In the past couple of years, there's been much attention given to police violence against unarmed, mostly, Black folks.
What's disturbing about this is the reaction of the mostly White disability community. I noticed that when the victim was White and the disability known (Ethan Saylor), people were very sympathetic; he was seen as innocent. When the victim was Black and the disability unknown, that person was seen as a less than good person, or a criminal. Even when the victim was a child (Tamir Rice), doing what little boys do, he was blamed for his own death because he didn't follow instructions. When it came out that he was killed less than two seconds after the cops came on the scene, Tamir was still seen as responsible for his death.
What got to me was how people, including again, mostly White disabled and disability rights activists, believed the police accounts of what happened. When it was discovered that in many of the cases, the police lied and covered up their wrongdoing, people, including folks with disabilities, still found reasons to vilify those folks.
That is, until it was found that they had disabilities. Now they're trying to claim folks like Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown. Disabled folks who talked mad smack about them and others now want me to forget what they said now that they've been found to be one of us.
Frankly, I think that's hypocritical. Perhaps, because I'm a compassionate person, I embraced all of them from the beginning no matter their race because they were murdered by out of control, sometimes racist, cops. The fact that some of them turned out to have disabilities changed nothing for me because I already valued their lives.
What's up with this? It's infuriating to me that these folks' lives seem to matter more to some disabled people now that it's come out that they lived with disabilities. It also pisses me off that the White victims were presumed innocent while the Blacks, without exception, were victims of character assassination. None of them were innocent, not even the child.
Now I know that not every White disabled person or activist has behaved in this fashion. An amazing sister in the Movement has been putting her body and life on the line in Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri, with Black Lives Matter since the murder of Michael Brown. She has been assaulted and tear gassed/pepper sprayed by the cops in addition to being arrested and her property stolen or destroyed.
So, if what I've been ranting about doesn't apply to you, you have no need to be offended by what I'm saying.
Now, what about the others who aren't disabled, like Akai Gurley and John Crawford, III? Are their lives worth less to us disabled because they aren't one of us? I understand, and am outraged that half the folks killed by police are disabled. Still, I get angry when that fact is brought up almost in competition, to the fact that every 28 hours, someone Black, often unarmed, is killed by cops. Both facts are horrible. Neither trumps the other. Let's stop being apathetic or hostile to these folks unless they are disabled. Their lives matter either way.