If we were real people.


This post is for the disability blog carnival.

If I could eliminate any single disability stereotype, I would sit there and try to figure out which one underlies the most others, and pick that one. If you are going to be given a tool that selective and narrow, it’s good to choose carefully by picking the one whose destruction would destroy the most others. And after observing for a time, I have concluded that the stereotype that I would most want to eliminate is the one that says disabled people are not real or whole people.

If we were real people, killing us would be bad, and killing ourselves would be unfortunate rather than something people build special laws to enable.

If we were real people, the world would be designed in a way that allowed us to move through it without extra obstacles thrown in our way.

If we were real people, people would see us as individuals, rather than heroes, tragedies, inspirations, or representatives of our entire impairment group.

If we were real people, then giving us proper medical care would never be seen as pointless.

If we were real people, the whole myriad range of disability stereotypes would look flimsy and silly because people would see us as we are.

Of course we’re already real people. But the problem is that so few people have noticed.


About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

3 responses »

  1. Also, if we were real people, other people wouldn’t see us as easy targets for bullying (either direct or subtle). This poem struck a thousand chords with me, and I am grateful beyond words that you wrote it, Amanda. I’m trying to work to change the culture of schools in my state so that more students would view us AS real people and classmates instead of just the “R-word” or “handicapped/disabled”. Here’s an overview of what my team and I are attempting:


    NOW is the time to act!!!

    Students with disabilities get teased and bullied more often than other people in school. Sometimes they drop out because they aren’t being treated fairly. That’s not refreshing news! If we, along with students, “Refresh Our Outlook”, schools all over the U.S. will change!

    Please join us in our plans via a grant from Pepsi Refresh® to engage Illinois students with disabilities in anti-bullying programs. Once we receive an official link to our “Refresh our Outlook” project on the Pepsi Refresh® website, we will ask you to VOTE and VOTE OFTEN!

    What you can do NOW:

    1. Go to http://www.refresheverything.com.
    2. Click on the “Join Refresh Everything”
    link in the bottom left-hand corner.
    3. Complete the “Sign Up” form.

    What to do on April 1st and every day in April:

    1. Go to http://www.refresheverything.com
    and sign in.
    2. Insert this link for the URL: http://www.RefreshEverything.com/refreshouroutlook
    3. VOTE for this project, and let your voice
    be heard!

    For more information, please contact Amy Walker or Shirley Paceley at (217) 875-1910 or awalker@maconresources.org or spaceley@maconresources.org.

    Again, thank you for the poem x 1,000,000,000. Sometimes I feel like you’re the only person in the world that really understands what I’m going through, especially with the “weird issues”, sensory and otherwise, I have from time to time.

  2. Pingback: If we were real people « Our life with MPD/DID

  3. Pingback: Happiness, Part 2: In which reality is twisted « Urocyon's Meanderings

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