The most annoying thing that’s come out of Meryl Streep’s nearly perfect speech is the amount of abled people who are suddenly experts on disabled people. So here’s a quick primer:
1. Disabled people are capable, even powerfully so, to speak for ourselves.
2. Abled parents of disabled children are not more knowledgeable than actual disabled people.
3. Please stop giving us cutesy euphemisms. We are disabled. We are not handicapped, handicapable, special, special needs, invalids, wheelchair bound, or differently abled.
4. His name is Serge Kovaleski. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist for The New York Times.
5. You should be offended by someone mocking a disabled person. You should also be offended by racism against Mexicans and Black people, Islamophobia, and sexual assault.
6. While you’re at it, be offended that Donald Trump was sued 8 times for ADA violations. Be offended that hotels regularly misrepresent their ADA compliance, leaving disabled guests unable to access their shower or transfer from their wheelchair to their bed. Be offended when voting sites have “just one step” or no chairs for people to sit in while they wait.
Be offended at no closed captioning, no image descriptions, no Braille. Be offended when concerts and plays use strobe effects without warning. Before the show isn’t good enough either, before the point of sale.
Be offended by 4 year waiting periods for Social Security Disability Insurance applications. Be offended that 30% of disabled Americans live in poverty.
Be offended that ears, eyes, and teeth aren’t covered by health insurance. Be offended by disabled people needing to crowd-fund mobility devices, surgeries, and basic living expenses. Be offended by co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles.
Be offended that my friends, my family, and I are either treated as political footballs or we’re not thought of at all.