would be on the disabled population.

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: