Detective Pikachu’s Villain Makes No Sense [SPOILER ALERT!]

I feel like I’m always late to the abled party but I am about to switch the music and make all the abled people feel uncomfortable and Pokemon fans feel outraged.

Gif of CGI Jigglypuff from the Detective Pikachu movie, looking over and glaring with a microphone in their hand via Giphy.
Gif of CGI Jigglypuff from the Detective Pikachu movie, looking over and glaring with a microphone in their hand via Giphy.

You probably want to read my past posts about disabled characters and media representation of disabled people first before continuing this. But I’ll summarize those posts a bit. If you want clarification, go back to those earlier posts.

First of all, I always say to hire a disabled actor to play a disabled character so we get accurate and authentic representation. Abled people perceive disability as something different than disabled people and often portray it into something it’s not. And you are also giving a disabled person a job and it’s difficult for a lot of us to get one because of discrimination.

This goes the same for writing disabled characters. You probably want to hire sensitivity readers or get some kind of input by disabled people for your character to not be full of stereotypical BS.

You could also hire disabled writers for your blockbuster movie.

Detective Pikachu has PLENTY of resources to reach out and hire the right people. So, I don’t want to hear about how they can’t find anyone because disabled actors and writers exist EVERYWHERE.

That about sums up those posts.

Anyway, there are MAJOR SPOILERS UP AHEAD!

Before I continue, I want to say that I am ALL for disabled villains. Anyone can be evil, including disabled people. That is not my issue with this movie at all.

Screenshot of Howard Clifford looking away from Pikachu and Tim.
Screenshot of Howard Clifford turned away from Pikachu and Tim.

It’s the way disabled villains are portrayed because abled people have no fucking clue how to do these kinds of characters without promoting harmful stereotypes.

The movie introduces you to Howard Clifford, a wheelchair user (because of some sort of degenerative disease), and the DESIGNER (and this part is important af) of Ryme City and is super rich. He is a big deal pretty much since he helped create the city.

Now, I think only disabled people will get what I am saying right off because this just is SO RIDICULOUS to me. I laughed in the theater when I watched this and I was the only one because nobody else understood just how silly this is.

Howard says he is “confined” to his wheelchair. Language is important to how we perceive things. This kind of mentality is popular among abled people and how THEY believe we think about mobility devices.

BUT…

A lot of wheelchair users see their device as FREEDOM. The former is an internally ableist way of thinking because wheelchair users wouldn’t be able to leave their homes and participate in activities without the device. Hence, why it is FREEDOM to them.

The issue with using mobility devices like wheelchairs is that places are inaccessible (even though it’s against the ADA law that is almost thirty years old now).

But imagine actually having more accessibility. Mobility devices would become less about being “confined” and even more about having “freedom” to everyone. But abled people can’t have that. It’s seen as “charity” to provide access.

“We are free when using a mobility device but the lack of access gatekeeps us from having equal freedom like abled people do.”

Is this addressed ever in movies? No. Every disabled character has this way of thinking.

And it especially doesn’t make sense in this movie.

This brings me to an old tweet of mine when I found out about this character.

My tweet: Why is it that rich, disabled villains always want to find a "cure" but never put money into making things accessible? YOU'RE FUCKING RICH! YOU HAVE THE POWER TO BRING ACCESSIBILITY. Like WTF? This is what happens when abled people write disabled characters.
Screenshot of my tweet: “Why is it that rich, disabled villains always want to find a “cure” but never put money into making things accessible? YOU’RE FUCKING RICH! YOU HAVE THE POWER TO BRING ACCESSIBILITY. Like WTF? This is what happens when abled people write disabled characters.”

If you feel so confined, WHY WOULD YOU BUILD AND DESIGN A CITY TO BE INACCESSIBLE? Did you just forget to do that? WHY NOT DO THAT NOW? YOU’RE FUCKING RICH!

Gif of James from Team Rocket petting a Persian and sitting on a throne that is surrounded with stacks of gold via Giphy.
Gif of James from Team Rocket petting a Persian and sitting on a throne that is surrounded with stacks of gold via Giphy.

Howard built a whole hologram system so he can “experience the world” even though he could use those resources to ALSO build a kickass mobility device and city or design and build other cities to be more accessible.

It doesn’t make sense to me. This feels like lazy and clueless writing by what abled people believe a disabled person would do. It doesn’t feel like a “justification” to be evil because it comes off so fake and unreal.

I know it’s a movie and this character is supposed to be selfish, but a selfish person would spend everything on themselves. At least they would have a kickass mobility device. I don’t understand.

His wheelchair just looked aesthetically different but was not any different than standard wheelchairs. WHY? If you’re upset that you can’t access the world, why would you have a standard wheelchair? Why would you build an inaccessible world?

He’s rich and has a shit ton of resources. But he wouldn’t HAVE to be evil if he could make his world accessible, right? He would need ANOTHER reason.

It’s as if the writers looked at a checklist of harmful disabled character stereotypes and followed each one.

Why is it that every disabled character is written this way? We all don’t hate our disabilities. We all don’t want cures.

Yes. There is internal ableism and we all struggle with it, but to ignore that this is the main issue that is NEVER addressed in movies and TV shows is problematic.

I know it is supposed to be a kids movie and you don’t want to write something too complicated but did you have to write this character like this still?

NO!

If you want them to be disabled still, at least make it make sense. Maybe add another disabled character that calls out the villain’s internal ableism and mistake on not creating a more accessible world.

What about his son? His son could have been that other disabled character?

Or just make him not disabled at all if you can’t do these kinds of characters justice and promote harmful stereotypes.

This is a kids movie. What will kids take from this? That disabled people need to be cured? That using a wheelchair is a bad thing? That we will become evil if we are not cured?

This movie would have been fine, otherwise.

I watched this movie with a few other people and even they didn’t understand why I didn’t like it at first. They saw nothing wrong with it when I asked before mentioning my issues with it. Ableism is so ingrained.

But this is why I created this blog. I am not allowing this BS to go on for much longer. I will not be complicit.

The only good thing about this villain is that yes… rich people are evil.

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[Trigger Warning: Suicide, Depression] When Religion Views Disability as a Punishment

I grew up going to different Christian churches. I sang in a choir as a kid and participated in activities with other children. I went to Sunday school and was so bored during regular church gatherings whenever I got stuck going to one.

I was told I would go to hell if I didn’t follow the word of God. If I did bad things. And when bad things happened, it was because I deserved it or I was being tested.

I would sit and pray and beg for something sometimes. I wouldn’t say my childhood was easy but we all have our struggles. My mom did her best after she divorced my father (who chose to leave us shortly after I was around 12). I didn’t want to burden her further.

Gif of Homer Simpson at a bowling alley telling his baby daughter, Maggie, “Good girl, Maggie! You knocked down all the pins!” via Giphy.

So I was a good girl and tried my best to excel in school and stayed away from trouble. I did my homework. I did what I was told mostly. I never talked back to my mom when she scolded me for something I did.

In many churches, you are supposed to pray to be healed. To not be disabled. Because a lot people view disability as a horrible thing. They view it as a punishment. They label it as evil.

I have been told that I deserve to have chronic pain for something that I did.

I have no idea what that something is supposed to be. I have tried my best to be “good” all of my life. Why would this happen to me when there are people out there who don’t become disabled and are murderers? This way of thinking doesn’t make sense to me.

I have been told if I just prayed more I would be healed.

I have no idea how much prayer that would be. How many hours of prayer will it take for it to work? How many people need to pray? In the meantime, do I just wait for my life to change the way it was when I was abled? What happens when I spend so much time praying and nothing changes like it has for many others?

I have been told that I am being tested.

How long will this last then? It seems really damn cruel to inflict pain onto someone for a test.

I have been told to not accept being disabled.

I have tried this and it only put me in a horrible mental space. I hated myself. I pushed too much and was in more physical and mental pain than I needed to be. I felt like a burden. I became suicidal.

How can I live with myself if I keep trying to push away something that affects me everyday?

I thought that maybe I should just die so I wouldn’t be a burden anymore. So the pain would go away finally. I felt useless.

I had doctors pushing me away too. My original PCP wouldn’t guide me through what he thought I had or any tests he did.

I had one doctor tell me I need to seek treatment for my obvious depression when I was telling them my struggles that no doctor was helping me manage my chronic pain.

Everyone around me played the guessing game of what was going on with me. But at least they tried more than many other doctors that dismissed me without guiding me to the right doctor that could help me.

But at some point, it was tiresome. I felt like a hot potato being passed around for the next unqualified person to tell me they know better than me.

Gif from The Devil Wears Prada of Miranda (played by Meryl Streep) saying, “Is there some reason that my coffee isn’t here?” via Giphy.

There always has to be a reason for something. People need a reason. People search for a reason. And, of course, there is always a reason for something. But that reason sometimes cannot be found or is unimportant.

People want to justify things that they view as “good” or “bad” in some way. They want to make themselves believe that good things happened to them because they deserved and earned them.

But don’t we all deserve to have food and a home? Healthcare? Love? Friends and family?

Bad people have done all of these horrible things and end up living a fulfilling life. But they are going to hell? What if there isn’t a hell? Why aren’t they being punished for doing horrible things now like I supposedly am?

We can’t continue to justify having amazing things compared to others who probably do all the right things AND MORE but are still in terrible situations because of our broken systems.

This leads to a lot of people staying content because they believe they earned what they have (and especially ridiculously rich people like billionaires).

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. Things just happen.

Becoming disabled was just a random circumstance to me. It just happened. I don’t know if I was “meant” to be disabled or not. But here I am. It’s not going anywhere that I know of. I have been this way for about five years now.

I have no idea if it could have been something I did to make it happen? Not sure if I would have become disabled if I didn’t hurt my back when it all started.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

The more I accept it, the more I have a clear mind and in a positive mental space. I can only do so much. I can’t depend on others to “save” me but I can do my best and fight for my rights and receive the care and accessibility we all deserve to have.

I’m not sure what I am regarding religion. I am more spiritual in a way but not religious. I have a different life than I did and that’s okay.

Disability is not a punishment. It’s not a test. It’s not a burden. It’s not that teaching moment for abled people.

It’s a valid identity.

I do not want unsolicited prayers. Not like that situation I had with a stranger awhile back. Not only was it uncomfortable for me, I felt like I was in danger. And who was this person to think I wanted to be “healed?” They had no idea who I was.

If I was alone that day, I don’t know what I would have done. But now I may just have to pretend to “be healed” so the person leaves me alone if I feel in danger.

And an even worse thing you can do is substitute health and accessibility needs for prayer instead. This leads to more harm.

If you would like to pray for me, pray without telling me.

If you believe in prayer, there are no rules that say you have to tell the person you are praying about for it to work.

Don’t use disabled people to make yourself feel better about your life. We do not exist to make abled people feel better. We are not subhuman. We are not the token to make you feel like you did something good for the day. We are not the good deed.

If you ask someone if you can pray for them, be prepared to take “no” as an answer. Why are you asking a question if you just force prayer onto someone anyway? Is it more that you are going to pray for them anyway even if they refuse? Why can’t you pray on your own? Why is consent not important to you?

Gif of Neil Patrick Harris pointing to you with the text, “not today” via Giphy.

You are only a decent person if you treat a disabled person with respect.

But that isn’t the norm, is it? We are treated like we don’t deserve the same opportunities like abled people.

This is where fakspiration comes from. Oh, look! An abled person did something nice to a disabled person! THIS SHOULD BE NEWS!

NO! THIS SHOULDN’T BE NEWS AT ALL! Why is this on the TV news?

But I digress.

If you notice that your church prays just to make themselves feel good for the day, maybe you need to rethink how you view disabled people. Maybe you need to ask yourself why you pray.

Are you doing it for the person or are you doing it for yourself?

And not every disabled person wants to be “cured” or “healed.”

Personally, I would like a cure but I respect others who do not want that.

I would lose a part of myself though at this point because I feel so connected to my identity as a disabled latina.

It’s not my disabilities that make me angry or anxious most of the time. It’s ableism.

It’s the mistreatment. It’s the judgement. It’s the accusations of faking. It’s the telling me I am not doing enough when I know I am doing my best. It’s the inaccessible spaces.

Religion can be wonderful to have as a disabled person. I don’t know how that would be like because I’m not religious. I’m not anti-religion though. It’s just not something I can connect with my experiences of my disabilities. It puts me in a negative space.

I just know that it’s not my fault. I’m not a burden. I don’t need or have to be healed. And I am fine just the way I am.

If I am somehow “cured” someday, that’s cool. But if not, that’s cool too. I have learned to adapt.

Others can either accept my reality or pray on their own about me.

All I want for people who are religious in my life is to be there to support me on my good and bad days. Be there when it’s fun. Be there for support to fight for rights and accessibility. Be there to call out the abuse of disabled people. Be there to amplify the voices of disabled people.

Most of important of all, be there to listen to us and admit that we have a systemic issue of how we are mistreated.

Self-Care. Exhausting for Disabled People but Optional for Others.

I’ll start off by saying that this is my experience with self-care and heard from many other disabled folks. But I’m sure there are some that feel differently about it.

I used to be abled until I was about 23 years old. A life without chronic pain. I don’t remember it anymore.

Gif of Minions from Despicable Me singing together, “It’s time to partyyyyyy!” via Giphy.

I could get away with so many things and avoid self-care like not drinking enough water, standing/walking for long periods of time and not resting very much, skipping showers, working out and biking to school, sleeping six hours or less a night, drinking a lot of sugary drinks, having more than one alcoholic drink, eating a shit diet, working a double shift at a restaurant, and pulling all-nighters to study.

All that sounds impossible to me now without suffering consequences.

Self-care isn’t a choice anymore because it’s more that I am forced to do it.

I can’t just sleep poorly one night and expect it to not affect me at all the next day. I could have more pain from multiple conditions. I can’t stand on my feet for more than an hour without a very long break afterwards without developing pain in my ankles. I can’t focus on something to study on all night without getting a HUGE headache and feeling extremely tired and unable to focus. I can’t bike very long distances because my knees flare up. I can’t do most workouts unless it’s my physical therapy exercises. I can’t skip showers because my dermatitis will flare up if I don’t keep clean. I need to take my medications.

At some point, abled people do have to do self-care too but not until getting away with avoiding it for a longer period of time and recover much faster.

If I avoid self-care, it could take the whole week or more to recover and have things go back to my most tolerable state.

This is why I can’t just walk or stand for as long as I want. The pain will just get worse and worse until I am found crawling around my house and not be able to prepare food, go grocery shopping, go to doctor appointments, shower, and etc.

When my ankle pain started, it was so bad I used pillows to get around my house because it had tile for the living space and hallways. I didn’t have a wheelchair. And the pain STILL can get like that after five years.

Some people tell me just do it anyway.

BUT I HAVE TRIED SO MANY TIMES!

I end up being in excruciating pain every time and not be able to function at all. And then, they expect you to not be so “negative” when you are having a high pain day.

Gif of Regina George from Mean Girls changing her eyes from upwards to downwards with a worried expression via Giphy.

Okay, Becky. I am supposed to be positive when I can’t prepare myself a meal or go to the bathroom?

Balancing how much I stand and walk is a form of self-care. I protect myself from physical pain and I only have gotten better at it. But there are days when I can’t stand or walk for as long for no apparent reason. Even if I do my best to balance.

Using a wheelchair is a form of self-care as well. I can go out and do things still without putting myself in pain later or if I am in pain already.

Eating healthy has become a lot more of a priority because I can’t do all the cardio anymore. That’s one reason why I went vegan (besides animal rights and environment stuff) and started supplementing too.

Physical therapy, voice therapy, vision therapy, and doctor visits are also all forms of self-care. I had weeks this past year of having all of the above every week. Averaging 3 to 4 appointments EACH WEEK!

At this point, I am so exhausted of doing self-care that it feels like NOT doing it is a form of self-care.

But then, everything would start to go downhill and I wouldn’t be able to function very well or at all.

I also have to remember to bring bed sheets, towel, toilet paper (because I can’t be exposed to scents in all forms), and medications when I travel.

And I need to plan out how I am going to do activities. Do I need a wheelchair? How much walking is involved? Will there be seating available? Is it accessible so I can get in with my wheelchair? Will I have to carry my wheelchair? Will there be scent dispensers? Can I avoid taking Ubers because they are often scented? Is there a place I can go and rest for an hour? Oh, yeah. Don’t forget there might be people asking what’s wrong with you if you are using a wheelchair. Prepare a response and script for that kind of stuff.

All of this is a form of self-care. Physical and mental.

Self-care is a huge priority in disabled people’s lives because there is no negotiating it most of the time.

Gif of the TV show, Scrubs, of Turk waving, “No.” in the background and Carla looking forward to the person off-camera via Giphy.

If you’re an abled person, I am not saying this to make you feel better about yourself. It’s to inform you of the realities of a disabled person.

If they state they need a wheelchair for an event, don’t question it. If they state they can’t walk for that long or are in pain, don’t be the asshole that says just get over it or if they can do ten more minutes (and it’s likely they have been in pain for awhile and it has become less tolerable now).

If you tell me to not do my own kinds of self-care, you are denying me from functioning.

I used to but probably still struggle with internal ableism because I want to get stuff done but push it too much. I have realized that self-care is not something I can choose to ignore. And I have to accept it. So does everyone else.

Maybe I need to talk about the toxic “work” attitude that people have. People work so much they neglect so many things and put down others who can’t do as much. But that’s a post for another day.

The Power of True Representation and Relatability

About a month ago, the Oscars happened. Every rich actor worked with a team to dressed up, put on some makeup, and prepared speeches for any awards they might win.

I never really relate to most of these people. They are just in the movies or shows in which I NEVER relate to anymore either (except for One Day at at Time in which Netflix cancelled so FUCK THEM).

I was browsing my Twitter feed and I saw her.

I saw a cane. I saw a woman standing proudly with it in the sea of flashing camera lights. She wasn’t sulking. She held her cane like a fucking queen.

That moment affected me so much. I was shocked. In the crowds of abled actors who take disabled roles, there was an actual visibly disabled person.

Selma Blair.

This made me realize how much VISUAL representation truly matters. Especially when you feel like you can’t relate to anyone around you. Not in real life. Not on the screens. Not in books.

Because all this media is made by abled people who create stories that fit in the box of what disabilities are like to them. Not from the realities from real disabled people. They can’t draw from experience, so these stories aren’t relatable or real. It’s probably another reason why they hire abled actors for disabled roles so they can play disability by whatever stereotype they wish to fulfill.

I watched a Good Morning America segment with Selma Blair and I was also shocked it wasn’t drenched in fakespiration. It was just her talking about what her disability is like. Her speech was slurred. Doctors didn’t do shit for years until she was finally diagnosed with MS. Neglect and carelessness from doctors most (maybe all at some point) disabled people experience.

Watching the whole segment made me feel so validated. Seen. Heard.

YouTube video of Selma Blair talking about her disability on Good Morning America.

Here’s a person who experiences things that I have. Selma spoke about how getting ready for the Oscars was difficult and took a lot of energy. AND THIS IS SO TRUE! Going out for events is EXHAUSTING and takes a lot of planning for a lot of disabled people.

I know Lady Gaga deals with fibromyalgia too and people forget that she is disabled. It’s invisible but we need disability to be visible too whether they use a mobility device or any other medical device. We need to see that it’s OKAY TO USE THESE DEVICES.

Screenshot of Lady Gaga’s performance via Youtube of her song, Shallow, during the 2019 Oscars. She is sitting on a piano wearing a black dress and a sparkling necklace.

If Lady Gaga one day showed up in a wheelchair, even more people just might think that hey… maybe using a wheelchair isn’t so bad after all and is NOT A NEGATIVE THING!

Bonus points if she ends up using one and then the next day you see her busting out some moves to show that disability can look different depending on the day.

Obviously, I’m not saying invisible illness isn’t valid unless you use a mobility device, but I’m saying we need both kinds of representation and MORE!

Is Selma Blair brave?

Gif of Diana from Younger saying, “So brave” via Giphy.

A lot of media has put this “bravery” label on her. But I think for the wrong reasons. At first, I was taken aback by this because I knew most of these places were calling her brave because she left her house while being disabled. Just existing as a disabled person because we didn’t give up and die isn’t inspiring or brave.

But using a mobility device and facing ongoing ableism does take courage. It’s not our disabilities that cause us to be brave, it’s facing discrimination and inaccessibility that we have to put on a brave face.

Using a mobility device causes me a lot of anxiety because random strangers want to pray for me and ask me intrusive personal questions. I don’t want to deal with that when I just want to get a damn coffee or groceries. So I am forced to put on a brave face. To face these fears. To either tell people to fuck off or let them pray if I don’t feel safe or if I read the situation that a “no” is not a valid answer and put me in danger.

So, yes. Selma Blair is brave. She decided to use a lot of her valuable energy to attend the Oscars and possible face scrutiny by millions of people. I know if I were her, I would be terrified. What will people say? Will people think I’m faking? Will people think I gave up by using a mobility device? Will people believe me when I say I am disabled?

But in these situations we sometimes have a choice if we have the ability to either seclude ourselves or come out with a kickass cane and dress to show that it is okay to be disabled and use a mobility device if you need one.

Now I just wish I could use a cane but my upper joints wouldn’t like it. But hey! I will be planning to get a kickass wheelchair and other mobility devices in the future.

Selma Blair inspired me more to be unapologetically disabled and to come out as I am. I am not going to hide who I am anymore. I will not be sorry for needing certain accommodations. I will not be worried about being negative when I am being honest about my disabilities.

I finally feel like I can start relating to people again. Maybe.

How We Use “Good Intentions” to Excuse Harmful Behavior and Why

In my last post, I talked about how people excuse or reason why others are bigoted and it being because they must have a disability or some kind of mental illness or lack intelligence. I explained how this is simply not true and harmful to those with all kinds of disabilities.

So, I would like to remind you again. Bigoted people are bigoted not because of the lack of intelligence. Calling them intelligence-based insults only stigmatizes those with intellectual disabilities. They know what they are doing. Call them what they actually are. Racists. Sexists. Assholes. Ableists.

Now I can also dive into why good intentions don’t matter when it causes harm. I feel like TV shows and movies excuse a character’s bad behavior with this pretty often.

Screenshot of Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Sierra is hiding underneath a car to spy on the date her and the popular girl in school set up to continue to catfish the other male main character.
Screenshot of Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Sierra is hiding underneath a car to spy on the date her and the popular girl in school set up to continue to catfish the other male main character.

“They had good intentions tho!”

“They didn’t MEAN it!” So that totally justifies them catfishing that guy whose only personally trait is that he is sweet.

“They were only trying to help!”

One of the major things that has made this topic a reoccurring problem that comes up in my experience is watching YouTube. At least I encountered this often or accidentally hear about such YouTubers.

GIF of Carol from the TV show, “The Last Man on Earth,” saying “I’m so sorry.” via Giphy.

If you watch a lot of YouTube, you probably have found those apology videos of YouTubers who did something bad or harmful.

You rarely find a YouTuber who admits they were wrong, don’t make any excuses (they don’t bring up their past or any kind of mental illness), and actually apologize and explain why what they did was harmful.

Most of the time, they make excuses while also stating they are not making excuses. WHAT?

I think it’s important to evaluate yourself and be willing to criticize yourself or take criticism from others. I get that in the social media world, everyone criticizes you for everything. But the difference is being willing to take criticism for something harmful you did and change. And LISTEN too.

Looking for intentions that justify bad behavior is ingrained into society. People search for the reason why a terrible person did horrible things and want to link it to anything like mental illnesses.

There isn’t something inherently wrong with this I feel like. But often mental illnesses are stigmatized along the way. Nobody wants to admit that they are “crazy” like those other people. There is a lot of shame.

But mental illnesses don’t “excuse” harmful behavior. It is important that we take responsibility and seek help which is why we need to provide healthcare for EVERYONE. How can we get better when access to healthcare is impossible too many times?

I have been able to go to a therapist for months now but not everyone will be able to. Why does everyone have to prove their value as a human being so we can get some damn healthcare? WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

GIF of Neil Patrick Harris aligning a stack of papers with a yellow one at the end saying, “hopes and dreams” and tossing it up via Giphy.

I still struggle with saying, “I didn’t mean it” when I feel like the simple answer is “I’m sorry. And I will work on being better.”

I’m not perfect that is for sure. I am also calling myself out in this post. I’m not “better” than anyone else. Hell, I still find myself using terms I don’t like because ableism is so ingrained.

The main statement that I want to address is:

“Good or bad intentions don’t matter if the action(s) cause harm.”

Intentions can be deemed good or bad depending on the point of view.

GIF of The Beast from the animated Beauty and the Beast movie switching his gaze onto an opened book via Giphy.

I feel like the level of someone’s intelligence can be different depending on someone’s point of view too. You have people calling each other ableist slurs (idiot, moron, etc.) all the time because they think they are smarter and those other people are not. But maybe that’s something I need to explore on a different post.

Point of views are the factor in this. It could be coming from a bigoted person.

For example, people who are anti-LGBTQ believe people can just simply just choose to not be who they are. And a lot of them are also religious and say how it is against the Bible (although it’s more complicated than that because one can interpret the Bible in MANY different ways to fit their views).

These people believe there is a hell and being gay will get you there. So in their point of view, it’s a good intention. Does it really matter when LGBTQ people are sent to conversion camps and are abused because people believe they can be changed?

People also love to say they don’t support LGBTQ rights but state it’s just their “opinion.” It’s more than just an opinion though when they vote for taking or keeping away rights for LGBTQ people and it affects them in a harmful way. It’s more than just an opinion when they abuse others.

What about those who are trans? People accuse trans woman of wanting to be able to use women’s restrooms to sexually harass cis women. They are afraid and want to protect others in false pretenses when trans women are just there to pee too and have no motive to sexually harass other women.

Although, I do think that often “good intentions” are actually fear of the unknown or those who are different and not having empathy for others. In my point of view, a bigoted person can’t have good intentions. They prefer that everybody just be like them. No. They demand it and force this onto others.

As a disabled person, I have experienced the “good intentions” excuse many times before.

When I was using a wheelchair and waiting at a bus stop with my husband, a male stranger came up to me and asked if he could pray for me.

I had no idea who this person was or if he was going to touch me (because for some reason you need to touch others physically to make prayer work sometimes?). I didn’t know what to do.

Since my husband was there, he immediately shut it down and told the stranger to go away.

I don’t know what I would have done. As a disabled woman, it can be scary to interact with a man you don’t know. Especially when there is no one around.

I might have felt forced to follow up and just let him pray for me so he wouldn’t get mad at me and potentially hurt me.

I was terrified.

He walked away after my husband told him to leave me alone. Would he have done the same if I told him? Not sure. But this situation still scares me.

But after that occurrence, it got me thinking. Why would he even approach me at all? Does prayer only work if that person knows you are praying for them? Or was it because he wanted to feed his ego? To know he did a “good deed” for a disabled person?

None if this matters because this encounter caused me a lot of anxiety and it still does. I try my best to avoid such situations. I wear headphones. I don’t go out at night alone. I avoid spaces that are deserted. It’s another reason I have been putting off getting another mobility device since I don’t have one currently.

I have been set back on doing things I want to do like searching for an apartment since we are looking to move. But I can only do so much because I can’t walk everywhere for long.

I don’t want random strangers or anyone at all telling or asking me about prayer either.

Religion can be a problematic thing for many people who are different and don’t fit into society’s standards. And I’ll talk about it more in a later post.

Then, there are stories of strangers pushing wheelchair users WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. A mobility device is an extension of our bodies, you can’t just touch one without consent.

This is also why airports need to stop treating these mobility devices like shit and just STOP LOSING THEM and DAMAGING THEM.

And then, there are people that tell you to “get over it” and a lot of the time they just want you to move on but further accidentally move you from facing your problems whether that’s a mental illness or something else.

Telling my OCD to just “get over it” NEVER has worked. It actually makes it worse because trying to just “get over it” and have that not work makes me more anxious.

More so-called good intentions are people in the beauty community doing blackface and conditions like vitiligo for makeup looks. A lot of the time, they excuse doing this because they only want to “celebrate” dark skin or other conditions. So it’s all good. It’s totally not blackface… (obvious sarcasm).

Why not just share your platform to someone who is black or has vitiligo instead? Do a makeup look on them.

There are people not vaccinating their kids because they think they are protecting them from becoming disabled or autism (even though there is no link with autism and vaccines). They hear about many anecdotes from parents who’s kids never have been vaccinated and they turned out fine. So they should totally be fine too, right? This doesn’t put others with low immunities at risk at all (also sarcasm).

This is why any kind of intentions don’t matter. If our actions are causing harm, we need to find ways to change things to not cause harm as much as possible.

Obviously, there are some situations where you do something and you didn’t intend to cause accidental harm. I’m not saying every situation is the same. There are situations that your intentions do matter but they shouldn’t excuse you from acknowledging that you might need to change something if you are causing harm.

This is more on the situations that people tend to easily excuse themselves and don’t do anything to change because they had good intentions.

And now you know why I have my quote on my side bar there.

Trump’s Immorality is Not Because of a Mental Illness or Intelligence Level

Have I pissed you off already? Oh, well. I expect a lot of backlash for this post, but I need to get this off my hectic thoughts.

As a person who has a Linguistics degree and studied the semantics, syntax, acquisition, sounds, and science of language, word usage is very interesting to me and I like to examine these kinds of things.

Words have power. Even if you don’t let them personally “affect” you. But they can reflect the point of view of the person who says them. Whether they are used to bring someone up or down.

GIF of Homer Simpson using a magnifying glass and saying, “A-HA!” via Giphy.

Euphemisms and Perceptions

Here is an example of how words can represent people’s perceptions:

I’m going to give some euphemisms for the word, disability. It makes no sense to me to replace the word because many other disabled people and I don’t necessarily view it as a negative thing. It’s a part of our identity.

Denying myself this identity feels like I’m pushing a part of myself away. A part of myself that affects me so much everyday. If you refuse to deny it, you are denying a huge part of me.

Abled (and some disabled) people feel more comfortable using terms like diffability, special needs, differently abled, handicapped, handicapable, and specially abled.

Why do some people refer to these terms when a lot of the community prefers the word, disabled? Even after the disabled person asks for others to not refer them with euphemisms, people still argue that they shouldn’t identify as disabled.

It’s a form of making excuses to deny disabled people the help they need. “You need a mobility device? You’re not disabled tho even though you can’t walk long distances.”

GIF of Willy Wonka putting his elbow on a table and saying, “REALLY?” via Giphy.

Check out #SayTheWord on Twitter.

It is best to ask a disabled person of what they prefer to be referred to because they have the choice to how they want to be identified. I can’t tell another disabled person how to identify if they prefer a different term.

But many disabled people don’t prefer euphemisms.

This study suggests that the term “special needs” actually raises more negative connotations than disabled.

And how many schools use these terms? Pretty much every one of them. There are “special” education classes and “special” education teachers. Kids are referred to as “special needs” when referring to them.

Society seems to view disability as someone who has “special” needs and not as simple as “human” needs. This feeds into the fact that disabled people are being treated in a “special” way so it’s more of a struggle to enforce accessibility and gain equal rights.

Language is powerful and is a reflection of our point of views. And this is just one example of many.

The Unintentional Stigmatizaton of Disabilities when Attacking Trump

What did all of that have to do with anything and that terrible man at the White House? Well, like I said, how we use words represent how we view certain conditions internally or even unintentionally.

But intentions don’t matter if it still causes harm.

If you scroll through any comment section of Facebook, Twitter, or articles, people will say how Trump is stupid, dumb, an idiot, an imbecile, mentally ill, and crazy while also photoshopping him to be shorter.

I spend a lot of time reading through posts on Twitter and especially threads created by disabled activists. I discovered two blog posts by @EbThen (Twitter handle) in which started to change my perception of how words like stupid and crazy can be a reflection of how we view intellectual and mental disabilities.

This first post got me thinking how my language can further promote harmful ideas of disabled people. How if someone has a condition that causes problems processing new information and ridiculing their condition to insult someone else is harmful.

I struggled with Precalculus in my first semester in college and developed some kind of mental block despite doing really well in high school. I couldn’t understand the concepts for a variety of reasons. But my brain couldn’t process this new information. Did that make me less intelligent?

GIF of Homer Simpson wearing glasses, turning a page of a book, with his palm on his head looking confused via Giphy.

Did I call myself, “stupid?” Yes. Did I think that I felt “stupid?” Yes. Many times. But now that I think about it, I was “insulting” myself while also mocking those with intellectual disabilities. In my mind back then, it would have been so horrible to have a mental disorder.

I want to dive further into the perceptions of intelligence but I’ll get to that.

In this second blog post, they list all the words that are used as an ableist tool to stigmatize and demean disabilities.

Society is very ableist. So it makes sense that our language represents that. Most languages are built on this. Songs are full of it too. Spanish has words like “pendejo” or “loco.”

Why should I continue to use these words when I can work on replacing them with other words like ridiculous, horrible, or evil?

Using these words reflect that being disabled is such a horrible thing that nobody wants to be disabled and that harms disabled people. It justifies abuse and inaccessibility.

People feel so uncomfortable about disabilities and they are scared of them.

Mental illnesses are often armchair diagnosed by people too and call Trump mentally ill. A lot of people seem to equate not being well with racism and bigotry.

The last time I checked, neither of those things are mental illnesses.

It’s not mental illness that makes someone evil. Although, M. Night Shyamalan and others disagree.

Do I care if the president is mentally ill?

NOPE!

The president can be mentally ill and still be a good person. I’m definitely NOT saying Trump is a good person. He is blatantly racist and bigoted.

But being sick doesn’t mean you’re racist. You can be both. You can be one or the other. But they are NOT the same thing. The terms tend to be used interchangeably. This is a problem.

This further promotes the belief that disabled people cannot be good or happy and are evil. How many villains are disabled? A lot of M. Night Shyamalan and comic book villains are.

We are not out to get revenge or find a cure that would harm others in the process.

Also, fuck that Ant-Man 2 villain. They could have done that story without that plot line.

GIF of Ant Man pressing a button to shrink down via Giphy.

Armchair diagnosing Trump doesn’t do anything but further harm disabled people. Is he a narcissist? I really don’t care. I’m not a medical professional and if you’re not his doctor, you can’t diagnose him.

Assuming what is going on with people is also harmful because then it promotes stereotypes. A wheelchair user can’t move their legs or get up in some people’s perceptions when there are plenty of ambulatory wheelchair users.

I have OCD and chronic pain. Will that make me a bad mom in the future? Nope.

Also, why are people photoshopping Trump to be shorter? Does being short equate being a bad president? Or is it insulting to be short? You’re further promoting the idea that being short is not acceptable which is BS.

What about people with dwarfism? Do you understand why this is harmful? This isn’t funny. It’s violence. People with dwarfism are often ridiculed and people think this is acceptable.

What about that time Trump mocked a disabled person? You guys do realize you’re doing the SAME THING?

GIF of Trump making sudden movements with his arms to imitate disability via Giphy.

Intelligence is Overrated

What makes a person intelligent?

Is it the ability to process new information quickly? Being able to do college-level math as a child? Being able to multi-task? Being able to solve problems quickly? Treating others with respect? Not being racist?

I feel like the term can mean something different to everybody. Again, it seems like people don’t realize that one can be perceived as intelligent but be hella bigoted as well.

People think Trump is dumb so that’s why he is so racist. But that’s not the case. They don’t want to accept that a person can be this harmful unless they have some kind of illness.

Do I care if the president is perceived as intelligent? Not necessarily. I much rather have a president that is not racist overall.

The most manipulative people can be intelligent.

Think About It

I’m sure some of you are thinking about how more people are offended now about every little thing. But I promise you that this is not just a little thing.

And the reason why it seems like people are more offended is because social media has opened the opportunity for people who couldn’t have a voice now have one. Especially marginalized communities.

“But these word meanings changed!”

Did they? Did these insults change? What is behind the meaning of these words? Is having low intelligence (whatever the means anymore) so horrible? Using intellectual disabilities as an insult results in the stigma of these conditions.

You’re saying that these people are undesirable and no one should be like them. Some people think they don’t deserve to even exist. Because the idea of being an “idiot” is repulsing.

Merriam Webster came out with an article that in which these kinds of words originated from. You can’t deny the original meanings still are a part of the meanings today.

GIF of Oprah with her hand on her chin, squinting and thinking via Giphy.

What about when you make a silly mistake? And you think, “I feel so stupid.” What do you mean? What is the true meaning behind these words? Because feeling like you’re intellectually disabled is so horrible? So it’s used to demean yourself.

Because only a person with intellectual disabilities would do horrible things or fail that one physics test?

This goes the same for words like crazy. Because people who are mentally ill are deemed so undesirable that nobody wants to be “crazy” so it’s used to insult others. This also leads to people denying their mental illness and not seeking help.

I think we can all take a moment to look at how we use speech and how much power it has.

If you use these words, it doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person. These terms and hate for disabled people are ingrained in our society. It is acceptable hate speech. Just like ableism is acceptable bigotry.

I don’t care if the president is orange or if their hair is a hot mess either. I only care if they are a decent person, not dangerous, and if I agree with their policies.

The only way we can take Trump’s power is by calling out his harmful policies and fighting against them. You can call him a liar. A racist. A bigot. A white supremacist. Ignorant. A hateful person. Dangerous.

But we need stop using disabilities as an excuse of damaging actions.

The Upside’s Failures: A Response to Bryan Cranston’s and Director’s Responses on the Controversy

I had a different post in the works and I had to take break due to debilitating headaches but I wanted to talk about a new movie that recently has come out for a little session here.

You might have heard of The Upside. This movie is a remake of a French one called, The Intouchables, that apparently is loved.

The movie is about a wealthy paraplegic man that is shown how great life can be by an abled man.

At least that’s my take on it from watching the trailer. I am not going to be watching this movie. Tell me if I’m right if you do. I doubt I’m wrong though. These movies are so damn predictable.

GIF of Mel B opening her clenched hand, gesturing to something and smirking via Giphy.

The star of this disabled role is Bryan Cranston and you may know him from previous shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad.

Poster for The Upside movie with the character played by Kevin Hart pushing the wheelchair user played by Bryan Cranston.

He is not physically disabled, so we just have yet another disabled character being played by an able-bodied actor.

He also defended himself for taking the role as a “business” decision. His whole response just sounded like he was the victim in all of this. He is the one taking the very few roles available for disabled people who are often in poverty.

I don’t think he believes in expanding roles to disabled people like he stated because he is doing the opposite of doing that.

How could you preach something and then turn around and do the exact thing you are against?

What is he going to do in the future to help disabled people get more roles? All we get are crickets.

The director, Neil Burger, claimed they did “research” to accurately portray a paraplegic man.

I would just like to ask this:

WHAT “RESEARCH” WAS THIS?

Not that it would make casting an able-bodied actor better. But seriously. What did they do? Did they consult disabled people? Medical advisors? Doctors? Watch movies? Consult other abled actors on how they think a disabled person is?

I HIGHLY doubt they spoke with disabled people. Usually this is the case. Abled people do things without consulting disabled people often. Like the harmful plastic straw bans. And NO! I will NEVER stop mentioning this until it is reversed.

Neil Burger has no idea what he is doing with this movie. All he can do is go by the same boring and harmful narratives that he already knows and taught by his abled peers.

GIF of Ygritte from Game of Thrones saying, “You know nohing, Jon Snow” via Giphy.

I can tell you more about this character without watching the movie. He hates his life. He is rich but money doesn’t make him happy (even though it provides him with all he needs to survive). He blames all of his issues on his disability and not ableism.

This movie is nothing but fakespiration. It is absolutely drenched in it. They used a whole fancy sprinkler system to soak it in.

And danced in it.

Should we be grateful to have this kind of representation?

HELL NO!

The Upside represents society’s view on disabled people. Not disabled people themselves. People think disabled people hate themselves and cannot enjoy anything like I have said before. And it takes an abled savior to show us how to enjoy things.

NOPE! I am not here for this. No, thank you very much.

I’m not going to be grateful for shitty representation. Is it a step in the right direction? Not really. The only positive thing I can talk about is that it might just humanize disabled people a little.

But this is just another movie that has been done. It’s a remake FFS!

We don’t need this story to be told again without changing it.

All this is doing is promoting harmful stereotypes and further damaging the disabled community.

The original wasn’t better either. Disabled people (like everywhere else) struggle and often discriminated against in France as well.

You can bet a lot French disabled people don’t like this movie either. I wouldn’t be surprised if they spoke against this movie but were ignored.

I’m not accepting this kind of representation. This representation isn’t for disabled people. It’s for abled people to feel good about themselves and tease disabled people that just maybe we might get good representation someday.

If you’re not a rich and disabled person, you’re worthless. If you’re disabled, you can’t be happy unless an abled person shows you “the way.” Struggling? It’s YOU! Not because the way society is built on ableist infrastructures and unenforced laws.

 

Research? REALLY? I wish I was joking.