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A Paper - Me, My Disability and My Privacy

Discussion in 'Social' started by cactus_jack, Nov 10, 2007.

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  1. cactus_jack

    cactus_jack Well-Known Member

    Years back I dabbled a bit in journalism with a small newspaper. I had my own column, wasn't really fancy but it wasn't half bad. I did several writings that I kept, but only a few were published, but I was fortunate as they were accepted as guest editorials. The first was ho hum. The second landed a lot of positive comments from the community. I have the second one in hard copy somewhere, I think. The last one got me axed from a different paper. Important lesson- don't knock the predominant religion in the area. They don't like that much. Trust me. I still have that and all the others on disk (except for the second one).

    Tonight I was at work and I had a rare moment- my past came back. End result, three pages of an editorial. Fresh. Read on, and comment are welcome.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Me, My Disability, and My Privacy-
    How it Affects Me
    by C.
    Nov. 10th, 2007

    This was originally started on Dec. 24th, 2005.

    Out of all my impairments the worst of all is not my impairment as much as it is that of society's impairment and my "sentencing" because of the same. When I use the word “sentencing”, people are confused. When they hear why, that are in disbelief. But when they learn the truth, they are shocked. The definition of impairment, or society’s interpretation of what impairment is, falls under he label “disability”.

    (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_model_of_disability) says:
    "The social model of disability proposes that barriers and prejudice and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) are the ultimate factors defining who is disabled and who is not in a particular society. It recognizes that while some people have physical, intellectual, or psychological differences from a statistical norm, which may sometimes be impairments, these do not have to lead to disability unless society fails to accommodate and include them in the way it would those who are 'normal.' The phrase 'differently abled' is sometimes used to convey an aspect of the social model of disability, although the model is not generally taken as denying that some attributes (or loss of) can be seen (when unaided) as impairments. The origins of the approach can be traced to the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement/human rights movements; the specific term itself emerged from the United Kingdom in the 1980s."

    Too often society's impairment is shown by what is deemed as "innocent curiosity", when the persons inquiring fail to recognize that the same is actually intrusive, and they take no heed to the feelings of those the intrude upon. The ending result, as much as it may be regrettable for the disabled/impaired person, is anger. Many times this though regrettable can be as extreme with me as yelling, vulgar language or angry facial gestures, or in some cases, as mild as a simple tone of voice, though no yelling is involved.

    The same link to Wikipedia as states:
    "The social model of disability often focuses on changes required in society. These might be in terms of:

    Attitudes, for example a more positive attitude toward certain mental traits or behaviors, or not underestimating the potential quality of life of those with potential impairments
    Social support, for example help dealing with the above barriers, resources, aids or positive discrimination to overcome them. Information, for example using suitable formats (e.g. braille) or levels (e.g simplicity of language) or coverage (e.g. explaining issues others may take for granted)
    Physical structures, for example buildings with sloped access and elevators."

    The biggest problem sub-categorized under intrusiveness is attitude. Just because I have a head injury does not mean people 'must' be fearful of me. Why are they fearful of "traumatic brain injury"? My anger is not because of the impairment, it is because of the intrusion into my personal life.

    What is my "personal life"? My impairment, for starters. Unless I am asking for accommodations specifically for my impairment, it is no one's concern. The comment "so we know how to better interact with you", a common statement, initially has no value or meaning. The interpretation though, does. The interpretation's value, is that the person making the statement is an idiot. So they can better interpret how to interact with me? And how is that any different than interacting with others? Just be polite. Are that impolite to customers? I guess that just answered it self when they show me such impoliteness. Do they ask that of all customers? No? Why me? I speak english just fine. My finances is another serious issue. People will ask "So, where do you get your money?" Why? Are they extending me credit? If not, it's none of their business.

    Wikipedia also says:
    "Some communities have actively resisted 'treatments', often alongside defending a unique culture or set of abilities. Some examples include: deaf parents arguing against cochlear implants for deaf infants who cannot consent to them, and valuing sign language even if most do not 'speak' it; people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder arguing against efforts to change them to be more like others, arguing instead for acceptance of neuro-diversity and accommodation to different needs and goals; people diagnosed with a mental disorder arguing that they are just different, don't necessarily conform, or have a psycho-social disability ultimately caused by discrimination or exclusion by society."

    Clearly the worst part of that statement is "...people diagnosed with a mental disorder arguing that they are just different, don't necessarily conform, or have a psychosocial disability ultimately caused by discrimination or exclusion by society." I am just different. No better and no worse. Just different. What is it I must conform to? And from that comes my second impairment. My second impairment is now my worst- Post-Trauma Stress Disorder, which is exactly as described: a psycho-social impairment. The ignorance of the community has damaged me, injured me, and I cannot imagine ANY cash amount that could ever heal the damage.

    People fail to understand the effect their ignorance has. To me it is, by comparison, equivalent to sexual assault. When I give that comparison, people are shocked and become even more offensive. People ridicule such a comparison. I have indeed been raped, and yes they are correct. But then so am I. This is a case of not black and white, but a vast myriad of greys. My privacy is everything to me. If someone insults me, that means little to me. Sure, I may get angry, but the event is generally short-lived. But when they take my privacy away, it’s a different story.

    When such an encounter happens, no matter if it’s identifying my impairment or identifying my income- it’s very personal. If you call a woman a whore, then apologize vehemently because you “did not understand”, what is the damage? Of course some women will not accept the apology, no matter how much you apologize. But if you grab her breasts, NOW that is a whole different issue. You have done more than just insult her, you have intruded within her private realm, and you have taken away the very thing she holds dear.

    Of course you can apologize here as you did before. But even if she accepts that apology, the damage is done. There are women out there that such an act will have little to no effect on. But they really are few. It takes a certain amount of callousness to do it. Once you commit the act, in this case grabbing the woman’s breasts, the questions abound-
    Why did you do it?
    What did you expect to get out of it?
    What gives you the right to do it?
    What effect did you think it may have on the other person?
    Did you even care about the possible effect?
    What kind of response did you expect?

    So when people ask me about my impairment, unless they have a good reason to know this, I will not tell them much, if anything. It is none of their business. But if they find out, it really doesn’t have AS MUCH of an effect When they ask me about my income, same thing. Except now the effect is more so. Like the comparison of insult versus grabbing some woman’s breasts. It is the level of expected privacy. When one is insulted, it is merely words. But an inquiry of that level, about income, I lose the most secure, the most private, of my personal life. It is a person grabbing that woman by her breasts. Is it physical? Actually yes it can be.

    There a valid reason to be concerned about the privacy of my income. People generally believe that all I have to do is tell others the truth. And what will that accomplish? I have done that. And people have made jokes over it, made fun of it bragging about how they want to do the same thing to me. Not funny in the least.

    So when people try telling me how they do not understand, perhaps I should ask them to undress for me. To me it is just as intrusive and offensive. My question is now “who’s disability are we talking about?” My impairments or society’s disability?
    SeanCharles and Kathy like this.
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  3. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

    CJ I agree with you whole heartedly!! I have been traumatized over and over again by the "system" that is supposed to be there for me....I have quite a few times experienced the causal fact of my PTSD being completely ignored and being told "You need to be responsible for your own actions"....Especially when I've disassociated....I am accused of ignoring the staff and assumed upon that I can control every one of my systems all the time I've been in the hospital....Then when I would complain about the mistreatment but my word was no good because after all I was on a Psychiatric Ward....Like when I check in I'm considered to be stupid in the regards that when I state what I know about my PTSD....and there is a lot of staff resentment when I say I've learned this or that about my condition....after all I have a "mental illness"....that means I'm making it up to have an "excuse" for my bad behavior i.e. my disassociating ....MEDICAL PEOPLE.....LISTEN UP!!!! I AM VERY INTELLIGENT!!!! I just need help that you're supposed to be there for!!! Fortunately I have found a hospital 1 hour and 45 minutes from me that the staff has some understanding of my condition and am not considered to be "purposely bad"...It's a long drive but it's worth the care!!! I do get a little prejudice from the occasional staff person but overall it's the best hospital for me to be in.....Thanks for your essay!!! Keep it coming!!!!.....KEEPING THE PEACE
    SeanCharles likes this.
  4. cactus_jack

    cactus_jack Well-Known Member

    I sent a copy of the writing to a buddy that's a teacher. He gave a totally different perspective. One that while I can't ignore it I can't give it much credit either.

    People such as he commonly tell me it's just because they are curious. That's all. No, that's not all. They are nosy. Because of that nosiness I cannot go to a local community college, was kicked out of another community college, have been fired from one volunteer fire dept. (that was reportedly thankful for my work), and brought up on criminal charges. In fact, I'll put cash down saying this last conviction is soley because of it.

    What does knowing do for anyone? Ok, so they know what I say about my income, now what is the truth? Prove it to me. Legally, they can't. And what does that mean to them? Knowing how and where I get how much money means I'm a better person?

    Unless they have a legal reason to know, their inquiry is illegal and they clearly have illegal means. Just like if I walk up to a woman and grab her breasts while in the mall parking lot, is that a legal inquiry about her breasts or is it sexual assault?
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