Stories from the brainreels guest E Amato

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I have apologized so dang many times when I ask for accommodations. In fact, I’m so apologetic that sometimes I won’t even ask for simple things I need to participate fully. My accommodations are usually very simple: don’t clap, don’t touch me without my permission, one person talks at a time. I was once told that a request to have people do a silent ASL-style applause instead of clapping at an event was inappropriate and would not be accommodated because it was a rude request. I get that if I asked a quiet group of people to clap loudly at regular intervals for me, that would be rude. I suppose “please don’t clap” doesn’t feel like a “real” disability accommodation, and that’s why it sounds demanding. I’m perfectly comfortable plugging my ears some of the time, to be honest. But I pretty much don’t like being told that a disability accommodation request is rude just because I’m the only one in the room asking for it. So I sometimes don’t ask for what I need. And I end up often running out of the room (rude), crying (weird), rocking (no one says anything about that!), or jamming my fingers into my ears for so long that it disrupts the event because everyone is uncomfortable now.

For this reason–and many others–I was so grateful to have a wonderful chat with poet E Amato for the podcast. Because she is unapologetic in her stand for social justice, for feminism, and for respect. This doesn’t mean she goes around screaming insults at people or hurting them on purpose and laughing it off. Unapologetic refers to someone who has less power in a situation confidently stating their needs and proposing a solution without feeling like it was crappy to take up space from the people who already have more power…and more space and were making up the rules to begin with. Unapologetic feminism would be about saying, for example, “Black and Brown women deserve the same pay rate as white women. And while you’re at it, all of them should be on the same pay scale as men. And ban the sub-minimum wage sheltered workshops for disabled workers while you’re at it. Thank you. Let’s get to work.” No “excuse me, but” or “I don’t want to be a bother, but” nonsense. Here, read about unapologetic-ness straight from E herself!

I hope you will enjoy my conversations with E Amato around art, feminism, culture, justice, and trauma as much as I did.

Take a look at her work at EAmato.com, WritingIsNotAMystery.wordpress.com, and follow her on Twitter, the Unapologetic B @e_amato.

Check out some of E Amato’s spoken word recordings on her SoundCloud channel. You can also support her on her mission to get to London for an MFA in Creative Producing by visiting her YouCaring online fundraiser. I hope you enjoy the podcast.

Click on this sentence for an accessible transcript of podcast episode #043.