Here we go.
I found this article in the NY Times as I sip my coffee from a special adapted mug. On top is a photo of a woman with a prosthetic leg dancing in a club with someone. The article mentions the comedian with CP, Josh Blue. Then it states:
"The public image of people with disabilities has often hinged on the heroic or the tragic. But Mr. Blue, 28, represents the broader portrait of disability now infusing television and film. This new, sometimes confrontational stance reflects the higher expectations among many members of the disabled population that they be treated as people who happen to have a disability, rather than as people defined by disability.
“What we’re seeing is less ‘overcoming’ and more ‘just being,’ ” said Lawrence Carter-Long, the director of advocacy for the Disabilities Network of New York City, which last year started a film series, “disTHIS: Disability Through a Whole New Lens,” celebrating unconventional portrayals of the disabled."
“More people are saying, ‘This is who I am. If you have a problem with it, that’s your problem,’ ” he said.
Via the NY Times
The rest of the article can be read by clicking above. The article left me wishing that the author had used the quotes differently. I could have done without the interspersed unfounded conclusions, but a nice job is done describing the experiences of a woman amputee who talks about going out shopping in shorts "... people gawk and some have even tapped her on the shoulder to ask her to put her leg back on. She said she’s been told, “It is upsetting my child.” But she refuses to hide.“You either accept me as I am,” she said, “or you don’t have to look at it.”
On the other hand, if you read the article through and just read the quotes, it's a very different experience. For example, I like that the article ends with quotes from a woman who says she wears sunglasses when she goes out with her prosthetic leg exposed and compares being stared at to being an animal in the zoo, but then comments on progress and positive changes in people. Both are true simultaneously for me. Every day.
For the most part, I see people with disabilities who are just "being" as Lawrence Carter-Long points out so astutely in his quote above. What changes will that bring? Many. Not only will it change peoples' perception of disability, but those of us with disabilities will put "overcoming" further behind us into the annals of disability history.
And maybe, just maybe, those of us who have been called confrontational because we expect to be treated as people who happen to have a disability, rather than have our disability define us, will live to see it. It's enough for me if my nephew does.
For now, I'm just going to go "be".