Shit academics say about access is not inspiring (but the film is)!
Listen to this post:
Remember to be generous with people who don’t get what you want them to get.
With people who try to give you a compliment, but it feels insulting.
With people who try to cheer you up when you just want to be heard.
With people who try to encourage you about things you don’t need encouraging on.
The key to being generous is recognizing they are trying. They are trying. We’re all trying. But the key for those folks who are trying? Take more time to hear us out, learn about what we want and need, and offer us things not just because they make you feel great for offering. Rather than trying lots of things, you can ask us what would work.
I wrote a list of microaggressions related to brain injury on this blog on September 15th. You could go read that list. Or even better, is you could go check out this captioned video below called “Shit academics say about access.” Here it is:
There are tons of videos around made in this style that are excellent primers on microaggressions. I love this one because it mixes in statements about disability with race, ethnicity, language, dialect, region, culture, gender, sexual orientation and class. Very cool.
When you watch this, if you hear a statement that you say a lot, don’t get defensive. Like, don’t say to yourself, “But I’m just being nice!” We know that. Try saying “Oh, I didn’t realize that might be offensive. I should consider changing that.” That is, after all, the goal of these “shit people say…” videos on YouTube.
We don’t want you to just change your vocabulary. We’re hoping for changes in attitude that will be reflected in language. We’re working for a paradigm shift where all people with disabilities and impairments are seen as enriching and diversifying our community rather than dragging us down / stealing our taxpayers’ dollars / existing as only recipients of charity or pity or help.
Disabled people haven’t been allowed into colleges and universities for all that long (which is the setting for this video). By the time someone with a disability gets to college, they’ve been adapting for years within a society that isn’t founded on disability inclusion. So access and accommodations requests are about asking the instructor and classmates to flex a little, adapt a little, make a step toward us instead of demanding we make all the steps toward the status quo. The adaptations you will make will actually benefit many kinds of learners with and without disabilities.
And if you’d like to be a little more inspired about things to not say to disabled people you happen upon in public, here’s a little blast from the past I made earlier this year called “Your Daily Dosage of Inspiration“: