Once upon a time, when I was in grad school at CSU and one of the most politically incorrect white males on campus, a professor proclaimed, “I think you can be saved!”
Since white males didn’t deserve any sensitivity, he probably had no idea just how offensive he was. As a child, the paranoid, raging whippings started when I was about 5, and by the time I was 9 or 10, I wished I was dead. As a teenager, I was told that I would never make it in life, and that drove me to suicide. The idea that I could “be saved” starts with that same premise.
Now I’m getting a paper published in a field that I had to leave because I make colleagues and humans uncomfortable. In the author’s proof, the journal replaced the words in the author’s information, “retired by disability,” with “retired.” No doubt it was considered unprofessional and just too personal, an unmentionable topic.
Odd isn’t it? When one must be hypersensitive to issues of race and sex, and gays can come out of the closet, Disabled Americans, especially those with psychiatric disabilities, are not supposed to speak in public about our experiences in being denied productive work that we can do. Loss of it devastates our finances and health. We may be the largest and least employed minority, yet we should never allow blacks or women or gays to suspect that their issues and agendas are not uber allies. In the working age population, white males with disabilities number about 60 percent of all blacks, male and female, able-bodied and disabled, combined. Yet we should never expect the EEOC to take up our cases with the same passion, regard and timeliness as more politically powerful and favored uber minorities. No doubt we shouldn’t be cynical or resentful either. My goodness, that would be unprofessional, and just getting entirely too big for our britches, not to mention insensitive to those steeped in suffering and oppression.
Don Baker, Ph.D.