And now, a wonderful (and useful) entry, courtesy of Sovin, on etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities. Sovin?
1. If you see someone with a visible disability (or someone tells you about an invisible one!), it’s pretty natural to do a double take, especially if that person has a pretty/cool cane/crutch(es)/chair/etc. But gawking or saying “But you don’t look sick/seem so able/etc!” is really hurtful. If you catch yourself doing so, please apologize - that means the world!
2. “I hope that you have a system that works for you/that your [medication, therapy, medical device] is working well for you” is a much more cool, adult response than “I hope you get better/don’t need it soon.”
3. Most people don’t mind polite questions! “May I ask about [behaviour, disability, or device]?” is preferable to “Why don’t you…” questions or comparing people to stereotypes or media examples (usually incorrect and occasionally really offensive!).
4. I love witty humour! But please think twice before making jokes. “I should be holding the door open for you!” when someone with a cane is holding the door? That stings, a lot.
5. Try to think about other people’s limitations! If you want to invite a friend to go somewhere, is there wheelchair access? A person with a cane may only have one hand - how much can you carry/hold/easily open doors with the same? Try to keep pace with them, don’t walk ahead, then forget or pause to wait every few feet, it can be really embarrassing.
6. If it looks like someone is having trouble, asking sincerely if you can help is great! Assuming that someone wants help or how you can do it is rude and inconsiderate.
7. If you see a person with a disability using or doing one thing one day but not the next, that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. Sometimes I can walk across the room without my cane, sometimes I can’t; that doesn’t mean that I’m lying about needing it, and it’s a hurtful thing to hear.
8. Don’t touch a person’s medical device without permission. Ever. It’s rude, invasive, and threatening. They aren’t toys; they’re necessities, aids, and, for a lot of people, the basis of their independence and/or health.
9. Don’t offer unsolicited advice about treatments or health concerns. You may just want to help, but it comes across as condescending and rude if you treat someone like they haven’t done their research, especially when many people spend a lot of time considering how to best take care of their health.
10. People with disabilities are people! They aren’t objects of pity or inspiration, and they aren’t martyrs, no matter what the after school specials say. Be respectful and treat other adults like adults, apologize if you make an error, ask about their experiences rather than assuming, and you should get along just fine!
Number 9. Very much. It’s common to want to be helpful, but you can reasonably expect a person to have done research or talked to a professional to help themselves, and a half-assed suggestion with no context beyond what you can see and your assumptions aren’t helpful.
also don’t call them a cripple because they will hate you forever no matter how nice you are in the future no matter what really you could save their life and give them a pet dragon and they’d still hate you
TW: Police brutality, ableism, racism, harassment, all against a 12 year old disabled black girl.
Michaella Bassey and her mother, Sofia Bassey, at a bus stop in T.M.R. on Wednesday.
Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf , The Gazette
By Catherine Solyom and Roberto Rocha, The Gazette
MONTREAL - It’s difficult to imagine why two police officers would need to forcibly remove a 12-year-old schoolgirl from a city bus, her hands held behind her back.
The girl’s mother and two passengers on board the No. 16 in Ville St. Laurent Tuesday afternoon say there simply was no justification for how Michaëlla Bassey was treated, first by the bus driver and his supervisor, then by the police, as she tried to get home from school.
The STM says the girl was “arrogant” and refused to obey the bus driver when he told her to sit down. It was dangerous for him to be driving with her standing right next to him, and with her mother yelling at him from her cellphone.
But the witnesses, who didn’t know Michaëlla or her mother prior to the incident, paint the picture of a quiet girl sitting alone at the back of the bus being harassed then manhandled by a succession of men in uniform.
The incident began when Michaëlla, after finishing an exam at Lauren Hill Academy, approached the bus driver parked outside the school to ask when he would be leaving. The No. 16 bus route begins at the corner of Decelles and Abbott Sts.
According to her mother, Sofia Bassey, Michaëlla suffers from dyslexia, ADHD, and lexical access problems — she has trouble retrieving words from her memory. She often has trouble reading the bus schedules in the shelter, so she has been taught when in doubt to ask the driver.
But instead of answering her question — the bus would be leaving in seven minutes — the driver instead ignored her, Bassey said. So Bassey, talking to Michaëlla on the phone, asked her daughter to put her on speakerphone so she could ask the driver herself.
“He just said he didn’t want to talk to me,” Bassey recounted, and he shut the door in Michaëlla’s face.
When the bus driver drove up to the stop and opened the door for passengers a few minutes later, Michaëlla boarded and the bus took off around 12:20 p.m.
According to Marianne Rouette, a spokesperson for the STM, the girl was in front of the yellow line as she asked the driver for his name to lodge a complaint. He told her she had the route number and time, and that was sufficient, and asked her to sit down repeatedly, but she wouldn’t move.
That’s why he called his supervisor.
But Fatna Erritouni, who got on the bus four stops after Michaëlla, said that when she got on, at 12:33, the girl was the only other passenger and she was sitting quietly at the back of the bus.
The bus then stopped on the corner of Décarie and de l’Église Sts. to pick up about 10 more passengers, which included Petula Caine, a hairdresser on her way to work. But it didn’t leave.
“It waited on the corner for 10 minutes. Everyone was wondering why the bus was not going,” Caine said.
An STM supervisor then boarded the bus and asked the girl to apologize, Caine said. “Apologize for what?” asked Caine. “She was just sitting there, just a quiet little girl.”
“People thought she hadn’t paid,” said Erritouni — but she had. “The girl said I’m not getting off. Why should I get off? So the supervisor says get off or I’ll call the police.”
Still on the phone, this time with her older sister, Michaëlla refused to leave the bus. “She didn’t know where she was, and she’s not qualified to cross the street by herself,” Bassey said. “We told her to stay on.”
A few minutes later, the police arrived. According to both passengers, two police officers boarded, one of whom pulled Michaëlla brusquely by the arm, making the girl cry.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Caine said. “When we asked him to stop, he said, ‘We have to do our job. She doesn’t want to leave so we have to remove her by force.’ “
Erritouni said she saw an officer put his hand on the girl’s head and push it down, to force her out of the bus. The girl went pale and was obviously very scared, Erritouni said.
“It was catastrophic!” Erritouni said. “It was so obvious she was just a young girl who was scared. She wasn’t a rebel, she hadn’t disrespected anyone, she didn’t resist … Everyone started screaming “What are you doing? What is going on?”
Finally, the police told everyone to leave the bus, and the driver drove off without a single passenger.
One of the officers told Erritouni that she was being emotional, that Michaëlla wasn’t hurt, that the techniques they used (to get her off the bus) are meant not to hurt her, but that the police have weapons they don’t want turned against them.
When Bassey arrived to pick up Michaëlla, there were three police cars, two STM vehicles, and “a whole bunch of outraged people.”
“There has to be a minimum of customer service,” Bassey said. “You’re dealing with the public and with children — this bus leaves from a school. I wouldn’t even talk to a dog like that.”
The STM’s Rouette said she couldn’t comment on what happened after the police intervened. But she said the driver’s version of events differed substantially. The incident began because Michaëlla refused to wait at the bus stop and was insisting on getting on the bus while the driver was on his break, because she was all alone there. Then when she did get on, she continued to distract the driver while he was trying to pay attention to the road, Rouette said.
“So the supervisor came to get the girl off the bus because the situation was degenerating,” Rouette said. “The supervisor asked the driver what was happening, he said the girl was disrupting the service and all the people on the bus. So the supervisor asks her to get off and she refuses … The driver and supervisor said that even if she was only 12 years old, she was very arrogant, and because she wasn’t obeying, they called the police.”
Rouette said there is nevertheless an internal investigation under way, and that there may have been a security camera in the bus at the time.
As for how the police intervened, a spokesperson for the Montreal police said despite their best efforts they were not able to reach any of the police officers on duty in the area during the incident and they don’t have a police report to refer to, so could not provide any details.© Copyright (c) The Montreal GazetteME: Fucking disgusting. Why we fight ferociously for our young? This is why. Because they will tell you a million and one things about why it was necessary to treat young black girls like shit. And then call it an investigation when we know what’s up.Diversity my ass. La connerie.
who guessed she was black before looking at the picture
I guessed. I hadn’t even clicked the picture before I saw the headline.
Ugh. Zero surprise that this happened in montreal too (allegedly very progressive) ‘cause french people are xenophobic assholes.
Soon as I saw the word “arrogant” I knew the deal.
The good thing about this is that there were some witnesses around. “Arrogant”…because she had the audacity to stand up for herself. To be supported by her mother and other women in her community. Oh, how arrogant of this child. That bus driver was being a fucking prick and I hope he gets fired. Mama needs to sue that transit system.
Perfect example of how ableism and racism function together. If she was white and had been asking those questions, she wouldn’t have been presumed to be “arrogant”. Shit she might have been labeled as inquisitive or something.
Comment #1 of importance on the article:
Comment #2 of importance on the article:
These bus drivers may need some work…
But the decision to alter the storyline with Peeta’s leg really troubles me because of what it symbolises. Peeta becomes a prominently disabled character in the series, and his disability becomes part of his experiences. At the same time though, he’s not defined by the disability, consumed by it, and placed in the narrative for the sole purpose of constantly reminding everyone that he’s disabled. Peeta, like other characters, is scarred by the world he lives in, and he bears a visible mark of the cruelty and brutality of Panem, but more importantly, he’s another person trying to survive and build a better world. By neatly cutting that entire plotline away, the filmmakers avoided some tangled and thorny issues.
Like the fact that Peeta is supposed to be a love interest. I can’t help but feel one of the reasons the amputation storyline was taken out was because the filmmakers don’t think amputees can be love interests, or think that the reality of the amputation might be offputting to audiences who wouldn’t be able to identify with the characters if Katniss fell in love with a disabled Peeta, because that sort of thing Isn’t Done. Furthermore, obviously no amputees engage with media and pop culture and certainly don’t want to see versions of themselves on screen, so that angle didn’t need to be considered when preparing the film adaptation.
They probably also feared the idea of a character who happens to be disabled; they couldn’t let him get fitted for a prosthesis and get on with his life. They would have felt compelled to wrap up some kind of special story in it, even though that’s not necessary. Riding right over that storyline can be justified by saying they don’t have time to do it, with all the other things that need to be included. Just like they didn’t have time to view actresses of colour and nonwhite actresses while they were making decisions about the casting of Katniss. Making movies is very busy work, people.
And, of course, Peeta doesn’t comply with narratives above disability. His withdrawal and depression at the beginning of the second book are more about his emotional state over Katniss, rather than his leg. As a character, he’s physically active as well as politically defiant, once he begins to grow into himself. This isn’t what amputees are ‘supposed’ to do in pop culture, and thus it’s a narrative that makes people uncomfortable, and one that the filmmakers evidently simply didn’t want to deal with.
I could be wrong; perhaps in the next film we will learn that infection set in and they took the leg. But I doubt it, highly, because this doesn’t seem to be in character with way Hollywood works, where disability is erased when it doesn’t serve a greater narrative or actively defies tropes. Peeta cannot be allowed to be disabled."
To Whom It May Concern:
Rick Santorum is not “crazy.” He is not insane, nuts, batshit, wacko, delusional, cuckoo, or any other euphemism for mentally ill.
He is a vile bigot.
The two are not, of course, mutually exclusive—but it is not axiomatic that anyone who holds the extremist views that Santorum holds is mentally ill, and it is certainly not accurate that mental illness inexorably or exclusively causes a belief in extremist views.
You probably already know that, though, don’t you? Ha ha it’s not like you really think Santorum is actually crazy. It’s just something you say to demean him and marginalize him! What could be the harm in that, right?
Well, funny you should ask.
Because demeaning and marginalizing people by implying they are mentally ill has the effect of demonizing people with mental illness, many of whom, myself included, do not share in common any political views with the likes of Rick Santorum. The suggestion that mentally ill people are dangerous and unstable makes an already vulnerable population even more so, and creates a toxic environment in which people deemed “crazy” aren’t considered reputable advocates for themselves and their needs, and wouldn’t need to be listened to even if they were, because crazy don’t get a place at the table.
Hey, here’s a fun fact! Do you know two groups who have historically been marginalized with accusations of craziness? Women and queer men! And the fact that we have been dismissed as hysterics and lunatics for, literally, centuries is what makes it so easy for Rick Santorum and people just like him to still say we have no right to basic equality with a straight face in the public sphere and yet be considered viable candidates for the highest office in the most prominent democracy in the world!
Think of that, next time you want to call Rick Santorum “crazy,” and think hard about whether it’s worth it.
I understand the urge; I used to indulge it myself. I don’t anymore.
Melissa McEwan, Shakesville.