I don't comb my hair, dreaded.
I love sweaters, Bill Cosby.
I'm not a rapper doe.
I was introduced to this website where individuals can ask a question on almost any topic and an expert, professional, or that person the question is being asked about will answer (thank you Jonathan.). I came across a post regarding interpreting for the d/Deaf, in which a d/Deaf person pretty much highjacked the thread and shamed those commenting for being ignorant of d/Deaf culture. While reading their responses and digesting their hostility I realized this is EXACTLY what type of behavior other minorities, and minority activists perpetuate. Statements and ideologies such as:
I don’t have to help anyone I don’t deem ready.
run rampant in minority communities, and that counterproductive frame of mind disturbs me immensely. Allow me to explain why.
Who are you to deny access to education or growth on any topic, concern, or belief? If you’re going to be selective with who you educate then how are you truly rising awareness about the struggles of your community? Withholding access to goods, tangible or not, makes you just as bad as the hegemonic identities in America that restrict access to goods. No one is above educating someone else, and everyone has to start somewhere. How can a person be ready to be an ally to a community of they have no knowledge of its struggles and oppressions? But you won’t educate them because they’re not ready? F.O.H with your pretentious bourgeoisie self. You’re a cancer to real life progression.
All too often, minority communities as a whole have this vibe that “if you don’t already understand us, we don’t want you.”
I see this ideology in countless, COUNTLESS, “activists” that I’ve interacted with at the UC and in the general public. Anyone who is not apart of said minority group will be ignorant or “not understand” minority struggles because they don’t have access to similar experiences and traditions that bond and create a minority group. Example: no matter how many Black women a white male dates, or Black male friends he has, he will never experience first hand structural or systemic racism that Black males statistically encounter. Now, as a minority who NEEDS allies to achieve social equality (we all do) how can I expect him to understand why I apply to certain jobs, in certain areas of town, in certain professions if I never educate him?
I am aware that my opinion will differ or even conflict with others, but I don’t care. In addition to that I realize that every space or interaction is not meant to be a learning experience for those outside of the culture, because frankly I’m done administering Black 101 crash courses. However, I feel frustration, hostility, and even hatred should be used in constructive, productive means.
Since I realized I wanted to be a clinical social worker I’ve been on a quest to work with as many diverse populations that I could. For the past 16 months+ I’ve been working with children with disabilities. Prior to my employment I was completely ignorant to the hardships, accomplishments, and culture of children and families with disabilities. However, I’ve been awaken and have learned so much. Currently I teach behavioral skills to children with Autism through Applied Behavioral Analysis, Discrete Trial Training, and Natural Environment Training (NET is my favorite because it’s natural, no artificial reinforcement or environment), and work as an instructional aide for adaptive psychical education at a near by school district. I can truly say, now I understand why they’re children with disabilities and not disabled children. Every child I work with has a rich personality, it’s almost unbelievable. From the child with Down Syndrome who LOVES to dance, to the child with autism who LOVES to play Nerf guns with me, and the child with autism that tells me to get out of his house and go away.
Y’all probably wondering why I’m writing this post (or not) but it’s because I’m really happy! Yesterday at work I asked my kiddo “How are you?” as I entered the house, like I do every time. Normally I get a blank stare, which leads me to believe he might not be capable of evaluating his current emotional state then expressing it through words that accurately relay his current feelings. However, yesterday he responded “Fine, come in come in, LOOK!” For a moment I was shocked then I realized he FINALLY answered the question I’ve been asking him for 3 months. I wanted to take the time and praise him for answering, but he had already moved on to showing me other things, as if he normally responded to my social questions. I tried to articulate what had just happen to his mom, but she did not give me the response I wanted. I don’t think I can communicate the level of excitement that was coursing through my veins.
My experience has forced me to question a lot of things, the biggest questions I have is “What does a high school graduate with special needs do after they graduate? What programs are available? Can they ever transition to adult life?”
You know what would make me happy?
FUCKING FINANCIAL STABILITY.
BECAUSE LIVING TAKES MONEY YOU STUPID FUCKS.
Financial stability has been my desire since 18.
At 23, I still ain’t there player.