Stella Young died young —probably too young to have realized the massive awareness she generated when she coined the term Inspiration Porn. It is in her memory that I take her concept of normie feel-good pity and turn it into a poetic rant.

 
Inspiration porn is

using our disabled stories

as a way to uplift yours, but doing so

by putting us down, and framing our struggles

into little happy pictures about overcoming our bodies

while you feel grateful you’re not us,

and say this to us

with an Amen or a God Bless You because your version of God

will justify your ableist crap,

and you expect us to accept one scrap of your charity

at a time, on your time when the time is convenient

to you, and you donate to your favorite charity,

one of the many that inspire, like, you think,

all cripples should.

Inspiration porn teaches you

that it is our job as disabled people

to make sure you feel blessed, lucky, and grateful

that you don’t have to live

our broken lives.

 

Inspiration porn is how disabled people are used.

We are forced to feed the broken conscience of those

who’d rather ignore us.

We are forced to share our scars,

our pain, our success, our art

through a voice of forced gratitude,

sending the message

that without your non-disabled help,

we are too pitifully crippled

to contribute anything,

to create

anything,

to dream up anything.

And that’s just some of the bull shit

crips are forced to believe.

 

We speak in words of constant gratitude.

We’ve convinced ourselves

that unless our experiences are validated by the normies,

our crip truths are not worth sharing.

Society is convinced

that disabled people are meant to be

a non-stop source of pity-rooted admiration.

 

Your interactions with us

are the hooks you throw

into the pond of our imprisoned desires –our desire for inclusion

our desire for equality,

our desire to break free and share

who we truly are.

You turn our hunger

into your chance

to feed your ego, build heaven brownie points, and become part

of the passive-aggressive oppression of disabled people.

We are not here to help you grow

at the expense of our own identity.

With are not here to help you accentuate your day

with that Amen or that Hallelujah

that celebrates the dismissal of our humanity.

Inspiration porn is when you can’t see humanity

in the disabled people you cage in institutions,

and seeing our oppression as a photo-op for your organization,

the chance to document our struggles as your success,

put a label on a file

that secures funding

to help empower the cripples who you think are nothing

without the good deeds caught on film.

Inspiration porn is your lack of shame when you do all this.

Inspiration porn is doing all this and thinking you’re doing us a favor

by offering us cookie-cutter models of inclusion,

and feed us an illusion of equality

while you praise your own kindness in public

in the name of the Lord.

Inspiration porn is when the only opportunity you give us

is the opportunity to be your prop —the token cripple

in your fake story of equality

where you get to claim full credit

for offering the appearance

that you give a shit.

 

Your shit sandwiches presented as caviar,

and, Jesus,

cripples bought them!

 

 

Invite Maria R. Palacios to speak at your next event.  Email her at palaciosmaria66@gmail.com