labors of labelling: a conversation on disability, identity, and labor

At some point in the session we talked about identity

Therapist: Do you identify as a disabled person?

Me: I struggle with that only because I don’t know what it changes

Therapist: What do you mean?

Me: Calling myself “disabled” doesn’t actually change my material reality. I can call myself disabled but at the end of the day I’m still a black woman who’s expected to put everyone elses needs and concerns before my own, whose expected to come to the rescue when all else fails. Does calling myself disabled change the two ton boulders people put on my shoulders? Cause if not, I don’t really know what good it does. Maybe it if forced people to reconsider that inherent, default expectation they have of black women when they encounter me at seminary and in organizing spaces, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so ambivalent about it. But for now, I accept it, even though I don’t know what it truly means to me, or what it changes.


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