I overheard a woman saying to her friend, "I wish they'd get the disabled kids out of my son's camp group. They slow everyone down, and I didn't pay one thousand dollars for my kid to have to wait on a bunch of wheelchairs." This is one of those kids she's talking about. These cute, little feet aren't seen as belonging to a full person sometimes because the body and brain they belong to work differently than most. The bike they pedal has a 5 point harness and is pulled by a physical therapist, and they only stand if they're strapped to the backboard of a stander. When they dance and kick and wiggle it's in the air because the little girl playing is usually lying on her back.
For some reason we've decided "different' means less than, or a lot of times, dangerous. We try to put bodies that work differently or look differently in hidden spaces and ask them to live quietly, away from everyone else as to not make us uncomfortable. We ask bodies who have brains that fight mental illness to make sure they keep smiling so nobody knows they're struggling.We deny rights and life to melanin rich bodies because black and brown look different than white and society says that means they matter less.
Different does not mean less than, it doesn't not mean dangerous. Different just means different. It means experiences you haven't had, perspectives you haven't seen, life you haven't known; it's all open doors and possibilities. Making different mean less than or dangerous creates boxes that destroy the best parts of people. It isolates growth and makes real community impossible. It says to a person, "you are a threat because you don't look like me." And that's antiquated nonsense, and, quite frankly, bullshit.
These feet belong to a whole person. This person deserves to be looked in the eye, spoken to-not about, educated appropriately, played with, held, kept safe, included, and everything else a typically developing ten year old deserves. Her enoughness for these things is undeniable. Everyone's enoughness is undeniable.
#differentnotdangerous #disability #ableism #blacklivesmatter #intersectionalfeminism #whiteprivilege #bodypositive #bopo #endthestigma #mentalhealth