CW: ableism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, and sexual assault (I likely missed some and, for that, I apologize)
First, this was a gift from my friend. She was writing her senior thesis and loved this book. Although she changed the topic of her thesis, she still gave everyone this book for Christmas. Since I’m heading back to school in a helping profession, I thought that while this doesn’t exactly cover my expected audience for my practicum I still felt this would be helpful in the end. Boy was I right.
I fully accept that I have a bias. I am an able-bodied, white, male-passing individual. Sure, I’m not cisgender and I’m not heterosexual, but I still have all those things that stack up to give me privilege that some people don’t have. And, I fully acknowledge that. I will always realize that when Clare was calling out people for making comments and linking death or suffering to the lives of disabled individuals, I have fallen into it and felt that same way with how right those links are. How awful it must be to live as a disabled person.
But that’s not right. And I’m not going to think like that anymore.
Back in my undergrad, I took a class about the psychology of disabilities. Basically, we went over a whole bunch of disabilities — learning, behavioral, cognitive, etc — and talked about what issues there were and how to help that person. Not cure them, but just adapt the world around them to better suit their needs.
What this book did was open my eyes up to what people experience every day. It helped me become aware to thoughts and beliefs that I have held that are completely wrong. It helped me empathize so I can better help clients that have disabilities and how to treat them humanely rather than baby them or make them feel less.
I also loved seeing how easily Clare pulled out the intersectionality and how everything just piles up. While he is white, he is a queer, disabled, genderqueer person who was AFAB. And all those things makes it hard to get the things that he needs.
After reading this, I completely agree that instead of trying to find an elusive cure for the future (which can kill and harm people in the making of it), we invest in the present and making practical decisions that help people. I really appreciated that and how it made me see just how important it is to focus on the present rather than only thinking about future generations. Sure, it’s important to focus on the future, but the present is a good start.
Do you agree with Clare’s idea to focus on the present rather than the future?