Making some “crip”tiques

Listen to this post: 

Not everyone with a disability or impairment likes “crip” or wants to be called a crip or a krip. I deeply respect the reasons people give for why they want to be identified and described in a certain way. That said, most people I know would like to be identified by their name, not some diagnostic label anyway. So ask for names first. You really don’t need to ask what someone has or what you think they’re suffering from if you’re asking just to satisfy your own curiosity.

Me, I like the word crip with either spelling. Person-first language (like “person with a brain injury” instead of “brain-injured person”) was developed to encourage people to treat us more respectfully and equitably. It was a critical part of the movement to get our community members out of institutions and into society as valued individuals. It definitely has led to more respectful sounding language. But I still hear people use respectful language to say amazingly prejudiced and hateful things. And it still hasn’t come to the forefront in our society how many people with disabilities are still institutionalized (locked away or separated from their families and communities). It’s just that now, tons of them are in prisons and jails, experiencing houselessness, or are locked up at home or segregated in the corner of classrooms.

Back in August of this year, you might have seen me big up Caitlin Wood’s “Criptiques” Kickstarter campaign on this blog. “Criptiques” is a written collection of essays about experiences of disability. The title comes from Caitlin’s (and many other people’s) reclaiming the word “crip.” In short:  If I call myself a crip, you can’t hurt me by trying to use that word against me. Lots of marginalized groups reclaim hateful terms. Good stuff.

This year, Caitlin and I are collaborating with several local artists and storytellers to make “Criptiques On Film.” It won’t be a movie based on the book. It will be some film projects that cover the same issues as the book:  disability pride, radical self love, community building, intersections of disability and other marginalized identities, disability in the media, disability and sexuality, the fact that disability is natural and normal, and so much more.

Below is the first short piece that I hope will be included in the “Criptiques On Film” collection. It’s a very sweet (but yes, blurry, I’m still working on that camera stuff) music video I made with Disability Art and Culture Project. It was choreographed by the people you see dancing. And members of this group also wrote all the lyrics you’ll hear and see in the captions. It’s pretty criptastic.

No matter what terminology you prefer or feel is most respectful for people with disabilities, I ask you to please watch this video called “Too Sexy For The Rain”. Because the lyrics, beautiful moves and message are so worth it.