Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely seen that viral story about a cake. You know, the one where a women got a cake, the handwriting wasn’t ideal on it (though far better than I could ever do!), and then PLOT TWIST: women has autism so it’s actually AMAZING and not something to make fun of!
Um. Wow. This is about so much more than a cake.
This is about how people with disabilities live day in and day out.
For the smallest things, we are inspirational. For the littlest most minuet detail, we are some sort of special person. And people think they get to get good feelings off us “trying our best”, because it’s clearly the best we can do and oh, look at the poor disabled person.
It’s more than about cake.
It’s about ableism, everywhere we turn around. “You made her day”. By what, not being a shitty person? Because we’re disabled, what you once thought of as funny and worth mocking is now seen as cute and inspirational? It’s about the fact that stories are supposed to do a 180 once you find out it involves a disabled person.
Well, look, people. I don’t exist to be your inspiration. I don’t exist to make you feel good about yourself, or give you a reason to thank yourself that you’re “not like that”.
It’s about it not being okay to out someone’s medical diagnosis without their consent. It is not a HIPAA violation because that doesn’t apply in the workforce, but it’s still an utterly shitty thing to do. Imagine you had some invisible illness – any of them. Take your choice. And then imagine a coworker outed you. Feels pretty crappy, right? The only time I would EVER want someone to out my medicalness without my consent would be in a life or death situation. Like, if someone knows I’m allergic to amoxicillin and has to call the paramedics for me, in that case it is absolutely fine to “out me”. They’re saving my life. Otherwise? SO NOT OKAY.
I understand that it can be a big deal to be able to write. I’m dysgraphic and on the autism spectrum. I could never write on a cake and make it legible. I even understand how it may give someone some hope that their child may one day learn to write. But to make it viral, to exploit an innocent employee, THAT is not okay.
If you wouldn’t say it to someone without *insert disability*, it is literally no different to say it to someone with. Think before you act.