I made the following video after observing a lot of things. Someone on YouTube called me a mong, which is a British term for retard. I saw other people on there being called retards, and I found some of people’s responses to being called that, almost worse than the people calling them that. Sort of like straight people who go out of their way to prove they’re not gay to people who call them a fag, instead of grasping that the problem is the bigotry, not whether they specifically are gay or not. Lots of people say “I’m not retarded” when someone calls them a retard. That seems to me to be missing the point in a big way. (So does “reassuring” me that I “don’t look retarded”.)
I don’t endorse using the word retarded or retard casually, quite the opposite. But when someone starts calling me a retard, or a mong, or any of those other words, my immediate response is not to distance myself from the group of people they’re insulting (that itself is an insult to that group of people), but to say, yeah and proud of it, or yeah what’s wrong with that? People have been telling me I “look retarded” since I was a kid, I might as well respond in some way they don’t expect.
Other people, they express astonishment at my intelligence, and then they act like I’m a “smart” person “trapped in a retarded-looking body”. That’s not how I experience my body. At all. Nor is it really how I experience my mind. People ask me how I feel about that. Often. Or they ask me how I feel about being “lumped in with retarded people” in special ed. As if that’s the problem with segregation, is actually (gasp) having to spend time around other defectives like me. No. Wrong move. Wrong idea.
So, I made a video, about reclaiming insulting language, about why on earth it’s considered such an insult to be called slow, and about why I happen to consider most people’s well-meaning back-handed compliments (“you don’t look retarded,” “you’re so smart for how you look,” etc) more insulting than being straight-out called a retard. And about why I think, when we (anyone) are referred to as retards, the proper response is not to distance ourselves as fast as possible from the class of people we believe that term refers to.
That’s my video. It’s captioned. There’s lots of my cat in it. She’s doing cat stuff, but she’s also doing some very specific things she does to get me to move in response to her. (Which is why she has — not a joke — legal service animal status, officially and everything. She can get me moving when I can’t move otherwise. She serves the same role as a human facilitator. And nobody ever accuses her of writing for me.) Apologies for the construction noise in the background, but, that’s another reason captions are good.
And, just for sheer silliness, here’s a video of my cat drinking out of the sink: