In studying the sociology of disability, I came across the quote by sociologist Elliot Freidson from his book Profession of Medicine.
[For people with disabilities or chronic illness], acceptance by others hinges on maintaining properly undisturbed social relation with them... Legitimacy is conditional on limiting demands for privileges to what others consider appropriate. (p. 235)In other words, abled people (TABs) will help people with disabilities (PWD) as long as the TAB thinks the PWD knows his/her/ou's place and is not asking for too much.
When I read this, my brain went, "Yes! That's part of my life! That's why I am studying sociology of disability." And it helped me understand part of why I am afraid.
I can only speak for myself, but I see this attitude all the time. 'We will help you because you are disabled, but you better not get uppity about it.' And this idea keeps me submissive sometimes. Because I need help sometimes. And it scares me what would happen if I was "too much" and offended someone. Because then who would take me to the ER? Or get me food when I can't do it myself? Would my professor give me a worse grade? Would my doctor stop treating me? Or...? It has happened to me and many other people, the consequences of "asking for too much," asking to be too much.
But what really upsets me is when this fear becomes part of my personal life. I have many wonderful people in my life. And most of them would never do this to me--withhold care because I pushed the limits set for me as a disabled person. But at the same time, they grew up in this society, grew up learning the same disablism I did. So a little part of me is scared that maybe they would. Is scared of what would happen if one day I was just a little too much. And I wonder: what would a little bit too much be for my friends?
It makes me angry that I feel the need to be submissive to doctors and professors and other people when it comes to my disability.
But what really makes me angry is that disablism makes just a little part of me afraid of my friends. That's wrong.