Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guessing Game

Can you guess who is writing this blog?

Go on guess.

Here's a harder question:

How many fingers are typing these words?

Come on, don't be lazy ... guess.

Well, here are the answers to those two questions given in one sentence.

Dave Hingsburger writes this blog using eight fingers and two thumbs.

I think this needs to be clarified.

One the comments yesterday suggested that I think I speak for the disability community, others have accused me, from time to time, as attempting to be a spokesperson for people with disabilities.

This blog is a place where my voice is represented by these typed words. I speak only for myself, I do not and have never claimed my voice or my opinions to be representative of all people with disabilities. I do not and have never claimed to be a spokesperson for the disability community.

There are times I have written things here that virtually no one has agreed with. You will note that I don't ever remove comments that disagree, you will also note that I do not use 'comment moderation,' I encourage debate and respectful disagreement. I'm OK with that. Sometimes I have realized that I had been wrong in my opinions, sometimes I remain stubbornly alone with my point of view. That's the way it is when you have dynamic conversations.

My opinion is my opinion and mine alone.

I find, though, that when someone disagrees with me, strongly, I am often accused of assuming a role that I have never sought, and do not desire. This seems to me to be a way of putting me in my place and attempt to silence my voice and negate my opinion. I don't mind someone arguing with the logic of my point of view or disagreeing with my experience by citing a differing one. But I find it slightly objectionable when the attack becomes personal.

A community is made up of voices, differing voices.

A community is made up of differing points of view.

A community is never one voice or one point of view.

I stand by what I wrote yesterday.

It is what I believe and, even after reading the comments, what I still believe. True I was a bit surprised by the diversity of reaction to the blog, but that surprise was a pleasant one. I was glad to have written something to which there was a variety of reactions. This allows me to see a bit further into the heart and mind of our community. This allows me to have a glimpse of the 'diversity' that our 'difference' as the 'disability' community experiences. I'm honoured by that opportunity.


This is me.

Dave Hingsburger.

Oh, and, of course, my eight fingers and two thumbs.


Tamara said...

Perhaps the accuser should count the number of times you used the word "I" in the post ...

Glee said...

spot on Tamara :)

CAM said...

Surely the person who felt you presume to speak for the entire disability community is educated in the matter enough to know you are not even close to the only disabled person to advocate for disabled pride and that indeed disability pride as a movement has existed for some time now?
So although you only speak for yourself, and although others may not agree with you, it is not as if you are talking about some far-fetched ideas that nobody else in the world has ever thought of.
Disability Pride is real, reasonable, and needs to grow as a movement until it reaches the level of other groups that have faced oppression.
That's just MY opinion!

annette2 said...

I keep looking for you downtown, but so far no luck in that area. Maybe because I am a semi-disabled (can you be that?) person in East York mostly.

I think it is quite clear that you speak for yourself, with an outlook of your own on some broader communities of whatever groups and people interest you

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

This is your blog. You can say whatever you want. It is always thought provoking. I like it. Keep doing it just the way you have been. Sometimes when people speak from the heart of their own experience, it is hard for others to hear. But it should still be said (or written)


Princeton Posse said...

Ditto Colleen

Kristine said...

I think you understand way too much about disability to think for a minute that we need another spokesperson! There are plenty of people out there getting plenty of money and/or glory for speaking on our behalf. We don't need anyone speaking for us; we need people to listen when we speak for ourselves. Like you're doing, here, in your blog. And it's even better when we get to talk to each other. Like we're doing, here, in your blog.

Carry on. :)

Myrr said...

I went back and reread yesterday's post - I didnt read the comments yesterday. My thought is that while I dont disagree with you and you are certainly not the first disabled person who has said this I have also heard many more disabled young people who would wish they were not disabled. Maybe we do need a disability pride movement.

The other thought it has raised for me is would I do away with my health problems? Am I actually disabled then as a result of my arthritis and back problems?

I must admit I would gladly trade away the pain and reliance on painkillers and others, when I see my children run ahead wanting me to race and all I can hardly walk never mind run. I would gladly exchange my walking stick for even a day pain free for that horrible gnawing pain to go. For me I'm not sure improved accessibility and society opinions would make me happier - although I gladly applaud these. My "disabilty" brings pain and that is what I would love to see removed.

It is an interesting thought Dave as usual, thank you for challenging us to think about it.

Anonymous said...

I am the one that said that perhaps you assume to speak for diabled people based on these comments you wrote:

"Parent says: You know when it comes to loving, he doesn't have a disability at all.

Child hears: Parents admire me only when they can morph me into an able person.

Media says: It's her talent that defines her, not her disability.

Disabled person hears: I am valued for what I do, but not for who I am.

Staff says: Don't let anyone tell you that you've got a disability.

Disabled person hears: Don't admit to your disability, it's a bad thing."

How do you know what the disabled person hears? That was my point. Making such assumptions is as "bad" as others make about the disabled - which upset us all. It was not meant as an attack - just a hmmmmm...Perhaps you could have worded it that "It is possible the diabled person hears..." - for it is possible - but you cannot speak with confidence that it IS actually what they hear.

I am disabled - and I don't hear that. And reading some of the other comments on the blog of discussion, others don't either.

Yes - you have a right to say what you want - and you kindly let us too. Thanks.

John R. said...

Nice thumbs!! Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Anon - I think the point is in the experience of those who have worked with people with disabilities we know that is what they "hear" because they tell us.

We can't ignore the experience of many when there are those who thankfully have a more positive experience of how they see themselves and consider themselves seen by others.

In my experience the young people I know always feel as if they are something to be fixed, cured, made better. It broke my heart listening to one young woman who honestly believed if she did not have CP her families problems would not exist.

Dave may not be the "voice" of disability but he has a vast experience in the field and as such he deserves a hearing - even if people don't always agree with him. This blog isnt an educational thesis it's his viewpoint.