People who may be hesitant to blog about ablism/disablism because they don't feel "qualified" or are afraid of using the "wrong" language shouldn't let that stop them. BADD has a language amnesty, so don't worry too much about whether "person with disabilities" or "differently-abled person" is the more acceptable phrase, for example. Your readers will cut you some slack--it's BADD policy.
I don’t even feel qualified to write emails to friends who have a disability, let alone an entire post about it.
I am so unqualifed, I also feel amateurish, ill-equipped, inadequate, incapable, inexperienced, not equal to, not up to, unequipped, unfit, unfitted, unprepared and unskilled.
Those are all synonyms for “unqualified” that I found at thesaurus.com.
I’m not even qualified to come up with my own synonyms!
I haven’t been able to get through a post because I am scared to death I am going to, unknowingly, hurt someone’s feelings. I’m afraid I’m going to be judged as clueless and harsh. A real dope.
(Dope? That’s a synonym for clueless. Came up with that myself.)
I’ve learned a lot about the disabled community from my friends Steve Kuusisto and Ruth, who is Wheelie Catholic. I'm not sure if either one has weighed-in on "person with disabilities" vs. "differently-abled person." I chose “disabled community.” And I’m feeling extreme stress over it.
Also note my use of “friends” to describe Steve and Ruth. Did that on purpose. To soften them up a bit. So if I make a mistake in this post, they’ll be less likely to beat me up.
I thought it was hysterical.
And look at that “possible” in that sentence up there. Wouldn’t a sensitive person absolutely know the correct reaction?
Farmer had been arrested in 1943. An article from the New York Daily News described her behavior:
Frances Farmer, once a glamorous movie actress was sentenced to 180 days in jail today for violating probation and knocked down a policeman with a right to the jaw when they tried to drag her off to a cell...
...Brought before Police Judge Marshall Hickson today, Miss Farmer was in a defiant mood. He asked her if she had reported to her probation officer.
"No" she replied, "he didn't come around and see me"
The judge asked if she was in a fight Tuesday night at the Knickerbocker hotel.
"Yes" she said “I was fighting for my country as well as myself."
"Have you driven a car since you were put on probation?" she was asked.
"No, I haven't" she snapped back. "But only because I couldn't get my hands on one."
The judge attempted to query her again as to the extent of her drinking.
"Listen" she said, her voice rising, "I put liquor in my milk, I put liquor in my coffee and in my orange juice. What do you want me to do, starve to death?"
...Police said they had been searching for Miss Farmer for two weeks. When detective Earl Reinhold awakened her in her Hollywood hotel yesterday to take her into custody she fled into a bathroom, then made her reappearance in the nude. At police headquarters, she listed her occupation as such an unorthodox one that it caused the booking officer to jump when he read it.
Then I read how Farmer had been taken to her cell in a straitjacket. I read about her alcoholism and how she had been diagnosed with manic depressive psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia. How she was given insulin shock therapy without consent. And how later in life she was admitted to a different state hospital and was given electro-convulsive shock treatments.
Suddenly, I felt Frances Farmer’s life was no laughing matter. It made me stop and think. Made me feel guilty. Why would I laugh at something someone said who is obviously in a lot of pain. Suffering from mental illness?
But there have always been wild people who have made me laugh. Look at this list of famous people who have suffered from depression and/or bi-polar disorder! I have no idea if this list is accurate. But, I wouldn’t doubt it. I’ve always thought that really talented, creative people are driven by some sort of mania.
I saw Howie Mandel being interviewed on TV the other night. He was promoting a site called adultadhd.net. He talked about having ADHD and how hard it is on him and those around him. He also explained that without it, he’d probably never have had the career he's had. And then he launched into some story, talking a mile a minute, that was pretty funny but at the same time, you knew what was fueling it.
I’m sure there is a serious post that could be written on mental illness or how it is so common that people with mental illness also suffer from an addiction of some sort. And how we laugh at people and/or judge them without realizing what they’re suffering from.
But, being ill-equipped and unequipped to write the post I’m writing now, there’s no way I’m equipped at all to write a post about that.
When Frances Farmer was booked at the police station, know what she wrote down as her occupation?
An answer that made the booking officer jump.
And one that really made me laugh.
Was that wrong of me?
I’m not qualified to say. But, I’ll keep thinking about it. And I’ll keep trying to learn.