Have you read Musings Of An Angry Black Womyn yet?

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Yesterday gave us of lots of 25th anniversary of the ADA celebrations. It’s a big milestone. You can go online and find countless stories, blog posts, and articles that celebrate the ADA fully, celebrate it with a touch of “but we still have lots of work to do,” and non-celebrations of the legislation. Each writer has their own well-thought out reasoning for whether they appreciate or don’t appreciate the ADA in sum or in its parts.

I’m not linking to examples of these because today’s post is about the blog called Musings Of An Angry Black Womyn. Nearly all of the things that I came across over the past six months or so building up to the ADA25 celebration were composed and published by white people, as her post reminded me. There were some non-Black people of color published. Some. A few.

The Angry Black Womyn blog wrote We Were There, Too: Black Disabled and the ADA. It’s specifically about how the press around the Americans with Disabilities Act and the ADA celebrations are so excluding of Black voices, faces, bodies, ideas, and accounts of Black people’s contributions. Contributions toward getting the ADA passed and contributions in countless advocate and activist means in working for equality and justice through non-legislative routes. Not just ADA stuff. Anything around disability rights in this country is dominated by white people. You find that from the stock photographs that disability organizations put on their websites for decoration to the photos of Boards of Directors and staff.

If you’ve been looking at or reading things around ADA lately, did you see pictures that look like this? I didn’t see them very often.

Old photo of two smiling Black men in suits: Brad Lomax in a wheelchair and Glen Lomax, crouching down.Image of three people crawling up US Capitol building. Main person in photo is a young black woman crawling up backward. Image from "Lives Worth Living" movie.

Photo of NYC Disability Pride parade showing marchers in wheelchairs and on foot. Main person in the photo is a Black woman holding protest sign.

 

If you didn’t come across pictures like this either, then it’s time to do a search. Then share them and more pictures like them.

This is not the time to get defensive and point out that there are more white people in the US than Black people. That doesn’t actually explain why Black voices are published so rarely. And this post is not here to discuss demographics. It’s to highlight that when you get picture after picture and article after article where there are no Black people, only one Black person, or a handful of white disabled people with protest signs appropriating the language of the Black civil rights movement, it is easy to assume that Black people just weren’t involved. Simply not true.

If you don’t already know me, I’m a white woman. I have always gotten the benefits in society that other people who look like me get. So I feel a duty to stuff it for a minute and ask you to check out Angry Black Womyn’s blog, read and listen to music and interviews on Krip-Hop Nation’s blog, and learn more about direct action and current events at National Black Disability Coalition. These are just starting suggestions because this is about all of us. And especially if you’re not Black, it’s important that you take these stories in, share them, elevate them, and non-defensively learn from them. The presence of Black media does not threaten the presence of white media. You can use this information to unlearn and interrupt racism and appreciate the fantasticness that mainstream white media so rarely gives us. Please don’t go up to a Black person and ask what you can do to be a good white ally cuz that’s not a good first step. Start with these links or others you know about. Go looking. You will find great richness. I promise.