Disabled. Black. Woman. Pride – by Mike Mort

mike-mort-design

You best believe I am getting the above logo on a t-shirt! Mike Mort creates ‘SUPER ACCESSIBILITY LOGOS’, fun variations of the international accessibility logo inspired by comic book, film, television, video-game and pop-culture icons.

Here is some information on Mike from his site: “Mike Mort is a 25-year-old blogger and wheelchair-user, living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He believes deeply in intersectional social justice and ending all forms of oppression. Disabled activism is a major passion and personal cause in his everyday life. With this blog, Mike hopes to educate others about ableism and promote the equality and understanding of all disabled and chronically ill individuals.”

Click on the image above – Black Wonder-Woman (Pride) – to go to his blog. Love that he has a STELLA YOUNG quote on his masthead. I truly miss her; and am only now developing the proud ‘crip’ moxy that she departed this earth with at the tender age of 32. It has taken me a decade to truly understand this, but Stella taught me that pride is not about ego for disabled people… it is about dignity and valuing ourselves – and our bodies – in a world that affords us neither dignity nor value.

Disability pride (like Black pride and LGBTQI pride) is therefore a revolutionary tool, a paradigm shifter in a world that marginalises us physically, culturally and institutionally everyday – which can be demoralising in the extreme. As a Black Woman in a white settler colony, I can physically go into most spaces, but know I will often have to deal with misogynoir once I get in there; however, as a Disabled Black Woman, I am frequently prevented from even entering the building. Most public spaces are inaccessible to me. And when I do get in, I know – from years of experience – that I will have to deal with cultural ableism along with racist misogyny at some point (and classism, ableism related to mental illness, et cetera.)

Black Disability Pride in the face of all of this is not an indulgence, it is essential; a way of affirming our humanity and right to exist without the barriers that society erects against us, whether maliciously or not. And since disability forces an extreme and painful type of marginalisation very few of my Black friends (let alone other lighter skinned people of colour) understand, it is up to me to fight my battles alone. So I will stare at the above logo whenever I need a reminder to be my own damn hero.

Love you Stella – I know you hated the concept of being an “inspiration”, but you have inspired me to grow a pair and be unwavering when it comes to speaking up for others, and for myself (something I have hitherto been tremendously shit at doing), in the face of pervasive ableist marginalisation/discrimination. You encouraged me to do so five years ago, and I am finally doing it. I am certain you would be mighty pleased about that.

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“A Letter to my Younger Self”

I don’t know how I missed THIS wonderful piece of writing. Pride against prejudice indeed.

Do read it. This is real shit.

Cultural conditioning, structural oppression, social rejection, social inclusion, sexual empowerment, relationships, the human desire for love, freedom and (self) acceptance… all in one beautifully cohesive,  intimate piece.

And this paragraph:

“This is possibly the most important thing anyone will ever tell you…” 

Cripdom is complicated. And that’s okay.

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Coincidentally, this is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week. Want to know more about how Spinal Cord Injury affects the body,  mind, and practical life of those affected? Click HERE and  HERE.

The list at the end of the 2nd link looks scary, I know, but the way people are affected by their injury, or injuries, varies. I am pretty lucky, all things considered. I just need to take good care of my body and mind – which admittedly is something I am not naturally good at. 

Now. Because it is also healthy to be a tad skeptical, I’ll end with a piece that questions the sincerity of some of the groups who get on board with the whole “Awareness Week” thing, and the effectiveness of some kinds of “awareness-raising” schemes: “It’s Spinal Injury Awareness Week! Or is it?