Since I began the school year at the end of August, I have been sent on a wild goose chase to understand my school’s emergency evacuation expectations and procedures for residents with physical disabilities. After about six weeks, I finally got some answers. The amount of time and energy required for me to spend on this is an example of systemic oppression. Because in the same time I spent in crafting a safety plan abled people don’t have to think about, those same abled people were studying, socializing, working etc. The ongoing expectation for disabled people to spend exorbitant amounts of personal time, energy, and capital to simply exist in abled society, is oppressive in ways that reach far beyond the issue itself. Telling disabled people they should accept compromised safety, as I was over the course of understanding this plan, limits one’s well being and physical ability to thrive on the basis of disability.
So many people’s eyes glaze over when they hear systemic oppression. But it’s not some lofty, far away concept. I come in contact with it whenever I’m interacting with an institution that asks me to abide by policies and procedures crafted exclusively for abled bodies. Give the video a watch- the whole story in all it’s complicated glory was too much to write, so I switched things up this week and made a video diary*. Let me know what you think of this as opposed to the typical blog post. Have thoughts and feelings about my fire alarm experiences? Your own comparable saga? Share it here.
Today, this is Where She Stands.
*I did not have the capacity to provide captions/a transcript for this video, and apologize and acknowledge that this is not truly inclusive. If you know of affordable tools to help me change this, please let me know here.