Because it needs to happen. Because being a parent of a disabled child is not the same experience as having a disability, and we need to figure out how we can have productive conversations about that disconnect -- especially when it affects our ability to work towards common goals.
Building constructive conversations and creating real social change isn't a garden party -- it is hard work. It requires steely listening, forcing ourselves to bench purely defensive reactions, and honestly trying to understand unfamiliar perspectives and direct criticism.
The world is watching us.
The world is watching as many parent-advocates and disability self-advocates fail to hear each other, fail to validate each other's very real work and very powerful experiences, fail to recognize the life pieces we share, fail to build on those commonalities.
The world is watching as some of our communities become tribes, as healthy debate on issues like vaccines, cures, inclusion, cochlear implants, privilege, and language turn into fights. The world is watching as we feed on each other.
The world is watching, but the world isn't seeing our commonalities. And much of the world is more than happy to deny us a place at the table of human dignity. To the world, we probably look happy enough fighting over the scraps from that table. We're certainly busy doing so.
Building communities is hard work. It's hard because our commonalities are deteriorated by the things that divide us, certainly, but they are also eroded by the thing that we all really do have in common: our humanity. Our human failures, our egos, our fear of the unknown, our inability to view the world from another perspective. We're not characters in a movie. We don't represent specific archetypes that never change or grow. Like everyone else, parent-advocates and disability self-advocates are evolving. But evolution is slow, it's uneven and probably not much fun to watch.
- Link to the whole series
- Day One: Zoe of Illusion of Competence to Robert Rummel-Hudson
- Day Two: Robert Rummel-Hudson to Zoe
- Day Three: Ari Ne'eman of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
- Day Four: Zoe of Illusion of Competence
- Day Five: Robert Rummel-Hudson</li>