It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's Your "Elevator Definition"?

A week and a half to 2 weeks ago I was in class and my professor explained what an "elevator definition" is. She is both a certified child life specialist (CCLS) & a board certified art therapist (ATR-BC) and those are not something most people know anything about. Although I hope my readers know what a child life specialist does. I talk about it A LOT. She said when she worked in a hospital someone would jump on the elevator, look at her badge and ask her what a CCLS or an art therapist does, and she only had the length of the elevator ride to sum it all up. That's HARD.

[image description: a close up of a hand pressing an elevator button found through a google image search that brought me to another great blog post about elevator discussions]

So she asked us what family studies is. Another hardish one. I've been in school so long I think I've perfected it. Most people just say "it's like social work," which it can be, except that family studies is SO MUCH MORE. I'm guilty of that sometimes, especially if I catch a cab either to or from school. Cab drivers like to ask me what my major is and I say social work just because it's easier. My school doesn't even have a social work major. So that wasn't allowed. My elevator definition of family studies is that "it's a mutt--a little of this, a little of that. I've taken classes in sociology, psychology, education, family law, sexuality, parenting, all sorts of things." Don't ask me to explain what a certified family life educator does though, I haven't gotten that far, I'm far from being certified.

The point of this post was not to talk about family studies, but rather to talk about what happened in my early childhood class last week. Cultural competence is BIG in school these days and the professor wanted us to talk about our culture. 12 white women, all early to mid 20s, presumably middle class (but maybe not), from Maryland, New Jersey, or Long Island most likely, majority Christian although I'm sure there were 2 or so other Jews in the room, stared back at the African (as in she was born in and spent a large portion of her life in Ethiopia) professor with blank stares on their faces. So much for cultural diversity.

Being the obnoxious person that I am, always wanting to make everything about disability, always wanting to change people's perceptions, I went on my "I consider myself bi-cultural" spiel. This time she was actually really interested. Really wanted me to explain, really wanted to understand. Except I couldn't. I really feel like I did a crappy job. I was put on the spot. Usually I have time to prepare. I said something about going to DC in April and how comfortable it is being with people just like you, who have had the same experiences as you, faced the same discrimination as you. That's good, but I can do better. I just don't think I did disability culture justice. What about our allies? You know those people who aren't crips but are so into the disability culture scene that you have to stop and think to remember that they're actually able bodied. I totally excluded people I LOVE.

So I need a better "elevator definition" of disability culture. Does anyone have a better one they use? An easier way to sum it up? How about other things? How do you sum up other complicated topics / concepts within the span of an elevator ride?


Liftplus said...

Thanks for the post, it was very interesting to read!

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