I am a gimp. a crip, disabled with cerebral palsy. The story of me lurching up the mountain begins not on the mountain, but with one of the dominant images of disabled people, the supercrip. A boy without hands bats .486 on his Little League team. A blind man hikes the Appalachian Trail from end to end. An adolescent girl with Down syndrome learns to drive and has a boyfriend. A guy with one leg runs across Canada. The nondisabled world is saturated with these stories: stories about gimps who engage in activities as grand as walking 2,500 miles or as mundane as learning to drive. They focus on disabled people “overcoming” our disabilities. They reinforce the superiority of the nondisabled body and mind. They turn individual disabled people, who are simply leading their lives, into symbols of inspiration.
Supercrip stories never focus on the conditions that make it so difficult for people with Downs to have romantic partners, for blind people to have adventures. for disabled kids to play sports. I don’t mean medical conditions. I mean material, social, legal conditions. I mean lack of access, lack of employment, lack of education, lack of personal attendant services. I mean stereotypes and attitudes. I mean oppression. The dominant story about disability should be about ableism, not the inspirational supercrip crap, the believe-it-or-not disability story….
Cop Arrests Disabled Woman for Sitting
” A disabled Atlanta woman says she was sitting outside and waiting for the ice cream man when a cop showed up and ordered her to move. When she refused—because she wasn’t in anyone’s way, or doing anything wrong—the cop allegedly threw her to the ground. Then he bought her a medium-sized cone.
Wait no, sorry: the officer—one Kenneth Thomas—did not buy his charge, 40-year-old Shequita Walker, any ice cream cones or other novelties, but instead arrested her for disorderly conduct. Apparently she was acting in a “disorderly” manner by being a disabled woman who was asserting her right to sit in a metal chair, in a vacant lot, with three other people while waiting for a frozen dessert. Her attitude, if gone unchecked, could have inspired other emboldened disabled ice cream lovers in Atlanta to stick it to The Man and, who knows, led to a riot or something.
Thomas…grabbed Walker’s wrist and twisted her arm, causing her to fall to the concrete, unable to get up on her own, Walker said…An ambulance was called to transport Walker to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she received treatment for a shoulder injury sustained when she hit the ground, Grossman said.
After her release from the hospital, Walker got to spend the night in jail—pretty much for no reason, because the charge against her was dropped. Oh, and because she didn’t do anything illegal.
She was doing nothing illegal by sitting outside waiting for the ice cream man. They dropped all charges yet, the police officers are getting off scotch free?!
Excuse me, but what the fuck is going on in this damn country.