Oh. My. E-F-F-I-N-G. GAWD.

Ah yes. Microagression again. Actually not all that micro. Hugely passive aggressive.

Sorry, Fiona Jarvis, but your defensive attitude about what you did is outrageous.

You should know by now that “humor” can be a very CUTTING sword and can hurt the people it is aimed at like hell.

And you just reinforced your own cluelessness with your comments here. Really, gurrrll, you should have kept your name out of it.

I am a white cisgender,”senior,” invisibly disabled female — except when I use my walker, which I don’t actually need these days (I’ve been working really hard at increasing my strength and balance), but I use it for the visibility it gives me, for reasons such as no one dares make a “joke” about disabled people in front of me.

You should know that your humor is not funny to the people of whom you think you are being “inclusive.”

And if you’re going to stay in this business of disability activism, you damn well better MEMORIZE that damned acronym. If nothing else, you COULD write it down, ya know. Didn’t occur to you apparently. You thought you could get away with just making a joke out of it. Clearly you have been unable to see how insulting your “joke” was/is to the people targeted by it.

That is really a LAZY way to handle it. Sorry. Truth.

Of course people will take offense at your having forgotten, and in the process made a joke about them. What sort of a clueless person are you? You couldn’t grasp how your forgetfulness of something that is terribly important to them would feel.

At least, instead of making a ridiculous and quite insulting joke, you could have APOLOGIZED for not being able to remember all the letters. Your dismissiveness WAS IN FACT INSULTING, whether you choose to see it that way or not.

This reminds me of a dear friend of mine who is also a disability rights organizer and advocate — one who has been arrested HUNDREDS of times at political events where her group ADAPT has occupied legislative and other offices, and have been arrested for refusing to leave when orders were given.

Her disabilities include experiencing enormous physical pain pretty much the whole time (including during the many hours of travel by bus and train), and DOING IT ANYWAY.

She’s been knocked flat on the ground out of her mobility chair by cops and security officers, pushed on the ground, put in cells without access to her medications, and so much more.

In addition to dealing with disability rights people being clueless about gender issues (she is an “L” in that long list), many of the white activists (i.e., the majority) are also racist as F (but of course, like so many other white people who don’t have a clue about what racism is, insist they are not at all racist).

They’ve tried to persuade her that she is in fact “privileged” because of her education, which she had to fight like hell to get not only because of her disabilities but also because of racism. They were perfectly capable of doing the same, but they apparently chose not to fight that battle.

Having gumption and spirit and determination to fight is NOT an aspect of privilege. It’s what makes you a LEADER of people who lack privilege.

The racism as well as the homophobia is just about as prevalent in the disability movement as it is outside of it. Indeed, for HER, the racism has been paramount, especially coming from people who are supposed to be her allies.

(Somehow I have a suspicion you haven’t paid the prices she has paid. If I am wrong, I apologize in advance.)

I am frequently humbled by her commitment and the sacrifices she makes on behalf of the WHOLE LOT of disabled people regardless of their various intersectionalities. I could never do what she does myself. The best I can do is give her emotional support for the battles she fights for oh-so-MANY people.

You need to WAKE TF up to the fact that you are NOT as “inclusive” as you believe yourself to be.

If you WERE, you would have understood from the beginning why those “jokes” would be INSULTS to a whole lot of people. If they haven’t spoken up to you it’s because they know what your attitude is going to be and they don’t want to have to deal with it:

DISMISSIVE.

Exactly as it is in your “letter” here.

You need to STFU for a while and actually *LISTEN* to people who are objecting to what you call “humor.”

Put your ego aside. HEAR what is being said. Accept that regardless of your intent, you did in fact insult people. And you need to stop being clueless about how people are hearing what you think of as “jokes.”

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Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.

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Georgia NeSmith

Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.