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Rewarding able-bodied people for being nice to disabled people - No Pity: A Community for People with Disabilities [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
No Pity: A Community for People with Disabilities

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Rewarding able-bodied people for being nice to disabled people [Feb. 28th, 2016|11:14 am]
No Pity: A Community for People with Disabilities

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A common feature of inspiration porn is praising a non-disabled person for being nice to a disabled person. This might include a TAB (temporarily able-bodied) person inviting a disabled person to a dance, a star athlete eating lunch at the same table as a disabled classmate at school, or a high school wrestler deliberately losing a wrestling match so that his opponent, who has Down Syndrome, can win.

When these stories go viral, those of us who object to this kind of inspiration porn will point out what are, to us, the obvious problems with these stories. For example, won't the wrestler with Down Syndrome notice that all these news stories mention the fact that his able-bodied opponent LET him win? How about the fact that the able-bodied person is asking the disabled person to the high school dance out of pity, not out of friendship? But some people say, "But as long as the disabled person enjoys the dance/is happy because he won the wrestling match, why is it a bad thing?"

Well, maybe because it gets the disabled person's hopes up? Maybe they think this person is really their friend, and then they get disappointed when the TAB person ignores them after the dance/wrestling match is over. Maybe they get misguided ideas about what friends are, and they think it must be okay for this person to ignore them, because everybody around them is saying how wonderful this person is for being nice to the disabled person. Heaven forbid the disabled person not be grateful to be thrown some crumbs from the able person's table.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: capriuni
2016-02-29 11:01 am (UTC)

Really good blog post with more ideas on this:

Dave Hingsburger, a disabled Disability advocate living in Toronto, had what I thought was a wonderful entry about this very topic, over on his blog "Rolling Around in My Head," a few days ago, here: http://davehingsburger.blogspot.com/2016/02/needed-practice-of-power.html

That last line is my favorite. :-)
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[User Picture]From: jordanasrain
2016-03-17 09:19 am (UTC)
Uggggg, that one about the girl being asked out by the guy she had a crush on pissed me off. True, at least he was nice to her and didn't pull a "Carrie" on her, but what about after the dance, when she is still left with her crush and he's off getting some cheerleader girlfriend poon? His girlfriend saying "Oh, that was so sweet of you", while this disabled girl with a crush watches on somewhere else on the school yard.

I get a similar feeling when people brag on social media about paying for the person in front of them's groceries. I'm like, just do it and say nothing. Here, have a little more attention for doing what any descent human would do because this world is so abysmal. Here's my perfect people crumbs, aren't you happy, oh smaller-than-me one. People are putzes.
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