Is Brian Sterner the King Crip of the Blogosphere?
I believe I have a natural kinship with all disabled people. I often find myself exchanging a knowing glance with people as our wheelchairs cross paths, and I know that if I connect with that person, I have had experiences that they have also had, and that we are going to be able to establish meaningful common ground because of our shared experiences. When I saw Brian Sterner being dumped out of his chair by police officers, on the Today Show, it pissed me off to no end.
I think that the answer to the question I posed in the title of this posting will be obvious in the number of hits I get on this one. I am not trying to be a keyword whore, luring in readership simply by using Sterner’s name. But I started this blog around the first of the year. Tonight I was taking stock of how my blog is going so far, and I noticed something. Right around Feb. 14 when Sterner’s story first came out, I wrote three stories about it, and they are already my top three all-time in terms of hits. My #4 most-read post has the words “disabled” and “discriminated” in the title. Number 5 happens to be the title of a popular song from the 80’s, which I imagine gets it some accidental hits, and #6 has the words “victim” and “disabled” the title.
In this blog, I have offered advice on everything from taxes, social interaction, recreation several times, self-consciousness, and basic health, as well as my observations on Medical Assistance, the ADA, etc., stories which meant a lot to me when I wrote them, yet every day, even now, my Brian Sterner stories are often far and away the ones with the most readership here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com. Why? Because Sterner is the first disabled person, certainly the first person in a wheelchair, since Christopher Reeve to be the center of a major news story, and even in minor stories, the role of the disabled person is usually that of the discriminee, if that is a word. A lot of disabled people spend a lot of time talking and blogging about what horrible things able-bodied people have said and done to them. We all need to vent from time to time and it is certainly natural for there to be anger in the disabled community over things like the Brian Sterner case. But disabled people are making some real, tangible noise in this world. I will grant you that I have written more than a few light-weight stories about wheelchair sports and entertainers, and I will grant you that I, myself, wish I had more accomplishment to speak of. I also know that disabled people, on the whole, have a lot to give, and I want to make damn sure we all let it be known.
NOTE: I would love it if a disabled person were recognized for some accomplishment, in a news story, but with no mention of them being disabled, or only in passing. I have considered that possibility. I just know that the media could not resist making the disability one of the key components of the story. That is another reason why I feel I haven’t missed anything, and what I am saying is true.