On Privilege, Politeness and Not Hiding

Several weeks ago, a friend linked to this Robot Hugs cartoon as a primer on how those with privilege should treat those without. It sparked a rather lively debate, including one person who took great offense at the notion that they should be told to “shut the fuck up” if they are in a position of privilege. They felt that it was better to politely ask them to keep quiet, rather than needing to be so confrontational.

Here’s the problem with that. If somebody is going to question my health status, they have already decided that they have privilege before they even say anything to me because my disability is visible. Which leaves me in the more than a bit awkward position of hiding myself.

Anybody who has even casually read this blog knows how I feel about being forced to hide my disability in order not to offend other people.

If somebody has taken offense to my presence before even saying anything to me, I am left with little option but to tell them to shut the fuck up if they use their outside voice to ask about my health status. And at that point, I have little interest in hiding myself so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities.

Ultimately, I am not responsible for your hurt feelings over my disinterest in sugar-coating the fact that my health status is not fodder for public debate. If you cannot understand that, then yes, you DO need to sit down, shut the fuck up, and pay attention.

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