Over The Pond

USA

I often get requests from American magazines for cartoons. Well, to be more exact, they ask me if they can use one of the cartoons that they’ve seen on the web site or somewhere else (it’s amazing where they turn up I tell you!). These e-zines (web-based magazines) are usually run by a Disabled person with a specific impairment, and they feature issues relating to their own particular group of Crips.

They sometimes have a bit of trouble getting their heads around our Social Model understanding of disability and the fact that we call ourselves Disabled people. They identify for the most as ‘people with disabilities’ (say it in a drawling American accent, it works better!). Or, and I usually must grit my teeth when I get an email from these, a ‘differently abled’ person!

You’ve got to hand it to our cousins over the pond. They’re the ones who started Direct Action and public disobedience rallies. And it was the returning soldiers from the Vietnam War that got the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’ pushed through. I think they’re a bit surprised that we Brits haven’t got as much through our Parliament during the years that we’ve been protesting.

Whenever we Brits try anything like Direct Action, aspects of farce tend to creep in. It’s all pretty tame when compared to the American account of baton charges and being beaten up off camera.

Farce

I still have this picture in my head of one Action when Allan Holdsworth (or Johnny Crescendo to use his stage name) was being carried away by four police officers. His jeans were coming down and his arse was hanging out. They were all laughing so much, including him that they had to keep stopping every few yards to wipe their eyes. He reappeared after about 30 minutes because the Police Station they’d taken him to wasn’t accessible, so they just let him go. Of course, the minute he was back, he was once again into the thick of it! Things have been a lot quieter since he moved over to the States to live.

 

Description of cartoon for those who use screen reading software

An Asian man is standing, supported by a crutch. Opposite him is a head of a young white male seated in a self-propelled wheelchair. An American flag emblem is on the side of the chair. The head is saying: “I like to think of myself as differently abled!”

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