Believe it or not, I can be a bit of a dick sometimes. I know what you’re thinking: “NO Alex! I won’t have it said. A more saintly person than you does not exist.” Well, I’m sorry to shatter the illusion, but I’m afraid it’s true. I am just as capable at being a dick as anyone else.
I was watching the comedian Tom Segura doing a stand-up show on Netflix the other day which was hilarious. One particular thing he was talking about which I found especially amusing was about disabled people. He said:
“I am exhausted of the idea that all disabled people are automatically an angel on earth. They’re not. They’re people, and you should treat them like people. But you don’t, you patronise the shit out of them.”
I couldn’t agree more. I have had people talk to me like a child because they assume that as I am in a wheelchair I must have the mental abilities of a five-year-old. I want to say to them “I have a Masters degree you fuck wit so piss off back to whatever planet you come from.” But I don’t, because I’m too polite.
Disabled people are just like everyone else, and just like everyone else they can be dicks sometimes. As Segura puts it “Disabled people have to earn their cool points just like everyone else.”
I have known plenty of disabled people in my time and some of them were dicks, but some of them were cool too. If you see an adult with a disability, talk to them like an adult. If they happen to be a dick don’t just pretend they’re an angel when clearly they are not.
You have to be careful though. Some people may appear to be dicks, but their behaviour may be due to their disability and not really their fault. For example if someone with Tourette’s called you a wanker it’s not because they are being mean, it’s because of their condition. Unless of course you actually are a wanker, in which case they are telling the truth. Likewise some people with autism may appear to be disruptive but their condition may cause them to be so.
But for some people it’s nothing to do with their disability, they are just major dicks, and so should be dealt as such.
Some people might say that disabled people have a right to be pissed off and annoyed all the time as there is still so much discrimination in the world. However I disagree. Yes we should get annoyed and angry about discrimination but that anger should be channelled into positive action. It should not be directed at everyone around you because that does not solve anything. It just makes you seem like a dick.
As Stephen Hawking said:
“It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”