Disability privilege?

I spend a lot of (read: too much) time on Twitter. I mean a DISGUSTING amount. I guess that’s what happens when you live in a state where everyone’s concept of fun involves spending time outdoors but your legs just aren’t having it. On Twitter, there’s a lot of talk about current events, celebrity feuds, and the proper use of “your” vs. “you’re”. There’s also recently been a huge trend toward discussing the concept of privilege.

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Chances are you’ve probably seen the articles about it, too. White privilege, middle class privilege, thin privilege, able-bodied privilege, straight privilege. Since I’m 4 of those 5 things, I guess I don’t have a lot of room to talk. I mean, aside from depending on other people to help me with every physical aspect of my life, I’m pretty privileged.
I want to talk about disability privilege, though. Because it’s a thing. It’s only a thing because I make an attempt to see the silver linings in most clouds, but I benefit from a great deal of disability privilege.

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Let’s start with the parking. You know I have to address it. Sure, there’s been an upswing in expectant mothers parking but no matter where you go you can expect to find a handful of handicapped parking spaces. This means the mall, the grocery store, even the gym, have spots set aside specifically for those with mobility disabilities. Oh, it’s sleeting? Lucky for me I have a little plastic placard that almost guarantees me a spot less than 100 feet away from the building entry. Talk about jackpot.

Next, I want to address concert and event venues. Disclaimer: I do NOT speak for all disabled people with this statement (or, for that matter, with any statement). I know people who have had terrible experiences with concert venues being inaccessible and that is inexcusable. However, I have had nothing but great experiences with almost every event venue I’ve been in. By great I don’t mean they were willing to work with me – I mean they pampered me. “Oh you’ve got cheap seats? There’s space in the pit, let’s get you up front.” And the look on people’s faces when I get to pass an entire line to get into the concert and get my seat early? PRICELESS. Well, not priceless. The price is the total lack of independence…but they don’t need to know that. They can just carry on thinking I use my wheelchair for nothing more than primo seating. It’s easier for them that way.

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Concert seating leads me to celebrity interactions – my favorite part of being disabled (if we’re being real, there aren’t many to choose from). Now, I’m not naming names, but there’s a certain young wizard who is considerably shorter in person than he seems in the Great Hall (if you know what I’m getting at). There have been a few other times where I’ve met people because of my disability and let me tell you, THAT’S a privilege.

This post isn’t intended to make light of privilege (I’ll do that later, trust me), or even to make my disability seem like a walk (drive?) in the park – it’s not. The point is, in almost any situation you will ever be in, something good can be found in it. You just might have to work a little harder than you’d like to see it.

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4 thoughts on “Disability privilege?”

  1. Great post! I agree there are silver linings to everything, even disability, you just have to look for them. I agree with you about the music venues having good seating. most of the ones I’ve been to have had pretty good disabled viewing areas, and I probably got a better view than most people. however, I’ve been to some that didn’t have anything at all and I just had to try and look for a gap in the crowd. queue jumping is the best perk though, especially when the queue is a mile long!

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      1. I read they don’t allow it anymore because of claims people were using able bodied people to pose as disabled people and paying them big bucks so they wouldn’t have to wait 3 hours to ride the rides.

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