A Letter to the Internet
September 8, 2017 | Claire Houston, 2017 AAPD Summer Intern
Hi. We haven’t really met before, so let’s have some introductions. Internet, meet us, the over 110 million disabled people, and over 2 million disabled college students, that show up every day. You might not remember we are here. Maybe it’s an honest mistake, and you just forgot we exist for a moment. Or perhaps you believe we are faking our disabilities or are burdens to society, or you simply just don’t care about us. But we are here. And every day, you hurt us.
Often, it’s unintentional. A quick snapshot of your dog; a video promoting an event; a rant about something that happened at work that day; an article you shared without really reading it. Chances are you have no idea that you are excluding us.
But those little things, they keep us pushed out, without you even realizing it. The photo you shared had no image description for the blind. The video, no captions for the deaf. Your post used words like “stupid”, “lame”, or the R word, words that have been used against us, and words that hurt us. And the article, contained no content warnings for those with PTSD. These are the little things you do every day, every post, every tweet, every update and these little things just pile on us like bricks.
Some of you downright dislike us, hate us even. You mock us, create groups that warn against the dangers of becoming like us, turn our pictures and stories against us, into objects of pity, or objects of inspiration.
You make something as simple as helping a blind man hail a cab go viral and become national news. You do this because it makes you feel better. Did you ever stop to think about how we feel?
So internet, here we are: 110 million of us, standing before you. Here’s what we need you to do: stop shutting the door in our face. We’ve put up with it for long enough, and it’s time, for you to change.
All of Us
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Claire Houston is a 2017 AAPD Summer Intern. This summer Claire interned with JBS International.