Category Archives: The WE Empowerment Center

Banning Plastic Straws: The Strawman of Strawmen

A bingo card titled "Plastic Straw Ableism Bingo", in yellow text on a green field. At the bottom of the page it says myfreebingocards.com Bingo squares have black text on grey field. Text: What about reusable straws? They can use paper straws & compost them. My sister's cousin's friend works with the handicapped... It's ableist to say that DISabled people need straws. They're just as capable as everyone else. We all need to make sacrifices (which is why I chose a campaign that requires absolutely nothing from me). All this negativity. It's a start!  I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people. What about BAMBOO!? What did people use before there were straws? We have to start somewhere.  Why can't you carry a metal straw? Can straws be made out of hemp? Carry reusable straws with you. It’s very simple. Problem solved. Wouldn't it be the responsibility of the "DISabled" person to have one just in case? Should we expect establishments to provide wheelchairs for all the disabled "folx" too? I once heard a blind man say.... Some of my best patients are crippled. I know someone who needs a straw or water bottle to drink and he carries his own. Straws worked fine without being plastic. People will stop using them if you stop selling them and making them. Start making paper ones like the GOOD old days. They can drink from a well, actually.... We need to start somewhere. It's killing the ocean. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.

By Emma Rosenthal for inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com

Rebuttals to each bingo square:

What about reusable straws?
Reusable straws are problematic for many reasons. People with the types of DISabilities that require the use of straws to drink often can’t use reusable straws which need to be cleaned, very carefully. If they are not cleaned, they can harbor diseases which can be especially harmful and dangerous for people with compromised immune systems.

They can use paper straws & compost them.
Not everyone has a compost pile, which requires a lot of work and space to maintain and which may not be something someone with a DISability that requires the use of drinking straws, to be able to do on a regular basis.
Paper straws that are thrown in the trash contribute to landfills which are air tight. Nothing decomposes in a landfill.
Also, paper straws are not as substantial as plastic ones, and often break or fall apart.

My sister’s cousin’s friend works with the handicapped…
This is the DISability version of “some of my best friends”, it is stated in many forms but usually doesn’t involve having actual friends with DISabilities.  (My clients, my child, my dad….), that dismiss the issues of access and accommodation by claiming someone else with a DISability said something different or had different needs.

It’s ableist to say that DISabled people need straws. They’re just as capable as everyone else.
This is a concern troll statement that pretends to care about and advocate for DISfolx by pretending that accommodations aren’t really necessary.

We all need to make sacrifices (which is why I chose a campaign that requires absolutely nothing from me).
The straw issue demands that DISfolx give up drinking while demanding little or no sacrifice by anyone else.

All this negativity. It’s a start!
Calling any demand for access, rights,  human needs negative is a really negative argument that negates the needs and existence of entire groups of people.

I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people.
For many DISfolx, this is the crux of the issue: that our lives have no value, that those who need straws are useless people who don’t deserve to use resources. It’s a #NaziMove that basically uses environmentalism as the basis of eugenics.

What about BAMBOO!?
This is one more superficial call for environmentalism that ignores the social justice issues raised in critiquing the “ban straws” campaign.  Bamboo straws would still need to be cleaned and would also still end up in landfills.

What did people use before there were straws?
Using the past as a model for DISabilty access today is a bad move. People died. DISfolx, died.

We have to start somewhere.
No, we have to have well thought out campaigns that don’t marginalize already marginalized people while demanding little of anyone else and totally ignoring the larger social issues of capitalism, corporate destruction of the environment and the planet. Environmentalism separate from the larger social justice dialogue that ignores human rights and capitalism is not an environmental movement, it’s a feel good without doing anything movement.
Also, this is just a very mean way to derail the issues being raised by DISfolx in this silly campaign that will have little or no impact on the environment.

Why can’t you carry a metal straw?
A metal straw can injure the person using it. Also, metal straws cannot be used with hot liquids.

Can straws be made out of hemp?
Possible. Go and make them, market them and assure that they’re affordable and available. Do that first, then get rid of something lots of people are telling you they need to have for something as basic as drinking.

Concern Troll  (This is the free space card on this bingo card.)
A concern troll is someone who is really against an issue or concern but pretends to be worried or interested in the well being of the people impacted by that issue.

Carry reusable straws with you. It’s very simple. Problem solved.
The campaign is for a full out ban. Carrying straws isn’t the answer.

Wouldn’t it be the responsibility of the “DISabled” person to have one just in case?
Should we expect establishments to provide wheelchairs for all the disabled “folx” too?
This is a misperception that DISfolx use up more resources and demand “special” accommodations than ENabled people. ENabled people are accommodated all the time. Restaurants, movie theaters all provide chairs for ENabled people. Bathrooms are designed for the use of ENabled people. DISability accommodations simply demand that the same accommodations provided to people whose bodies conform to a norm, be provided to everyone else as well.

I once heard a blind man say….
This again is a way to derail any issue by claiming that one person from a group represents the whole group, though in this case, someone who is blind probably doesn’t represent those who need straws to drink.

Some of my best patients are crippled.
This is again another version of the “some of my best friends”, though of course the person doesn’t have DISabled friends.

I know someone who needs a straw or water bottle to drink and he carries his own.
Great! Good for them, and with an all out ban, plus a stigma against using straws, they may not be able to carry them in the future. What else do they need to carry? Why should DISability accommodations be an individual problem and not a collective responsibility? We can’t resolve real environmental issues individually.

Straws worked fine without being plastic.
No they don’t.

People will stop using them if you stop selling them and making them.
Exactly. That’s the problem, DISfolx, even ones who carry their own straws and demand nothing of the world, won’t be able to get straws.

Start making paper ones like the GOOD old days.
Paper straws don’t hold up and fall apart easily. In the GOOD old days, DISfolx were killed, left to die, sent to institutions and hidden from public view. Your eugenics is showing.

They can drink from a well, actually….
Okay, I sparked this with a bit of humor. “Well actually” is the way Ablesplainers (mansplainers, whitesplainers) start a sentence when they want to silence someone from the actual group who is speaking from the authority of their own experience. 

It’s killing the ocean. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.
So then make a sacrifice. Not using drinking straws is a really odd campaign that people are pouring lots of time and attention and resources into, without any real change or impact on real, deep, actual environmental issues. A real change means a total shifting of priorities and that includes recognizing the value of people over profit, over expedience, over industry, over greed. And that means DISabled folx, too.

For more links, memes and videos on the issue of DISfolx and the straw ban:
https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/the-strawman-of-all-strawmen-links-and-resources/

Advertisements

Reiki for a Cause

Fundraiser for
The WE Empowerment Center

Reiki text in JapaneseFor a donation of $30 or more you can have a one hour reiki session with Emma Rosenthal

All donations over $30 are tax deductible.

Make your appointment today!

https://reikiwithemma.wordpress.com/

Reiki with Emma specializes in

  • FibromyalgiaDisability symbol for wheelchair access, cognitive emotional DISabilities, sign language and blindness
  • pain management
  • meditation
  • Focusing and ADHD
  • PTSD and ongoing traumaReiki sessions to be held at DragonflyHIll Urban Farm.
      DragonflyHill Urban Farm is a wheelchair accessible, DISability and LGBTQIAA affirmative, anti-racist, anti-sexist, decolonialist, social justice safe and sober space.

    Please let us know in advance of any specific DISability access requirements.

The Amazing Disappearing Emma

Or “Emma, Emma where have you been?”

Well I’ve not been here or my other blogs as much. Mostly I’ve been on facebook, where interaction is more immediate. I post my informal rants, which initially would have shown up here, on facebook, where I can have more interaction. People respond there. The comments here are not as interactive and not as frequent. There’s a hierarchy between blogger and reader that isn’t a factor on facebook. So facebook changed the way I use blogging.

And I got tired of writing up every, single. time. I. endured. humiliation. or. abuse.

With DISability, it’s everywhere, every time we leave the house, and often in our homes too.

I’ve changed the way I write DISability. I used to write it “dis-ability”, but write it “DISability”, now. Both writings emphasize the social construct of DISablement– that it is what is done TO us, that it is not what ever condition or nonconformity we have, but rather, the social construct of isolation, segregation, institutionalization, discrimination, clientization, infantilization, etc. But “dis-ability” won’t show up in an internet search for “disability”, and “DISability” does. So I think that’s an improvement.

I’ve also (going back to the indignities) added the lexicon that distinguishes caretaker from caregiver. How significant and curious that these two words are considered synonyms. Since when is “taker” and “giver” the same? So I use “caretaker” to mean an abusive person who is assigned or assumed the care of a DISabled person, as opposed to “caregiver” who is someone who gives empathic, attentive and loving care. Clever, huh? Thanks! I think so.

I’ve also been really, really busy, and focused on survival, the house, getting through the day, managing my health, dealing with the imposition of aging, staying closer to home.

Recently I’ve limited my social interaction, including on facebook, which is perhaps why I’m blogging again. The abuse of DISfolx is just so rampant, and socially tolerated, especially in social justice, human rights and educational communities and environments.  It’s just unbearable. As I’ve said before, I can expect a humiliating, dangerous or violent experience almost every time I leave the house. So I’ve withdrawn a bit. I go out when I have to, shop on line when I need things, work out of my home, create community closest to where I live, and budget the amount of abuse I have to sustain. Or so I thought. I was happy working here, at DragonflyHill Urban Farm, working with people I love, creating a supportive community, where each person’s needs isn’t seen as a burden, but an opportunity for greater sustainability. (For example, my inability to stand for long periods of time, means I need meals prepared for me, resulting in our huge community breakfasts, and everyone starting the day together, with a healthy meal.) And then the city proposed a home sharing ordinance that would wipe us OUT. I’ve been writing about that a lot on the DragonflyHill blog, and will be writing more, in the coming days. I’m especially interested in how the rhetoric against home sharing pretends it’s a violation of housing, human, DISability, workers, rights, when it is ESSENTIALLY about all of those. Home sharing provides jobs and housing for people, many of whom are outside of the labor force, including people with DISabilities, undocumented workers, formerly incarcerated and otherwise marginalized folx.

There’s also the illusion that it’s passive income, when it is not. We work so hard here–all of us– essentially domestic work, which is why those pretending home sharing is taking away jobs and housing, can get away with that assertion. Shame on them for perpetuating and exploiting devalued and essential domestic labor as easy and valueless.

Getting this business off the ground has been a daunting task, and what little strength I have has gone into this. I think we’ve finally got to a point where I can clear my head enough to even consider blogging again, more regularly. Social media is mostly my job on the farm, and I think I’ve finally found my groove.

Andy, Xeres, Glenda and I have also launched, are launching The WE Empowerment Center, to make the benefits of nonprofit status and the nonprofit industrial complex, more accessible to ordinary folx. We’ve streamlined the application process and made it easier for people who may not have the organizational social capital to get in the game.

We have facebook pages, blogs, web pages, and EVERYTHING!
https://twitter.com/DHillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/DragonflyhillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/weempowermentcenter

And, I’ve updated my photography page, complete with images of the house and everything we did to get it ready for where we are today.

emmarosenthal.smugmug.com

And yes, I COULD get my own URLs for each of these, but I like giving credit to the interface I’m using. It’s more of a commons, a gathering place. So smugmug, or wordpress, brings it all together.

So see you on my other sites, and here, between the sheets, In Bed With Frida Kahlo.