In my eagerness to do a piece about labor on Labor Day, another tradition of the Holiday Weekend skipped my mind: the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Fortunately, I did not spend yesterday sobbing on a street corner and telling people how much life in a wheelchair sucks. Neither did the disability bloggers at www.karasheridan.com, with their “Blog Against the Telethon.”
For many people with disabilities, myself included, the Telethon is an inexcusable pity play. Yes, it raises money, but kids sitting on stage crying about how disabilities are awful is totally disgusting. I have a disability. It is a part of my identity. My wheelchair is a part of my identity in the same way that my ethnicity and birthplace are. I do not obsess about it, but it can be a source of meaning in my life. I would not trade it for the world.
Instead of digging out your wallets to support the Telethon, spend this week opening your mind. Disability is a natural part of life. We are not people in need of cures. We are people in need of acceptance for who we are. If you can look beyond the connotations of disability and realize that we have the same dreams and aspirations as you do, you will have made a far more generous contribution to our community than Jerry Lewis ever could.