As I grieve and talk to other longhaulers who grieve our past able bodied lives, I unintentionally have discovered the answer to," why are you so mad?" that I've asked the almost constantly outraged individuals I've encountered on social media. The five stages of grief model are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There's a grieving over social norms and progressives attitudes towards diversity happening in quite a bit of our American society right now.
This is why so many are being caught on camera angry, lashing out in the most vile and outrageous ways towards people of color especially, even including white authority figures. The Karen & Ken phenomena has exploded nationally including self professed moderate and progressives.
Being white in America has a set of privileges, seen and unseen. As does being able bodied, because it's the default to all things. You don't notice the little privileges until you have to learn to navigate without it. Just the thought of a shift from the norm can be terrifying. A large shift can shake even the strongest individuals, previously comforted by the status quo. I've come to the understanding that with both societal structure, and aspects of health, there's a line you cross that can't be undone. In their perspective, we are progressing too far too soon and in the wrong direction. Thus triggering their 5 steps of grief, yet they are perpetually stuck in the anger stage, as if they are paralyzed with fear.
As a black woman and newly minted disabled person, I sit with the full weight of knowing that in spite of this newfound progress, current equitable policies extended to people of color ; affirmative action, hate crime legislation, civil rights protections and voting access still aren't equal to the benefits of whiteness. At least not yet. The same way disability benefits, wheelchair accessible standards, employment accommodations aren't equal to being able bodied.
What they are also missing is that, equity, won't equal oppression. Whiteness, even without population majority wont become a disadvantage. We as a nation are merely moving towards what America was supposed to be. What many of those shaken by the crumbling of white supremacy are also missing is that there's still numerous moments of joy, love and laughter even while we have been a minority in an inequitable America. As there are many beautiful experiences, and so much life to live while being disabled. ❤️💖