We hear it daily. We hear it blatantly. We hear it applying for jobs. We hear it in public places. We hear giggles. Worldwide, society has an opinion on people with visible disabilities.
We have the people who think we ‘can’t’. We have the people who think they need to talk to us like a toddler. We have the type on social media who post inspiration porn or a photo op with someone they barely know with a visible disability, to gain loads of likes and sympathetic comments. Speaking of social media, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter – they’ve all replied, ‘we don’t find anything about this offensive’ when I’ve reported disability bashing.
We have the politicians who exclude us, and the politicians who try and buy our vote with empty words. We have the people who completely ignore us because if they look at us, they might catch it. We have the family members who disown us because ‘it’s so depressing’. We also have the family members who disown us thinking we’re faking it or we’re embarrassing them. We have the street preachers, people we know, and people we barely know who offer cures, links, articles – anything related to your disability or what they think your disability is, because you might not know about this ‘Ivermectin’ type miracle cure. We have the industries who have ‘DEI’ or “Diversity & Inclusion” programs with photos of us on their websites to say ‘see, we have a D&I department’. I hear they get paid well, too. There are the people who still feel that they can bully us, shame us, laugh at us. There are the ones who stick up for our community ONLY when they want to argue politics to say someone was so evil. After that post, they forget us. There are those who want to say, ‘but I have a disability’ and try and get in on our opportunities, only to find out there are few – but what we know is, we have to build them ourselves. If you can’t see your disability, you’re not discriminated in the same way a person with a cane, chair, ASL, walker, crutches, scarring, deformity – anything that people see with their eyes or hear with their ears and decide they don’t want you on the team.
Then there are those like Candace Owens. A bigoted, fearful, jealous, sellout. She’s no different from the rest of those in her lane – and this is not about politics. Those types are on all sides of the fence. However, she has publicly shown the world that she is so terrified to actually say what she means directly to a reality star (haha – sorry, that gets me), that she has to take a minority group that she feels is beneath her, and throw us under the bus. So, did this hurt the reality star? No. All Candace Owens did is present a golden opportunity for that reality star to defend us, and look like a hero. For all we know, they could be working together on this. Oh, let’s wait for their new co-lead charity for special kids. Or Candace will next publicly make a donation to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital rather than actually admitting she said something evil. She’ll post the amount donated to her website, which we’ll learn years later that she never followed through with. People who hate themselves hate on others. Whether if she truly hates us or the reality figure, she’s the one looking like the fool here.
People like Candace Owens spread hate. Why? Because they hate themselves. Rather than spreading good in the world – and she could totally do this, being a wealthy female of color, as well as her past – she has a voice, and she knows how to gain a following. However, she chooses to spread hatred. She’s doing exactly what her high school did to her. Those vicious equally self-loathing types who praise, follow, and hit Like on their keyboards are going to adopt this same attitude or it will strengthen their view on people with disabilities. Because if Candace Owens feels this way, it’s okay. They might even look down upon that family member with a visible disability and now feel a little disconnected from them now. Or when they develop a disability, they will gain this same self-hatred Ms. Owens has and begin to project it onto others.
Meanwhile, Candace Owens doesn’t give a F. She just wants to rake in the views to keep getting the profits from advertisers. She doesn’t bring up her past, which is something to be proud of. It would give this woman far more respect than the façade she exudes for political and financial purposes.
So while we approach a new level of disability bashing from her followers, let’s stand tall, ladies. As with all bullies, Candace Owens doesn’t deserve our attention. Women with disabilities have learned the hard way to have self love and self respect. We know who is genuine and who is a fake – most of the time. Continue to hold your heads high, keep on trucking no matter what, and be the woman you’ve always aspired to be. As Eleanor Roosevelt would say, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.