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Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences

Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences Featured Image is described in the body of the post.

Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences

Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences Featured image description is in the body of the post.
Me In My Favorite Color Combo

Today I saw one of the silliest Tweets I’ve seen in a while. The Tweeter has a blind relative which in turn makes them an authority on blindness. Their knowledge of blindness was so impressive I was shocked to learn I can’t do all the things I’m doing. Well fry me in butter and call me a catfish!

Please forgive my sarcasm. I actually felt a little bad for the Tweeter because the Twitterverse tore them apart. Me? It wasn’t worth my time responding

There’s actually some truth to the whole wisdom and age thing. I know this to be true because things that would have previously set me on fire just aren’t worthy of my attention. It’s not to say that this person’s opinion didn’t matter it may have had it been expressed as such. However making wild assertions that blind people aren’t capable of this, that, and the other, well, what was the point?

One of the benefits of belonging to a marginalized group is it gives you a broader perspective. I happen to belong to a few:

  • African American
  • Female
  • Over 55
  • Blind
  • Short

Even though I belong to these groups I’ve never thought of myself as marginal. This doesn’t mean that I’ve always been treated equally to others, who aren’t among these groups, but I digress.

One Of A Kind

What I have a hard time understanding is how we can’t see that each of our experiences is unique. Let’s say you and I share the same medical condition yet one of us couldn’t function like the other what does that mean? I give you a hint: nothing.

The word ‘unique‘ is defined as “existing as the only one or as the sole example.” So if each of us as individuals is one of a kind why do we continue to compare ourselves against one another? Why can’t we just embrace ourselves as who we are and be done with it?

Please correct me if I’m wrong here but I thought as a species, humans are the same on a biological level. However, the beauty of being human lies in our complexities. If siblings from the same background turn out to be polar opposites what does this mean for the rest of us? 

None of us knows everything. I think if we could slow down, listen a little more, and respect one another we’d be a little better off. One thing I’ve learned in recent years is to approach life and people with an open mind. I remind myself that no two people in the same situation are going to react the same way. And you know what? That’s okay. 

I believe now more than ever that to improve humanity we must change the way we perceive one another. 

Improving Humanity Featured Image Description:

Two transparent bluish human skeletons on a black background with anatomical features (brains, intestines, etc.) 

Additional Image:

A throwback tri-collage of me standing in front of my counter with my white cane. I’m wearing a black & white striped v-neck sweater with a black pencil skirt (with gold accents). I’ve paired the outfit with black suede knee-high boots, silver statement earrings and a pixie cut wig.

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Directing Your Show: Where Fashion & Disability Meet

Directing Your Show: Where Fashion & Disability Meet

“How we are perceived is determined by how we present ourselves. We direct our own show.” 

~George Rector, Popping Wheelies

Introduction: Today I’m thrilled to present to you a friend and fellow warrior, George Rector of Popping Wheelies. Like many of you I’ve befriended, I met George through blogging and found we have some shared interests. One of these interests is our passion for inclusion in the world of fashion for those of us living with disabilities. ~Steph

Disability, Fashion, Style & Confidence

Image 1 photo description is in the body of the post
Image 1

The elephants in my room are paraplegia and the ever-present wheelchair. The disability in my life is Multiple Sclerosis. The important things in my life are my family and friends.

When I first had to use a wheelchair, a nurse told me that she was confident I’d quickly learn how to make it enhance my life. As a Peer Counselor/Peer Support Volunteer, I have talked about embracing whatever piece of technology works for us. “If it makes your life better, don’t be afraid to use it.”

How we are perceived is determined by how we present ourselves. We direct our own show. What are we going to show to the public? Of course, they are going to look at our white canes, our wheelchairs, our crutches, but then they are going to look at us.

This is where disability meets fashion. Where disability meets style. Fashion makes the first impression; style makes the lasting one. It is style that determines how we perceive ourselves, and it determines how we are received in public. They are vital to the person who has a disability.

Your Life, Your Production

Directing Your Show Featured Image description is in the body of the post
Image 2

I am interested in both men’s and women’s fashion. And style. Lots of designers are men. My personal style is simple, basic design with classic colors. If we pick a style that fits our personality and then stick to it, things get easier to manage. What works with your skin and hair color? What works with your daily activities? I am learning to stick with combinations of blue, green, and white. They fit my personality and with my light skin, blue eyes, and blond hair.

My advice is to think about our interests, think about ourselves, and stick with it. I’m getting better at it. I gave away half of the things in my closet and still have twice what I need.

And if you are wondering where I fit into the Bold Blind Beauty Community, I am a “retired” eye doc due to MS. Vision is my training and experience, but I am also a patient. Vision and MS are closely related. I am extremely light sensitive and have a tint for every need. I select a tint based on what I am doing and not by what I am wearing. While my distance vision is good, I have difficulty reading. For that, I have specific reading glasses, enlarge the print on my Kindle, and change its illumination.

Fashion, style, confidence. You can direct your show about how you feel and how others feel about you. And remember that the best fashion accessory is a genuine smile.

Directing Your Show Featured Image Description:

George is sitting on a wooden bench with his left leg propped atop his wheelchair which is next to the bench. He is wearing a green tee paired with khaki shorts and flip-flops. A camera is around his neck and he’s sporting sunglasses. In the background are lush green tropical plants.

Additional Images:

  • Image 1: George is sitting on a wooden bench at Flagler Beach. He is smiling for the camera wearing a yellow tee, dark sunglasses, and minimal jewelry. In the background, waves are washing up against the beach and a pier is jutting out into the ocean.
  • Image 2: In this photo, George is looking stylish in a short-sleeved black dress shirt and black pants. He is sitting on the arm of a sofa and his gold necklace and bracelet are nice accents.

Connecting with George:

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Station in Life, Disabilities & Imagery

Station in life featured image description is in the body of the post.

Station in Life, Disabilities & Imagery

“Inspiration porn is harmful to society and people with disabilities for two main reasons. First, inspiration porn encourages “ableism,” which defines people by their disability and classifies them as inferior to those who are nondisabled. Second, inspiration porn distracts us from looking at the real issues.” ~Joy Thomas

The introduction below is for an article that will help you understand the significance of inspiration porn. To improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another, let’s begin by understanding everyone desires to belong.

My friend, Joy Thomas, wrote a through-provoking piece “Inspiration or Ableism? How To Tell The Difference.” In the article, she talks about inspiration porn and offers in-depth thoughts on what our reaction to it means. 

As a member of the homo sapiens species, I am in awe, and to some degree saddened, by our differences. In awe, because I can’t comprehend how no one is a carbon copy with over 7 billion people on our planet. Likewise, I’m saddened because it sometimes feels like we place a greater value on which groups from which we come.

Except for my membership within people with disabilities (PwDs), I don’t know what it’s like to belong to any other majority group. Being an African-American female over age 50 with a disability places me in several marginalized categories of humans. I’m saying this to let you know that I have experience in what it’s like to be ‘different’ on many levels. While I won’t be considered acceptable to everyone, I do not and will not consider myself less valuable than another human being.

“Broken Crayons Still Color”

As human beings, we are complex and our world is massive. It makes sense that we would bond to those with shared commonalities. Additionally, it makes sense that our individual biases could prevent us from widening our circle.

When we qualify or compare our station in life to another person from a place of being better it’s problematic. While broken crayons may still color, as humans who are we to determine who’s broken? So please, when you have a moment check out Joy’s article on Crixeo.

Station in Life Featured Image Description:

A close-up view of a single dandelion plant with several seeds floating in the air. The plant is set against a clear blue sky background.

 

 

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Jade Ramos | Blind Beauty Issue 35

Blind Beauty Issue 35 featured image description is in the body of the post.

Jade Ramos | Blind Beauty Issue 35

“Having a great self-confidence day so here’s my new profile pic” ~Jade Ramos

Image #1 Disability related motifs
Image #1 Disability related motifs

The above caption along with her powerful artwork is what captivated me about Jade Ramos. The beauty of her words spoke to the authenticity of her selfie, no air-brushing just a confident young woman.

Jade, who refers to herself as ‘a legally blind one-eyed artist,’ is also an extraordinary activist. I was so moved by several of Jade’s pieces I requested permission to share them here with you today.  Descriptions on each of these pieces are below.

When I asked Jade for a quote to go with this post she chose a favorite from Christopher Reeve. After becoming disabled later in life Christopher had this to say:

“I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life. There is only one way to go in life and that is forward.” ~Christopher Reeve

Jade frequently thinks of this quote when things get tough or she gets bad news related to her eyesight. As a matter of fact, if you look closely at image #2 you’ll see this quote.

“Your words, attitudes, and actions impacts my life more than my disability does.

Image #2 Wheelchair icon description is in the body of the post.
Image #2

“Disability is just another way for a mind and/or body to be.”

Image #3 description is in the body of the post.
Image #3

“Make The American Dream Accessible”

Image #4 description is in the body of the post.
Image #4 Tactile Art

“The Disability Is Not The Problem The Lack of Accessibility Is”

Blind Beauty Issue 35 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Jade’s cover photo is a black and white selfie of her proudly showing off her clear prosthetic right eye. She is wearing a black jacket over a black v-neck top with several stacked necklaces and has a thin lip ring in the center of her bottom lip.

Jade’s Art Image Descriptions:

  • Image #1 Disability related motifs – Assorted black disability icons on a white background. Explained by Jade: “People with disabilities are rarely seen in a positive light when it comes to representation in the media & in everyday life. So I made them have smiles. The original symbol only shows one type of white cane & one type of wheelchair user so I made new images depicting the actual reality.” While these particular images represent visual impairments, Jade will be including other disabilities as she expands.
  • Image #2 A big wheelchair icon is front and center along with quoted text including the Christopher Reeve quote. The text and several smaller icons are interspersed throughout the piece, some are black and some gray. The quotes are included in this post.
  • Image #3 This is a photo of several pieces including the disability icons and abstract art. What caught my attention are the number of statements (some quoted throughout this post).
  • Image #4 This tactile piece is the first time Jade has incorporated braille into her work. It reads “Disability! The one minority group everyone can join. Accessibility matters!”

You can connect with Jade on the following: