My disability
is an inconvenience
to you.
You don’t necessarily say that
but the fact that you offer me
“reasonable accommodations”
lets me know upfront
that my crippleness is a problem
you’d rather not have.
But you know
it’s one you have to face, or
at least try to pretend that you care
or that your company
welcomes
our kind.

You don’t want to be
on a cripple’s shit list
because in your own ridiculous superstitions
you probably believe it’s bad luck
to be mean to a disabled person
because God could punish you
and turn you into one.

So, whether out of fear of God or
fear of a law suit,
you make sure everybody knows
you believe in equality,
and you hire crips
who can represent well,
—the ones whose lives
are just like yours, except maybe
with a slight “defect” that doesn’t prevent them
from measuring up to the ableist expectations
that keep
those with significant disabilities from having a real chance
to offer what they have to give
as workers, as employees
as human beings.

As a disabled person,
a “reasonable accommodation”
translates into:
“We are willing to accommodate your needs
as long as your needs are not
an inconvenience
to us”.
Reasonable accommodation echoes
the misconception that crips’ needs are
special needs
instead of human rights.

That’s why I take offense
to how your offer of accommodations
comes with an opening clause
of self-protection, armed
with preconceived ideas
about what my needs are
even though
I am the only one
existing in my body.

And while there are things I may need
to be able to give
fully, to be able to work,
as long as my access needs are not going beyond
what you automatically get
through your able-bodied privilege,
I see no reason why
I’m the one
who has to be
reasonable.

 

Copyright 2018 by Maria R. Palacios

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