Who says the oppressor doesn’t have a conscience? Evidence abounds of his attempts to express remorse and make amends to those he fucks over. But it’s subtle because the oppressor is like a spouse abuser. He apologizes not with words but with gestures. The spouse abuser beats the hell out of you and then buys you flowers. The oppressor fucks you over completely and then eventually acknowledges your nobility by allowing shit to be named in your honor.
The oppressor must really feel awful about how he fucks over American Indian tribes because look at all the shit that's named as a tribute to them. It’s everywhere. There’s Winnebago motorhomes, Tillamook brand cheese, Shasta soda pop, etc., etc., etc. There are also natural wonders, like bodies of water, named to honor tribes. How about Lake Erie and Lake Huron? (However, the oppressor continues to insist that the largest of the Great Lakes remains named in honor white people: Superior.) The oppressor must feel especially shitty about fucking over the Shasta tribe because they have a soda pop and a mountain named after them.
But notice how it doesn’t work that way for cripples. Yep, the oppressor fucks over cripples on a daily basis as well, but we receive no such symbolic restitution. Now in all fairness to the oppressor, cripples don’t have tribes, which makes it a lot harder to figure out how to name shit in honor of us. The closest thing cripples have to tribes are diagnoses. Instead of Apache, Cherokee and Sioux, we have Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida and Osteogenesis Imperfecta. And nobody goes to the deli and says, “Gimme a pound of Polio brand cheddar.” Nobody spends a romantic honeymoon on the soothing shores of Lake Cerebral Palsy.
But why not? Could it be that when it comes to fucking over cripples, the oppressor feels no remorse? Or could it be that the oppressor hasn’t even thought it through that far? Maybe fucking over cripples is such a matter-of-fact constant in the oppressor’s daily routine that it hasn’t even crossed his mind that his treatment of us might officially qualify as “fucking over” and thus deserving of amends.
Or maybe it’s just a matter of marketing. Maybe there are no Fibromyalgia brand motorhomes because cripple tribes are not perceived as tribes of honor and pride. Cripple tribes are perceived as tribes of shame. And nobody wants to associate their product with that. But is that not still the fault of the oppressor? Did he not create the concept of cripple shame for his own fun and profit?
My self-esteem will not improve until I see something named in tribute to a cripple tribe. Just one thing. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be a pair of Lou Gehrig’s Disease brand shoe laces. I won't be picky about it. It’s the thought that counts.
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