Ever had a disability-hating bully?Jul 24 02:50
I knew the way the world viewed me was going to be drastically different the moment I got on the school bus (from the back where the rickety ramp was at).
The 'bad boys' who usually hung out here did not like me being there and really didn't like wheelchair-users, so they started to wail into me with a barrage of hurtful words the moment the bus driver buckled me in and left. This moment goes down as one of the most sad moments of my life.
They called me “crippled,” told me I shouldn’t ride on “their bus.” I cried. And …this was one of the saddest moments in my life since breaking my neck, and not because they were so mean to me (although it was really awful). It was because my best friend, who was sitting three seats ahead of me (and overheard the entire bullying going on), ignored what was happening and didn't say anything. I was quickly got a dose of “real life” (and have since been getting it in copious amounts).
I so wish I could go back and yell at these jerks (I was only 14 at the time and had yet to find my sass). I hate to say it, but being bullied kinda comes with the territory when you’re disabled. Disability-haters lurk more often than you think (gah makes me paranoid). When you get injured as a teenager (and especially so as a child), you get a good taste of this since (let’s say it together now) - kids can be cruel.
The reason I bring all of this up is because last week, Jack Jablonski, the 16 year old Minnesota hockey player who was injured last December, was being cyberbullied by some seriously evil people on Twitter (you can read more about it here). It always appalls me, astounds me, whenever anybody who is able-bodied bullies someone for the sole reason that they have a disability.
Haven't we moved passed this yet? Will we ever? None of us are immune to being bullied, but this type of bullying can to be wholly damaging to the psyche. No word yet if Jack's bullies have been hunted down and tarred and feathered (don't put anything past hockey players who are defending one of their own).
Have you been bullied because of your disability? What did you do? Is ignoring them the best policy (or is sweet sweet revenge your style)?
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1. Crystal Rose | Jul 27 07:12
I was bullied when I was in school, and at the time my arthritis was very mild. I had only a mild limp, wasn't even using a cane yet. Kids are going to bully anyone who they perceive as weaker. Bullies are the cause of the day, but no one has ever managed to do anything about them yet and they never will. They'll find a way around any attempt to shut them up. Expelling them from school would create a whole other set of problems, and then you'd still have to deal with them in the neighborhood. The sooner kids who are bullied learn that life isn't fair and there are always going to be idiots out there saying hurtful things, the sooner they can ignore the idiots and get on with their lives. Why would you believe anything an a-hole like that has to say? Their bus? Really? Did it have their names on it? I've had idiots say things to me as an adult, but it goes in one ear and out the other. Not my problem if they want to show their assets, IYKWIM.
2. yentaleh | Aug 01 07:50
I was bullied a lot when I was younger. (especially in boarding school) I was born with CP and even though I was raised to be "normal", my life was far from it. I remember one instance in school where my bully, pushed me down the stairs because she knew that I had terrible balance, I ended up breaking my arm. I saw the person who bullied me recently, at Pike Place Market in Seattle. She too had become "disabled" from being very obese. She didn't recognise me at first, but when she did, all I saw was shame. (She too is in a wheelchair, a Drive standard chair. I have a Q7) I rolled up to her, and asked how she's been, she said life could be better. I just shook my head at her, and told her, "Welcome to my world." She nodded, but never did apologise for her past transgretions. My last words were, "I forgive you, for what you did to me in school." She looked down with tears in her eyes and sadly rolled away while I stayed looking on.
3. Rolling Thunder | Sep 21 04:28
I only became disabled as an adult so I was spared school bullying, or knowing myself, the bullies were spared, but I have had a few adult incidents. The worst was in an aeroplane. I had been seated for a few minutes when my the 'lady' arrived to take her seat next to me. I casually apologised for any difficulty she may have climbing over me to get to get to her seat and out as I was disabled an incapable of standing up to give her room. At this point she freaked out and told the attendant that she would not sit next to me. Asked as to what the problem was she rudely answered 'it's my business'. She was told that she was causing an unecessary commotion and delay and the only alternate seating was at the rear of the plane in a few spare seats. She not only freaked some more, she had the gall to ask why I was not seated at the rear. Eventually she was told it was either the rear or disembarking. Huffing and puffing she went leaving some people with an idiotic experience to remember.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.