Category Archives: identity

singing the mixed girl blues

he thinks my friend and i are blood
(she is near 6 feet tall. i am 4’9.)
i laugh politely
(she has blonde hair. my hair is red lacquer brown.)
hiding my disappointment
(she is white. do i look white?)

sometimes i can see how people could think we’re related
the only time my tongue is accentuated with ah-cham! and aihigoos is when in despair
my pale red-cheeked skin is only olive during the summer time
my thoughts are articulated through southern y’alls, random oh mys, and valley girl “totally like y’know, right?…!”
disappointed i leave the coffee shop
wondering if i should be wearing shit with dragons and cherry blossoms on it
throwing kung-fu kicks around
maybe being his asian american stereotype is better than this.

whenever i feel alone— like now, when people mistake me for white—
i bring my hands to my face
you are there, hidden in the crevices of my palms
whispering “remember me even when it is easy to forget”
yes. especially when it is easiest to forget.
i think about what struggle my ancestors have been through so i can sit here
and do silly things
like lament identity and perceived whiteness

whenever i am ashamed of my broken korean or misspelled hangul
i run my fingers through my hair,
hearing the plucking of gayageums and the sweep of hanboks brushing against the floor
the harmony of fans, drums, and people remind me that we share more than consonants and vowels
i smile, thankful for this heritage

whenever i feel lost in anti-racist work, wondering where my people fit into this black-white dichotomy that does not allow room for families being torn apart by ice raids,
leaves out colonization so we can focus on “issues at home”
and saves stolen land as a topic for later discussion
(while simultaneously wondering where all the non-black people of color are gonna represent)
i want to scream!
instead i think of my sisters and the amazing support system we’ve built for each other
not coalition building, no
but community building and community weaving
inspired by their work and love i keep on

i remember
i myself
am a mixed girl
who is loved
by other mixed girls
by negotiators of this body
lovers of this skin
other occupiers of fuzzy, seemingly conflicting
identities and space
i am loved
and this is enough.

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8 Comments

Filed under API-A, i love my people, identity, woc, writing/poetry

Here They Come!: the 37th edition of the Disability Blog Carnival

The words carnival and disability together brings many images to mind. Images of freakshows, disability being manipulated, and all kinds of hard times for disabled people are thought of. Here we are though, in 2008, reclaiming and recycling these words together to mean something new. This disability blog carnival, the 37th one of its kind, focuses on the celebration of disability culture, struggle, people, history and identity. Put your party hats on— we’re ready to get started!

“I think it was perhaps the most important thing that happened to me. It formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me, humiliated me, all those things at once. I’ve never gotten over it, and I am aware of the force and power of it.”
—Dorethea Lange on disability

ThinkFreestyle tells us why disability culture is important to her as a disabled Latina while honoring a friend who traveled alongside her in her journey to community. Solitaire Miles shares with us both a beautiful self-portrait and her difficult experience as a disabled person in the entertainment industry. Wheelchair Dancer writes beautifully about how identity is part practice, part culture while Big Noise taps into collective power through pride. Astrid dissects disability culture and asks whether people can rightfully have a disability identity when being excluded from the disability community.
Bladyblog bravely ponders his disability identity and talks about living on the margins of queer and disability identity groups. Fibrofog does a wonderful job also on this topic and talks about how we can not have a single-issue system of justice and expect change.

Baraka describes her disability as a second husband, someone who takes energy from her, while Wheelie Catholic tells us what she doesn’t miss about her pre-quad body. Paula and Tokah both talk about how disability identity sometimes clashes with the other parts of them (and both come up with really cool terms—Paula “cripeleptic” and Tokah “the chippy martyr”). Kay at The Gimp Parade writes about the complicated all-encompassing [inclusive] nature of the disability community. Ettina talks about disability identity as the differences between you and nondisabled people, not labels. Ettina also covers intellectual and developmental disability stereotypes and how her life fits into them. Estee, at the Joy of Autism blog, also talks about difference and how it is not a deficiency [something lacking]. Shiloh also writes about disability being a part of her and even includes an acrostic poem!

Cheryl tells us what life is like when society tells you are lacking in culture or community and makes her own definitions of disability (hint: creativity! Being resourceful!). Terri tells us what she wants— pride, respect, group accountability for ableism, and acceptance. (Check out her list for more.) Mik Danger, one of my favorite bloggers, tells us why people should ally with the disability community and how movements feed each other. Dark Angel radically defies stereotypes with her beautiful queer, blind, pagan, goth self. Matt speculates why people with disabilities are often excluded from houses of worship. Shiva and Trinity and both talk about the politics of passing [hiding your identity] in a very personal way. Trin says “I wasn’t passing. I was telling myself I passed because I couldn’t stomach the idea that maybe I didn’t, that maybe my disability was something that really did affect how people saw me and thought of me and interacted with me.” Shiva says: ”The problem with “passing” and “stealth”, when it comes to liberation movements, is that it’s essentially an individualistic way of seeking one’s own safety, freedom or place in society by moving out of an oppressed or marginalized group, which inevitably compromises one’s ability to fight for the rights of that whole group”.

Pitt Rehab tells us that, with his spinal cord injury, some days he does not feel disabled while other days his life screams disability. Lauredhel tells us how disability impacts day-to-day routines, like going to the doctor. After some seizures and TIAs, Elizabeth McClung writes in with an emotionally raw post and a letter to herself reminding her who she is. Annaham shares with us a self-portrait where she has needles poking every part of her body but still has her fist raised. David shares his painful experience of hearing a disability slur in a safe space. Perennial Sam shares her first blog post ever with us, one that describes the nature of her mental health disability. Yanub, author of Yet Another Never Updated blog (lol), also writes about the nature of her disability and her journey with it. Amandaw tells us of the way she reluctantly [slowly, unsurely] uses the word “Disabled” and her reasons for it. gives us a Hymes asks us a series of questions around how she is treated as a person with a psychiatric disability.

Elizabeth explains why it isn’t autism that she wants cured but rather neurotypicality [the idea that everyone has to think, behave, and communicate in the same way]. Pocochina writes about her struggle with accepting disability and figuring out if she is a part of the community. Zan at Butterfly Cauldron writes about the need for grieving over the changes in one’s body and life because of disability. Verlidaine talks about the “why you” stare when she calls out ableism. Athena and Ivan talk about the ups and downs of disability or autistic pride and the need to sometimes be guarded about disclosing [letting people know] their disability.

Three new websites were shared with us during this carnival: Endeavor Freedom, a networking site for disability activists and everyday people, Feminist Mental Health UK, a group blog focused on mental health issues, and Hows Your News, a fun media site about a group of disabled people making their mark on pop culture!

Julia also shared a fierce poem inspired by Frida Kahlo. Though I was not able to access it because I don’t have an Endeavor Freedom password (yet!), it is Comment #33 on this thread.


Whew! Quite a carnival! If you haven’t had time to post yet, feel free to keep sending your posts this way and add to the dialogue!

A special thank-you goes to Penny who, from my 5 second internet research, has been working on the carnival since September 2006. Many props and thanks also go to the 40 bloggers who put a lot of thought into their posts and submitted them and/or were found out (grin) by Penny at the Disability Studies Temple Univ. blog.

The next blog carnival will be at Ryn Tales on the 22nd so be sure to visit over there and find out more.

Again, please feel free to keep submitting!

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Filed under ableism, abolishing medical and charity models of thinking, community, disability, i love my people, identity, internal change, intersections, links, Uncategorized, writing/poetry

Announcing the 37th Edition of the Disability Blog Carnival!

Disability Identity: What Do You Think??

picture of frida kahlo sitting in a wheelchair with a paintbrush and heart in her lap. over it says Disability Blog CarnivalThe Disability Activist Collective, a group of disability activists working to create change within the disability community by shifting focus towards culture and identity, is currently collecting pieces (poetry, art, essays, videos, blog posts) on disability culture, community and identity in hopes of creating a website or hub on disability culture. This carnival is your chance to participate in the building of it!

This edition will focus on disability identity and culture in all its forms (i.e. radical disability pride, understanding disability through various frameworks, disability intersecting [coming together] with other identities, dealing with pain, etc.).

The deadline to submit something is officially May 4th though I will keep adding people in through a rolling basis. The blog carnival will go on air May 8th. You can submit things by leaving a link in a comment to this post, emailing me it at consciouslycrip [at] gmail [dot] com, or using the blogcarnival.com tech.

Here are some topic ideas!:
• What is disability identity? If you are disabled, do you feel disability is a part of you and your experience?
• What is disability culture to you? How do you put it out there or live it every day?
• Does disability intersect with your other identities (i.e. queer person, person of color, person of faith, etc.)?
• Is pride, community, or the Disability Rights Movement important to you? Why or why not?
• How do you feel about the word disabled? Is it a political term with power to you or do you despise it?
• Do you see disability outside of a rights framework (i.e. is disability something that is more than advocacy to you?)
• If you identify with the autistic acceptance movement, the deaf community, or other groups, how do you feel about disability? Many people do not want to associate with the disability community— how do you feel about this?
• Have you felt alienated [left out] from the disability community because of racism, exclusion because of your disability, the media or other factors? How has this affected your identity as a disabled person?

And some topic ideas for allies:
• Why is disability important to your work or politics?
• How do you feel about the Disability Rights Movement and what would you say to activists who downplay this movement or even disability as an important social justice issue?
• How do you see disability intersecting with feminism, reproductive justice [movement that focuses on ALL people having ALL control of their bodies], and other movements that work to end oppression?
• What do you see in your role as an ally?

Resources (if you have others that will be helpful, please leave a link!!):
Help the Handicapped! (Great funny site to help you understand models of disability. Here the term handicapped is used sarcastically of course)
Disabled and Proud website (TONS of interesting articles to read through)
Oh Don’t You Envy Our Privileged Lives? (article by Steven Brown)
The Wrong Message (article on disability awareness simulations)
Disability Social History Project
(great timeline)
Mouth Magazine (pretty radical, great perspective)

—Thank you to Wheelchair Dancer, ThinkFreestyle, Veralidaine for ideas and inspiration—

53 Comments

Filed under disability, identity, links

dread1myn is fabulous

i love this womyn, her last comment is a entry in itself:

Pride is something that I’ve been working on all my life. It’s like a friend whom I’d like to get to know better. It’s hard to be proud of being Black when nine-tenths of what you hear and see depicted about your people is negative. It’s hard to be proud to be disabled when you’re routinely treated like trash, made to feel as if you must apologize for your very existence, and must fight for the most basic things and rights. It’s hard to be proud to be queer when you can’t even hold your partner’s hand in public without worrying about getting beat up. Pride comes even harder when the groups and people that you count yourself a part of, won’t accept you because you also belong to a group or people that they look down on, or who are not of the dominant culture. Still, I search for Pride, and sometimes, manage to find her in the wierdest places. She pops up often when I least expect her. I still want to know her better. It’s hard to admit that pride doesn’t come easy to me, especially since I’m a somewhat radical disability rights activist. Maybe it’s that there is more pride in me than I realize. Maybe it’s pride and love that has kept me in the disability rights movement for 21 years, with 114 arrests with ADAPT during that time. Maybe it’s pride, love, amd hope that makes me work hard to be the first Black in management at work. Maybe it’s pride after all, that has me smile at my partner and hold her hand in public.

7 Comments

Filed under identity

i won’t send this

…but if i put it here it’ll feel like it.

Continue reading

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Filed under identity